A Digital Toolbox for Science Teachers and Learners
Professor Suzanne Cory , President of the AustralianAcademy of Science, addresses The National Press Club on 28th September, 2011. “A decade ago, a review of Australian science education, revealed many students were disappointed with their high school science. Today, this disenchantment continues, as evidenced by the declining number of students choosing to study science in senior secondary school.”
Children are naturally curious about howthe world around them works; so why dowe have a shortage of scientific expertise?
“A recent survey conducted by Science and TechnologyAustralia and the Academy of Science revealed somealarming statistics:• 30% believe humans were around at the time ofdinosaurs.• Over 20% of our university graduates think that it takesjust one day for the Earth to travel around the sun.• 25% say human activity is not influencing the evolutionof other species.”
Created online with “Create-A-Graph”http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/index.asp
Why do we need to teach with technology?1. The Power to Engage2. Students use technology already – educate them to use it for good and not for evil!3. Professional Development4. Its not going to go away...it will only grow5. Employers want their workers to use internet toolshttp://www.emergingedtech.com/2009/05/5-reasons-why-educators-need-to-embrace-internet-technologies/
“How can you successfully integrate digital tools into science classes to enhance student learning?”
I get overwhelmed by all the choices –there are so many different web2.0 toolsand informative resources to use! Try a social bookmarking site:
How can I get to know my students betterat the beginning of the school year? Try using Survey Monkey or Google Docs to create a student survey about their strengths, interests and concerns.
How can I introduce a new topic with web2.0 tools? You can use Flickr and PowerPoint to create slideshow of interesting images around your topic.
How can I connect withexperts using web2.0 tools? Use Skype or Blackboard Collaborate to participate in presentations, ask questions and connect with scientists.
We use Skype and Blackboard Collaborate toconnect with our Scientist in Schools partner, Melissa Toifl, from CSIRO Land and Water Technologies, in Highett and Clayton.
Peter Barnett, Geologist from Hot Rocks Ltd. Connecting with experts in the field increases motivationand engagement by allowing students to ask questions and actively participate in presentations.
Participation in web conferences with ActWild,facilitated by the Melbourne Zoo, develops student knowledge and empathy for our wildlife.
Students collect dataabout tree growth toupload to theSmithsonian Institutewebsite, wherescientists use the datafor climate changeresearch.
This year I used BlackboardCollaborate to teach Unit 3 and4 VCE Environmental Science tostudents from four differentschools. We connected for 90minutes each weeksynchronously and used myblog, email and Facebookasynchronously.We met at Ecolinc, BacchusMarsh in term 1 and atEcoBeach Apollo Bay YHA duringterm 3 holidays.
How can I find out what my students already know about a topic? Try creating a group word cloud using Google Docs and Wordle or Tagxedo.
How can you encourage students toconnect different concepts or show theirunderstanding of how ideas are related? Bubbl.us (online) and Freemind (download) are digital mind mapping tools that are easy to use and display on blogs.
How can mobile devices be used effectively toenhance science learning? Use mobile phones to scan QR codes, take pictures or record data during excursions and trips outside into the school garden.
Students can create their own webpage in a wiki anduse the URL to create a QR (quick response) code thatdirects the user to the information in their webpage.
How can you encourage students to work together,collaborate on projects and share their results? Google Docs and Wikispaces are free tools that allow students to work together online.
International Energy Challenge 150 students, five schools, three countries and 12 energy sources.http://energychallenge.wikispaces.com/
How can students describe experiments or worktogether to explain the results of investigations? Voicethread is a simply wonderful way to use images with audio and text.
My students have difficulty rememberingdefinitions of scientific terms – how can I help? Flashcards db is an online tool where students can create digital Flashcards, which can be used online or printed out. There is a similar app for iPods and iPads called Flashcardlet.
How can I help my studentsrevise effectively for tests? Quiz Revolution (formerly My Studiyo) is a free tool for creating online multiple choice quizzes. It is simple for students to create their own quizzes and send a link byemail to their friends and teacher or embed the quiz into a blog. Quizlet is similar.
How can students demonstrate their understanding of a topic? Ask students to create a digital story using Animoto, Slideshare, Photostory, Win dows Movie Maker or iMovie.
Your students can enter the 60 second sciencecompetition by explaining a scientific concept. http://www.60secondscience.net/
How can I find out what studentslearnt during a lesson or what they may not have understood? Wallwisher can be used as an exit slip – a short, low-stakes, assessment task. A prompted (or unprompted) written reflection that is posted online.
• What did you learn about cells today?• How could you get a magnification of x400?• What is the difference between a light microscope and a stereo microscope?
REFERENCES• Prof. Suzanne Cory’s National Press Club Address on 28th September, 2011 http://theconversation.edu.au/science-maths-and-the- future-of-australia-3577• Bored students image from http://ap018.edublogs.org/2010/10/17/pop-culture/• Survey by STA and Academy of Science at http://www.fasts.org/images/News2010/science%20lit eracy%20report%20final%20270710.pdf (04/10/2011)• Teaching the 21st Century Learner at http://depd.wisc.edu/series/06_4168.pdf