Using Technology in Science

The Science content area seems to be the biggest adopter of technology with 71% of teachers using online video, 81% researched the internet for materials to use in their classes, 31% pinned classroom lesson plans to Pinterest and 58% watched Ted Talk on a topic of interests (Byers 2016). However there will always be challenges when trying to implement these types of technology into any content area. The major obstacle with using technology specifically for Science is finding ways to give students the same hands on experiences and lack of social interactions (Flick & Bell 2018).

 

With the technologies that are now available for teaching and learning students are able to get that same hands on experience with added benefits. The use of simulations engages the students and allows them to see outcomes based on the changes they make while using the simulation, in real time. Virtual Labs are another popular tool being used to give students that hands on real life interaction needed in the science classroom. This type of technology also has added benefits. Students will be able to use the latest and greatest equipment at a lower cost and it also opens up the door for students to be able to freely experiment without any safety risks. The added use of mandatory discussion forums can help keep the social interaction aspect in the classroom.

 

Over the years technology has grown and even though there will always be some obstacles, we as professionals, always find solutions around them. In my opinion the added benefits with using the tools mentioned above outweigh the potential issues.

 

Byers, A. (n.d.). Science Teachers “Speak Up” About Technology in the Classroom. Retrieved from http://nstacommunities.org/blog/2016/09/08/science-teachers-speak-up-about-technology-in-the-classroom/

Flick, L., & Bell, R. (n.d.). Preparing Tomorrow’s Science Teachers to Use Technology: Guidelines for Science Educators. Retrieved from https://www.citejournal.org/volume-1/issue-1-00/science/preparing-tomorrows-science-teachers-to-use-technology-guidelines-for-science-educators/

4 thoughts on “Using Technology in Science”

  1. I almost wrote my blog post about integrating technology into the science classroom, but I know that science courses tend to be early adopters for many technologies and so I had a hard time thinking about what obstacles were left in that area. But I think you make a very valid point about making sure that we don’t lose real-life experiences and social interactions when relying on virtual reality and technological simulations in the classroom. I like your idea of mandatory discussion forums, or even “debriefing” sessions in an in-person classroom setting where teachers allow some time at the end of an activity for students to come back as a group and share their thoughts about the virtual lab or the simulation they just ran. It’s important to maintain the personal as we integrate the technological.

  2. Virtual labs are an interesting way to show kids how their actions can affect things. They also allow the students to try an experiment multiple times, which isn’t possible when doing some experiments such as dissections. I also like how you mentioned the fact that virtual labs take away safety concerns that are common in many Science classrooms.

  3. Greetings Nicole! I appreciated your comments on the increased usage of TED Talks in classrooms, as I personally use them for my Adult EFL learners here in South Korea. Most of my students are immediately engaged with the topics that are directly related to their industry — and yes, effective teaching with the video goes beyond just enjoying the visual experience. First things first, proper pedagogical knowledge in the know-how of effectively delivering the video content to build context is a great support for many of the grammatical and lexicon components to my lesson plans. I also create accompanying worksheets filled with key expressions used by the speakers that highlight our grammar points and key vocabulary of study. And, while view the video, I would actually pause and breakdown just how language is being used (and for the more advanced learners, allow them to explain their thoughts). So, I guess this is where proper training and education in knowing how to teach with technology is really important for any instructor wishing to implement tech into his or her studies to further heighten the learning experience of their students.

  4. Yes to all things in your post! I often struggle with whether or not to implement a piece of technology versus an authentic interaction in class and I’m so glad that you talk about this specifically with virtual labs and the implementation of simulations. They can have so many benefits for students, even to the point where they are making content and curriculum accessible for students who would not otherwise be able to engage in those types of activities, but the drawbacks in the social atmosphere can be numerous. At some point, I think we as teachers need to decide whether the activities we choose are enriching the lives and experiences of our students and if those pieces of technology are making their experience better than without.

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