A Pedagogy for Teaching Science with ICT ABSTRACT

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1 A Pedagogy for Teaching Science with ICT ABSTRACT Many programmes for teacher training in the use of ICT have focussed on providing teachers with technical skills necessary for operating computer hardware and software, but in order to realise learning gains for students, training needs to address also the role of the teacher in mediating the use of ICT in classrooms. To achieve this, established teaching skills need to be adapted to exploit the learning potential arising from the affordances of software-based materials. This aspect of professional skill constitutes a pedagogy for teaching with ICT, an aspect of what has become known as Pedagogical Content Knowledge. This paper identifies the main components of such pedagogy that have informed the ICT for the Innovative Science Teacher Project, drawing upon the research literature relating to the use of ICT in science teaching. It is argued that teaching approaches based on the constructivist model of learning are the most fruitful for achieving learning gains with tool-type software appropriate to science. Teachers should develop an awareness of how ICT can transform teaching and learning styles and methods, together with an understanding of their role in influencing this transformation. A model of progression in a teacher s pedagogical skills with ICT is described with a particular emphasis on the goal of integrating the use of different ICT tools with each other and with other activities in the science curriculum. KEYWORDS Teacher education, pedagogy, ICT and science education

2 A Pedagogy for Teaching Science with ICT Laurence Rogers and John Twidle, Loughborough University, UK Introduction The widespread introduction of Information and Communication Technology in education in recent decades has required the design and delivery of a variety of teacher training programmes in all countries across Europe. Many programmes have focussed on providing teachers with technical skills necessary for operating the hardware and software involved, but there has been longstanding evidence that such operational skill alone is insufficient to produce learning gains in students, and that the role of the teacher in mediating the use of ICT is of crucial importance (Kennewell, 2001, Pedretti, 1999). Established teaching skills such as planning, organisation, instruction, communication and intervention retain a vital role (Rogers and Finlayson, 2004), but their adaptation to the qualities of software-based materials so that the full learning potential may be exploited leads to a consideration of a pedagogy for teaching with ICT. This paper will identify the main components of such pedagogy that have informed the ICT for Innovative Science Teachers (ICT for IST) Project, drawing upon the research literature relating to the use of ICT in science teaching. Selecting ICT activities in science teaching Although the past decade has witnessed an explosion of ICT materials available for education, the broad classification of their educational purposes proposed by Papert (1999) is still valid. Papert describes two wings (categories) of usage, informational (including the use of database systems, the Internet, multimedia, instructional and tutorial materials) and constructional. The latter describes software tools which support a constructivist approach to teaching whereby students are engaged in tasks which demand thinking which leads to the construction of understanding. It is this wing of usage that is addressed in this paper. For science teaching, the principal software tools in this category are systems for data processing, modelling, simulation, data-logging and video capture. One of the principal aims of the ICT for IST Project has been to provide teacher training materials which exemplify the integration of these tools in the science curriculum. Building a training curriculum In defining a domain of pedagogy which embraces Papert s constructional wing, it is fundamental to address the tenets of the constructivist model of learning which views pupils learning to be based on them reconstructing and adding to their existing knowledge and understanding. Accordingly, a constructivist teaching approach emphasises pupil-centred active learning tasks involving more pupil autonomy and responsibility than would be expected in a classroom with a traditional didactic style of teaching (Driver, 1994). Collaborative group work and inquiry-based methods have evolved as a response to the constructivist model. Such approaches employ a mode of working that is ideally facilitated by ICT because of its potential for interactivity with the individual. The synergy between constructivist methods and ICT tool software is well reported in the research literature (for example Barton, 1997; Sandholz et al, 1997; Rogers & Wild, 1996), so a consideration of constructivism is a fundamental component of a training curriculum. The pervasiveness of ICT in modern life suggests that it confers benefits that are universally recognised, however it is essential that educational practice has clearly defined rationale for its adoption. To achieve clarity is not necessarily simple because evaluation studies point to the situated nature of the effects of ICT; success in the classroom depends upon the actions of teachers and pupils as well as the quality of the software. Squires and McDougall (1996)

