Using Technology to Foster Exploration and Reflection in Science

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Presentation delivered at the 2010 Illinois Computing Educators conference.


  • 1. February 25, 2010 Using Technology to Foster Exploration and Reflection in Science Liz Lehman and Lucy Gray Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education University of Chicago Annalise Gudonis and Rebecca Rahmel, Arlington Heights School District 25
  • 2. Goals for Session Share some of our past work Discuss potentials and challenges Present ideas for future work
  • 3. About CEMSE The 3 overlapping strands of our work: Tool Development Direct Services Research and Development
  • 4. Science Companion A PreK through Grade 6 Inquiry-Based Science Curriculum
  • 5. The I Wonder Circle : A Tool for Inquiry Science
  • 6. Our Working Premise Children learn science by engaging in the work of scientists (inquiry)
  • 7. Both are important for elementary students. Both should be developed with age-appropriate activities and expectations. (SC Big Ideas encompass both disciplinary content and process skills.) They should be connected and reinforce one another. For example: Children learn about the properties of rocks by doing careful observation; AND Children learn how to do careful observations by being given a meaningful context and purpose for developing/practicing this skill (e.g., observing rocks and recording properties) Content and Process
  • 8. Technology Enhancements for Science Companion Summer, 2009 IL District 25 (Arlington Heights) Summer U Tool Development - Incorporated technology into lessons from two units: Collecting and Examining Life (Grades K and 1) Motion (Grades 2 through 4) Direct Services Supported teachers as they used the tech-enhanced units Research and Development Collected data from teachers and students about their experiences
  • 9. A Science Companion Sample Lesson
  • 10. Technology Tools for Enhancing Inquiry Tools for gathering scientific information, such as databases and websites Tools for data collection and analysis, such as probeware, other real-time data collection tools, pictures, and graphs Tools for modeling scientific phenomena, such as simulations and mathematical models Tools for communication, such as video and personalized web pages (adapted from the Association for Science Teacher Education)
  • 11. Arlington Heights Pilot: Adding Tech to Support Inquiry Two main uses of technology: Technologies focused on students interactions with science content (e.g., motion sensors, digital microscopes) Technologies focused on promoting student communication and reflection about their science experiences (e.g., daily journal in class wiki and VoiceThreads)
  • 12. Arlington Heights Pilot: Adding Tech to Support Inquiry Two collaborative spaces Private planning wiki for teachers and CEMSE Public wiki for teachers, students, and families Resources Lesson-embedded technology suggestions Google Book Search bibliography Vetted, point-of-use digital resources (websites, United Streaming, etc.)
  • 13. Rebecca Rahmel
  • 14. Rebecca Rahmel
  • 15. Rebecca Rahmel
  • 16. Annalise Gudonis
  • 17. Annalise Gudonis
  • 18. Next Steps More Science Companion technology-enhancements for Arlington Heights and others An NSF DRK-12 proposal for Science and Technology Together, an integrated science and technology curriculum with: Integrated science and technology lessons (delivered and accessed online) An online environment designed to engage teachers and students in expanding upon, personalizing and connecting with one another about classroom and related experiences, including those they initiate
  • 19. Science and Technology Together Digital Media Workspace Connections Workspace Resources Assessments
  • 20. Going Forward What are the potentials for using technology to support elementary inquiry-science learning (and vice-versa)? How can technology improve elementary science instruction? How do we balance elementary students need for first-hand, hands-on experiences in science with the capability that technology offers to do things quickly, remotely, almost magically it sometimes seems? What technologies are most appropriate for elementary science teaching and learning? How do we best ensure that teachers and students have access to these and know how to use them well?
  • 21. Your Input What would you like to see in an inquiry-based elementary science curriculum? Share your thoughts and ideas with us.
  • 22. Additional Readings Harlen, W. (2001). Primary Science: Taking the Plunge. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. National Research Council. (2005). National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Watson, B., & Kopnicek, R. (1990). Teaching for Conceptual Change: Confronting Children's Experience. Phi Delta Kappan, May, 680-684.
  • 23. Contact Information Liz Lehman Lucy Gray University of Chicago Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education Science Companion Our survey:


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