Technology’s value to the science classroom
I started to ponder the value of technology to teaching when I was a high school teacher in China. The biggest finding of technology to education is the alignment between these two significant components. Teaching pedagogy should be aligned with and supported by technology transformation. Technology is usually pioneered the development of science. But their reciprocal relationship impact development of two components. Science teaching is enabled to be more engaging, more vivid and more intensive through the technological tools of science. For example, Datahub enables scientific data collection easier and more accurate. Online simulation of static electricity facilitate students’ understanding of the charge of electricity through friction of different objects. With the simulation, the reason behind scientific phenomenon is delivered in an concise and lucid fashion.
Affordances and Limitations to inquiry-based learning
Technology brings affordance to teaching in many aspects.
As I discussed before, one significant affordance of technology to the inquiry-based pedagogy is its potential to make scientific concepts visual, which provided access to an easier understanding as Flick and Bell (2000) puts, “appropriate educational technologies have the potential to make scientific concepts more accessible through visualization, modeling, and multiple representations. ” (p. 45)
I recalled my experience of using the digital game: the metamorphosis of butterflies to present life cycle of butterflies to 1st graders and how they navigate the game and be able to explain their understanding of life cycles easily. Compared to present the static four photos of life phases that I experienced to students, the digital modeling is much more vivid and intuitive.
Secondly, technology changed how people learn. In the inquiry-based discourse, technology allowed students to generate their inquiry and search myriads of resources to investigate their inquiries. When learners manage information they have gathered, they move from passive “finding” to the more robust acquisition processes of selecting, organizing, and evaluating (McTighe & March, 2015). ”Instead of waiting teachers to give them answer, they are able to pre-research the answer through wikipedia or post the question to online communities such as Facebook to seek friends’ help. Online technology accelerate students’ organization and collection of information in a broad communities to serve for their scientific inquiries.
Technology also refines modeling and represent data in an accessible manner. During camp, my team used infographic software to represented the model, data and stories. In the inquiry-based learning visuals make connection to students and allow them to have much voice in representation themselves. Campers collaborate to present data by using Pictochart. These digital citizens navigated this tool skillfully and represented their investigation stories, data in an attractive and lucid manner. Limitations:
In terms of technology, one limitation is the access, which is relevant to social justice. Schools should ensure that students who can have the technology access at school although they might not be able to use at home. Because using digital technology is one of the 21-century skills and science practices can not live without the development of science.
Teachers should also be aware using technology to replace all conventional pedagogy, such as hands-on experience. From students’ interview, the hands-on experience, the way of doing science, usually, is the extract of science. Technology also causes trouble to the classroom teaching such as the technology failure and hence teachers should prepare back plans in teaching.
Another concern is the technology as distraction. Teachers can view the combination of chatty students and ubiquitous communication technology as a distraction in the classroom that they must overcome-or they can harness that same technology to direct students’ social instincts toward academic discussion and thus improve engagement and achievement for all. (Carpenter, 2015, p. 4)
Incorporating technology into science teaching could bring a more inclusive classroom. “A more appropriate understanding of technology for inclusion is the concept of technology as knowledge (not necessarily scientific knowledge) applied to manipulate the natural world and emphasizes the interactions between science and technology. ” (Flick & Bell, 2000, p.46). Teaching science usually can not live without using tools to conduct investigation and collect evidence to affirm hypothesis. These tools are product of technology and constitutes as necessity of science reasoning. Also, the interaction between science and technology is the main theme of science teaching. It allows teachers to contemplate application of science into daily life as new technology.
Flick, L.,&Bell,R.(2000).Preparing tomorrow’s science teachers to use technology: Guidelines for
science educators.Contemporary Issues in Technology &Teacher Education,1(1), 39-60.
Carpenter, J. (2015). Digital Backchannels: Giving Every Student a Voice. Educational Leadership, 72(8), 54-58