3 have argued that the software author is an absent actor influencing learning outcomes. To help teachers make informed decisions about tasks with software, they should become aware of the beneficial qualities, or affordances, of software which merit their use. These may be divided into two categories; properties are self-evident useful attributes which do not need any interpretation, and potential learning benefits which can accrue from the use of the software but which depend upon the action and skill of a teacher (Newton & Rogers, 2001). Such qualities are usually peculiar to the particular type of software in question. Table 1 shows examples for a software simulation of a physical experiment. Properties Potential learning benefits Eliminates need for expensive There is greater scope for investigation with a apparatus and setting up time simulation which is not bound by the limitations Results may be obtained quickly normally constraining a real experiment. Graphical tools are available for Visualisation of phenomena through animated analysing data accurately images can support motivation and engagement with the concepts involved. Table 1. Examples of affordances for a software simulation of an experiment In a similar way, the skills needed by pupils for successful use of software may be described as operational skills, which concern the manipulation of the computer and features in the software, and procedural skills which concern the manner in which the software tools are employed for the purpose of achieving learning benefits (Newton & Rogers, 2001). Table 2 illustrates examples of each type of skill associated with data-logging experiments. Operational skills Procedural skills Connecting sensors and interfaces Exploiting opportunities for new Choosing logging parameters; duration, experiments sample rate Active observation during real-time Starting and finishing real time logging logging Retrieving data stored in data-loggers Evaluating measurement quality Analysing data using graphs Table 2. Examples of skills associated with data-logging experiments Here we see a clear dimension of teacher influence of the effectiveness of ICT: the teacher is the architect of the tasks which aim to deliver learning benefits, and is the manager of the process by which pupils acquire the necessary skill with the software. In this ICT context, the skills exercised by the teacher are examples of pedagogical reasoning skills described by Shulman (1987). In Shulman s model, he describes a group of Transformation skills involving planning, re-presentation, adaptation and tailoring according to need, by which the teacher transforms his or her own comprehended ideas so that they may be learnt by pupils. The development of such skills depends upon a base of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) indicated by Shulman and elaborated by Abell (2007). With the presence of a technology dimension, the teacher s knowledge and understanding of affordances associated with the specific ICT application intersect with PCK, creating a yet broader concept of pedagogy. Webb (2010) has expressed the expanded component of required knowledge as knowledge of how the wide range of technologies available may support the [subject] content to be taught and which pedagogical approaches are appropriate. The broader specification of knowledge has been described by Koehler and Mishra (2005) as technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK). The training materials developed by the ICT for IST Project have been designed with the aim of supporting the development of TPCK for a series of selected science topics.

