Technology in the Science Classroom

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  • 0:04 Technology Integration Levels
  • 1:29 Forms of Data Collection
  • 3:45 Digital Tools
  • 5:17 Using Technology
  • 6:21 Digital Citizenship
  • 6:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rachel Tustin

Dr. Rachel Tustin has a PhD in Education focusing on Educational Technology, a Masters in English, and a BS in Marine Science. She has taught in K-12 for more than 15 years, and higher education for ten years.

Technology integration in the science classroom can be approached in several different ways. In this lesson, we'll look at technology integration from a conventional inquiry-based instruction approach, as well as the levels of technology integration that can be applied to the science classroom.

Technology Integration Levels

Technology is critical in designing instruction for students in the digital age. Depending on the demographics of your students, you might have some who are digital natives, or at least more fluent in the use of technology than yourself. Whatever your own or your students' level of expertise, technology skills are key to both delivering and learning new information. This why teachers must find ways to integrate these skills into our science curricula.

At the entry level, you can use digital devices to change the way you present information to students. For example, you may use a digital whiteboard to present notes or videos to students. At the next level, you allow students to use conventional technology, such as word processing programs, to complete tasks. At the conventional level, the task itself remains changed. For example, instead of handwriting papers, students type them. Using an online library, instead of physically going to the library, is another example of conventional technology. Going beyond conventional technology requires using digital tools to adapt and, eventually, transform student tasks altogether. For instance, instead of having students draw posters, they design websites to share course content. Science teachers typically use an inquiry model to design units of study. In this model, they present students with a question or problem statement, ask them to investigate the question, and then devise and present a solution.

Forms of Data Collection

As teachers, we often assume that students understand the best way to find resources for a task, but this may not always be true. To remedy the situation, begin by teaching your students about some reliable places to begin their search. For example, most public libraries offer a virtual library to registered users and, depending on where you live, there might be a state virtual library at your disposal as well. Once you have located the URLs for these resources, you can teach your students how to conduct a proper search.

To help students understand search engines, or websites like Google and Bing, have them enter the key phrases they are looking for in quotation marks. For example, instead of Washington apples, which might pull up information about George Washington, they could key in 'Washington apples' and narrow the results to articles or websites with that specific phrase. Depending on the search engine students are using, you'll also need to teach them how to navigate the available filters to narrow sources by type, date, author, etc.

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