Digital Knowledge Maps in Education: Technology-Enhanced Support for Teachers and Learners
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 18 4. This study used the framework of technological pedagogical and content knowledge TPACK to examine how elementary education preservice teachers integrated technology in science units that they designed after completing courses on science education and technology integration. The findings indicate that technologies included at the end of lessons were associated with higher order thinking, while those included at the beginning or middle of lessons were focused more on lower order thinking and presenting content.
Further, frequently used technology-rich activities such as viewing videos and PowerPoint presentations were associated with lower order thinking, while activities such as completing an interactive whiteboard activity or having students make presentations or videos included more opportunities to develop higher order thinking. Implications from this research suggest that science educators and teacher educators should focus more on technologies that support higher -order thinking and support course work with special attention to technology in the context of designing engaging science instruction.
Technologies continue to show promise to enhance teaching and learning in the elementary school grades New Media Consortium, ; U. Department of Education, When coupled with higher level thinking skills, technology has been found as a tool that positively impacts student achievement Polly, ; Wenglinsky, Examples of activities that are technology rich and include higher level thinking skills include using technology to create products or artifacts of knowledge such as multimedia presentations or artifacts, using technology to locate and synthesize information, and using technological tools to explore and make sense of mathematics and science problems by generating representations or simulations International Society for Technology in Education, In this paper we define technologies as digital tools that include hardware and devices e.
Research about how technology is used by teachers, however, indicates a predominance of teacher-centric pedagogies Polly, In this paper we report our examination of how elementary education preservice teachers intended to use technology in science units that they designed.
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In science, technology continues to show promise as a tool to support the teaching and learning of concepts. Technology and science activities that promote problem solving and critical thinking lead to deeper learning of science concepts Scalise et al. While technology infused into science classrooms with critical thinking and inquiry have potential, research from in-service teachers notes various barriers and factors related to technology integration. A related study found that secondary science teachers reported gains in skills and knowledge related to technology integration by participating in an ongoing set of professional development experiences Graham et al.
In her seminal work, Schrum posited that the three primary areas where technology integration knowledge is developed included a stand-alone educational technology courses, b pedagogy courses in various content areas such as science, mathematics and literacy, and c time in classrooms where practicing teachers model technology integration.
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In a study of preservice teachers Bell, Maeng, and Binns found that situating learning of technology integration in specific science experiences during science pedagogy courses and in immersive clinical experiences in classrooms where teachers effectively used technology as a tool to teach science in an inquiry manner led to frequent enactments of technology while enacting inquiry-based pedagogies. Specifically, preservice teachers tend to design and plan technology to be used only to present content in the form of electronic slideshow presentations, document cameras, and videos or provide practice of low-level basic skills Polly, ; Maeng, et al.
TPACK is often visualized as a three-ring Venn diagram Figure 1 that represents knowledge related to technology, pedagogy, and content. Educational technologists posit that in order for teachers to effectively integrate technology, they must be able to apply knowledge from the center of the Venn diagram, which reflects a combination of knowledge related to technology, pedagogy, and content. In the case of this study, the TPACK framework is used to examine the extent to which teachers designed an interdisciplinary unit that utilized technology and research-based pedagogies to teach science concepts effectively.
At the end of a course on instructional design and technology integration, preservice teachers successfully designed lessons that included instances of technology use with technologies specifically covered in the course Polly, In a follow-up study Polly, preservice teachers who had completed the planning and technology integration course two semesters earlier designed interdisciplinary units that included instances of technology.
One plausible explanation was the lack of continued experiences in coursework and classrooms related to technology use and higher level thinking. That study examined units that included social studies and science. The rationale for this study was to extend that work by taking a closer look at the inclusion of technology in science units. This study examined the broad research question: How did elementary education preservice teachers intend to integrate technology in science unit plans?
Participants in this study were elementary education preservice teachers who were one semester from graduation at a large university in the southeastern United States. During the semester of the study, participants were taking five education courses on designing interdisciplinary units, assessing student learning, analysis of pedagogies and classroom management, modifying instruction for diverse learners, and modifying instruction for urban learners.
Further, participants spent one full day in the elementary school classrooms where they would complete their internship in the final semester of their program. This study focuses on the work done in their course on designing interdisciplinary units. This study examined seniors in an elementary education program who had completed a science pedagogy course in the preceding semester that included experiences using technology, seeing the instructor model technology, and observing technology use in science classrooms.