4 Identifying teacher progression in pedagogy So far the discussion has considered how teachers actions affect the success of ICT, but experience in teacher training has shown that it is also the case that ICT affects teachers, in their teaching style and in the ways in which they interact with pupils. Hennessey et al (2007) reported that teachers using simulations and data-logging developed investigative dialogues with pupils and made efforts to integrate different ICT tools with each other and with other activities in the science curriculum. The model of teacher development proposed by Dwyer (1991) identifies several stages of sophistication of teachers use of ICT in their subject teaching. Non-user Teacher may have personal ICT skills, but has not taught with ICT in the classroom Adopter Teacher uses ICT materials as they come, when they fit in with the teaching programme Adapter Teacher modifies materials to suit different student groups and existing teaching style Appropriator Teacher develops and uses the ICT tools in a different topic context or novel mode of use (implying a shift of pedagogy) Creator / mentor Teacher creates new materials and/or fosters ICT use in colleagues This model, although relevant to the work of the ICT for IST Project, only addresses the professional aspects of teacher development, and omits the personal and social aspects described in the Bell and Gilbert model (2004). A major challenge for teacher development provision is to promote change in teachers pedagogy (Gilbert, 2010). Also, the diversity and rapidity of developments in technology demand continuous reassessment of pedagogy with ICT (Webb, 2010), so the condition of change is ever present. Much experience and research evidence supports the notion that it is common for teachers to be conservative in their response to innovation (Mumtaz, 2000). The adopter stage in the Dwyer model implies conservatism; the adapter stage implies adapting the use of the new ICT in ways which essentially match the teacher s existing pedagogy; the appropriator stage represents an important transition in which new pedagogy emerges as a result of recognising a new opportunity uniquely afforded by ICT. Professional training should help to identify these new opportunities where they occur and encourage progress to the appropriator stage by equipping teachers with pedagogical principles and criteria described here. References Abell, S.K. (2007) Research on science teacher knowledge. In S.K.Abell and N.G.Lederman (eds.), Handbook of Research on Science Education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp Barton, R. (1997) Does Data Logging Change the Nature of Children's Thinking in Experimental Work in Science?, in N. Davis & B. Somekh (Eds) Using Information Technology Effectively in Teaching and Learning. London: Routledge. Bell, B. and Gilbert, J.K. (2004) A model for achieving teacher development. In Gilbert, J.K. (ed.), The Routledge Falmer Reader in Science Education. London: Routledge Falmer, pp Dwyer, D., Ringstaff, C., & Sandholtz, J. (1991). Changes in Teachers' Beliefs and Practices in Technology-Rich Classrooms. Educational Leadership, 48(8), Driver, R., Asoko, H., Leach, J., Mortimer, E., & Scott, P. (1994) Constructing scientific knowledge in the classroom. Educational Researcher, 23, 5-12 Gilbert, J. (2010) Supporting the development of effective science teachers. In Osborne, J and Dillon, J. (eds.), Good Practice in Science Teaching What research has to say. Maidenhead: Open University Press, pp

5 Hennessy, S., Wishart, J., Whitelock, D., Deaney, R., Brawn, R., la Velle, L., et al. (2007). Pedagogical approaches for technology-integrated science teaching. Computers & Education, 48(1), ICT for Innovative Science Teachers Project, Leonardo da Vinci Programme PL1- LEO Kennewell, S. (2001) Using affordances and constraints to evaluate the use of ICT in teaching and learning. Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education, 10, pp Koehler, M.J. and Mishra, P. (2005) What happens when teachers design educational technology? The development of technological pedagogical content knowledge, Journal of Educational Computing Research, 32(2); pp Mumtaz, S. (2000) Factors affecting teachers use of ICT: A review of the literature Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education, 9, pp Newton, L and Rogers, L (2001) Teaching Science with ICT, London, Continuum Pedretti, E., Smith-Mayer, J. & Woodrow, J. (1999) Teaming Technology Enhanced Instruction in the Science Classroom and Teacher Professional Development, Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 7, pp Papert, S. (1999) Introduction in: Logo Philosophy and Implementation, Logo Computer Systems Inc. (www.lcsi.ca) Rogers & Finlayson, H. (2004) Developing successful pedagogy with ICT How are science teachers meeting the challenge? (with H. Finlayson) Technology, Pedagogy and Education 13 (3) Rogers & Wild, P. (1996) Data-logging: Effects on Practical Science, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 12, pp Sandholz, J. H., Ringstaff, C. & Dwyer, C. D. (1997) Teaching with Technology.. creating pupil centred classrooms. New York: Teachers College Press. Shulman, L. (1987), Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, pp Squires, D. & McDougall, A. (1996) Software Evaluation: a situated approach, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 12, pp Webb, M. (2010) Technology-mediated learning. In Osborne, J and Dillon, J. (eds.) Good Practice in Science Teaching What research has to say. Maidenhead, Open University Press, p.181.

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