Saturday, 16 July 2011


Learning Science with ICT

A new national curriculum for Icelandic schools was published in 1999. Both the science and the information and technology education curriculum from 1999 made considerable demands on teachers. A recent study in Iceland drew some general conclusions about the kinds of support and structure. The teachers seem to need in order to make the use of ICT a real option in their teaching. During 2005 research was carried out with five science teachers in the urban southwest area of Iceland with support from the KHÍ Research Fund. The study was designed to consider the conceptions of teaching and learning held by these teachers and to assess the extent and manner in which ICT was used by them in their science teaching. The aim of this paper is to report on the second part of the study i.e. to assess the way in which the five teachers were using ICT in their science teaching. Twining (2002) developed the Computer Practice Framework (CPF) with which it is possible to differentiate ways in which computers are used in teaching situations. The question “For what purpose?” concerns the extent to which the use of the technology is affecting the content and practices of learning. Twining has identified three categories:
1. ICT used as support (same content, automated process but essentially unchanged; could be
more efficient but does not change the content),
2. ICT used for extension (different content and process but neither requires a computer) and
3. ICT used for transformation (different content or process, both requiring a computer such that either the content or process changes).
The literature indicates that for effective use of ICT in science the following factors will be important:
• ICT is usually used in alignment with existing pedagogical practice,
• ICT can be used to support the development of procedural knowledge, and
• Teachers need technical and advisory support for using ICT in science teaching.

The teacher who used ICT the most in science had a strong student-centred approach but also had a strong background in ICT itself. Few of the teachers seemed to use ICT in order to transform learning (cf. Twining, 2002) but some used ICT to support or extend learning.


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