The goals of these activities in the science education course were to show candidates how technology can support and not supplant other science resources and tools. Additionally, the instructors utilized technology to help students engage in learning about topics that they would not otherwise be able to do without the technology. For example, students used technology to examine how the continents have moved over time during an investigation on plate tectonics. Two semesters before the study, participants completed a course focused on technology integration and instructional design planning , which covered all concepts taught in elementary school classrooms.
The focus in this course was participating in inquiry-based lessons as learners, in which technology was used by the instructor to support teaching and learning. One experience included the exploration of an internet-based simulation focused on the phases of the moon as it relates to the movement of the moon and earth. Further, candidates participated in lessons in which the instructor modeled the use of interactive whiteboards, document cameras, and technologies to create products such as screencasts, digital videos, or webpages. This study used a two-stage mixed methods approach to analyzing the data Patton, The data source in this study was the interdisciplinary science units that 63 candidates completed.
Each interdisciplinary unit included five lesson plans and prompts that preservice teachers had to answer about their unit. The lesson plans were the primary data source for this study. A prompt about how students had integrated technology into their unit was used as a secondary data source. Examples of instances of technology include the use of PowerPoint electronic slides to provide visuals of content, the use of internet-connected computers to research science content, or the use of an interactive whiteboard to complete an activity.
Each instance of technology was entered into a spreadsheet in its own row along with details about the instance. These details were in predetermined categories that are described as follows:. Once the qualitative data were coded and entered into the spreadsheet, quantitative analyses were run on the various codes of data.
Descriptive statistics and frequencies were calculated.
Analyses also included chi-squared tests for independence in order to examine if there were statistically significant relationships between the various categorical data sources. This study examined the extent to which and how preservice integrated technology into interdisciplinary science units. There were instances of technology integration in the 63 interdisciplinary science units, an average of 4. The range of instances of technology varied from 1 instance 2 units to as many as 11 instances 1 unit. Candidates completed their unit for the grade level in which they were completing their full-time student teaching internship.
Table 2 details the types of technologies in the science units by grade level. Units written for kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 primarily included the use of interactive whiteboards, such as SMARTBoards, as well the internet for various activities. Internet uses in these primary grades focused on showing a video of content or internet-based activities and games. In Grades , the Internet was the primary technology incorporated into the science units to show videos of content or conduct internet-based research about science concepts.
Units in Grade 3 also used PowerPoint electronic slides to present content to students during lessons. All of the technologies included in the units were general technologies in order to support the teaching and learning of science content. The internet was the top technology incorporated into units instances , fairly evenly distributed across all six grades. The third most referenced technology was PowerPoint with Table 3 refers to the times when candidates referenced technology in a lesson, specifically the beginning, middle, or end of a lesson.
Candidates referenced technologies such as digital cameras, digital recorders, spreadsheets, weather technology, and word processing software at the end of a lesson when students were completing a project or an independent activity. There were also 21 uses of the internet as the final activity in the lesson, where students completed internet-based practice activities. The interactive whiteboard, which was included in 72 instances, primarily occurred in the middle of the lesson, when teachers or students used it during a whole class activity or discussion.
Last, the internet, which had instances in the units, included 94 instances in the middle of the lesson and 48 instances at the start of the lesson. A majority of internet uses focused on playing videos about content either at the beginning of the lesson or after an opening exploration. Further, PowerPoint electronic slides were primarily included in the middle of the lesson to present content and to facilitate discussions.
Table 4 shows how the instances of technology integration occur within the five lessons in the unit, as well as whether they occur at the beginning, middle, and end of the lesson. Consistent with the total amounts, within each lesson most of the instances of technology occur during the middle of the lesson. For the first and third lessons of the units, candidates referenced more technology instances at the beginning compared to the end of the lessons.
However, for the second, fourth, and fifth lessons, candidates referenced more technology instances at the end of the lesson compared to the beginning of the lesson. Table 5 shows the lesson plans in the unit where technology was integrated by grade.
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Table 6 shows the Level of technology use by grade. Table 6 described the Levels of technology integration LoTI by technology. There were instances The internet was referenced times in ways that aligned to Level 1 10 instances and Level 2 instances.
Those instances focused on the teacher using the internet or students viewing internet-based videos or texts. The interactive whiteboard was associated with 28 instances Interactive whiteboard references primarily involved students viewing the board while the teacher modeled Level 1 or using the whiteboard for an activity Level 3.
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