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Science, technology and understanding


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Science, technology and understanding

  1. 1. Science, Technology and Understanding: Teaching the Teachers of Citizens of The Future David Geelan School of Education University of Queensland
  2. 2. <ul><li>The Toowoomba water referendum </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Middle years (Grades 6-9) and Secondary (Grades 10-12) science teacher education </li></ul><ul><li>Many of the issues that will be faced by the school students who my students will teach are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>global </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>scientific and/or technological </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Issues include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nanotechnology and new materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate change and energy (including nuclear) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biotechnology, artificial organs, life extension </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Urban/suburban design in a post-fossil-fuel world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential pandemics </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>But history tells us that we probably know nothing now about the scientific issues that will really change their lives </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>The challenge is to help students learn to apply scientific ways of thinking to social problems </li></ul><ul><li>It is also often argued that this makes student learning more engaging, but informal findings in relation to this are mixed </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Two very different groups of students: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physics education students for senior secondary school (Grades 11-12) all have at least a BSc in physics, some have PhDs, some have worked as engineers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Middle Years education students (Grades 6-9) are generalists with a wide range of backgrounds, including ‘science phobia’ </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Two key challenges with science teachers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distinction between scientific and social questions/issues (rules of the knowledge game) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finding time in content-packed curricula to ‘add’ social-scientific issues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Third challenge with (some) Middle Years teachers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Very low levels of science content knowledge/ understanding </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Key Dilemma of Science Teaching <ul><li>‘ Science for all’ versus ‘Science for future scientists’ </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>The ‘unit of analysis’ in this project is the students in my teacher education courses, rather than the students they will teach </li></ul><ul><li>A later project might follow my students into the first year of their teaching career and consider impacts on their students’ learning, specifically in relation to citizenship and applying scientific thinking to social-scientific </li></ul>
  11. 11. Evidence <ul><li>Chose not to use student self-reports of learning as a form of evidence for this project </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, since the focus was on the effect of my pedagogy in supporting their planning for teaching, I analysed the ‘unit plans’ they prepared as the culminating assignment in the course </li></ul>
  12. 12. Pedagogy <ul><li>I have been teaching courses of this nature for about 9 years, in Australia and Canada, and never taught the course the same way twice </li></ul><ul><li>The evolutionary process has been influenced by a number of different things, including colleagues, the Carnegie scholarship and my own reflective practice </li></ul>
  13. 13. Pedagogy <ul><li>Attempt to both: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>model the kind of pedagogy I hope to help my students to develop, and to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>explicitly help them develop a language with which to talk about teaching and learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use classroom video to help beginning teachers identify key features of a teaching ‘performance’ </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive small and large group discussion </li></ul>
  14. 14. Curricular Emphases Model <ul><li>One possible approach to integrating socioscientific issues (SSIs – the new language) or Science, Technology and Society (STS – the old language) or Science, Technology, Society and Environment (STSE – the middle language) issues in science classrooms without taking way more time </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Developed by Doug Roberts and refined by Frank Jenkins (both Canadians) </li></ul><ul><li>Involves planning teaching units with a particular ‘curricular emphasis’ chosen (to match the content) from among: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nature of Science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Science and Society </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Units with a ‘nature of science’ emphasis include the history and philosophy of science and some of the epistemological ‘rules of the game’ as a way of complementing and contextualising the scientific content, </li></ul><ul><li>Units with a ‘technology’ emphasis explore the complex and dynamic relationships between science and technology, </li></ul><ul><li>Units with a ‘science and society’ emphasis look at the social impacts, benefits and consequences of the associated science, and also address the ‘environment’ element </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Serves the purpose of allowing teachers to honour the goals and aspirations of the students they teach and of the students’ parents. </li></ul><ul><li>Any approach to teaching science for all that fails to also deliver high quality science education for future scientists and excellent outcomes on high stakes tests is doomed. </li></ul><ul><li>Curricular emphases offer teachers a way to achieve ‘both-and’ outcomes, rather than to be placed on the horns of an ‘either-or’ dilemma. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Three Sample Unit Plans <ul><li>Cassandra </li></ul><ul><li>Grade 10 Science – introduction to chemistry </li></ul><ul><li>Nature of Science emphasis </li></ul><ul><li>Rules of the knowledge game, assessing science-based knowledge claims </li></ul><ul><li>Distinction between scientific knowledge claims and individual values/beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Variety of learning activities including 25% labs </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Michael </li></ul><ul><li>Grade 12 Physics – subatomic particles/matter </li></ul><ul><li>Science and Society emphasis </li></ul><ul><li>History of human understanding of atomic structure </li></ul><ul><li>Computer-based animations and simulations (critically analysed) </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Play ‘Copenhagen’ – personal lives of scientists and ethics of nuclear weapons </li></ul><ul><li>Nuclear power for Australia as a potential ‘cleaner’ energy source than fossil fuels </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Teaching out of who he is’ as a self-described ‘geek’ with a huge fund of anecdotes and applications </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Wytze </li></ul><ul><li>Grade 12 Physics – electric forces and fields </li></ul><ul><li>Technology emphasis </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship between science and technology </li></ul><ul><li>Everyday materials for experiments </li></ul><ul><li>History – Edison and Tesla </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria for judging technological problem-solutions </li></ul>