ICT Training for Teachers

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Secondary Science Introduction - Why use ICT?
Module 1 Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Task 1.1
  3. Discussion
  4. ICT resources to support learning and teaching in science
  5. Examples of ICT resources that can be used in science
  6. Task 1.2
  7. Discussion
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Information and communication technology (ICT) can be used to enhance teaching and learning in the secondary school science curriculum. This is best achieved where ICT experiences are carefully planned and are fully integrated into the science curriculum, and where opportunities are included for assessing the pupils' information technology capability as well as their achievements in science.

Science teachers can make appropriate use of ICT to help achieve their teaching and learning objectives by using ICT to support more effective learning and to achieve results not otherwise possible or which are prohibitively expensive, dangerous or difficult. Where the use of ICT imposes additional burdens on students, this should be balanced by obvious benefits such as increased understanding of the scientific processes.

There are many issues to consider, before you start using ICT in your science lessons, and these include issues of managing the learning, providing equal opportunities and equal access to the resources, monitoring progression, ensuring differentiation, as well as the more practical issues such as the availability and use of ICT resources.

ICT can be used to enhance teaching and learning in science by:

ICT resources (systems, software, hardware and courseware) available include:

Teachers new to ICT will find the Primary and Secondary Core materials helpful. Click here for an explanation of the different ways of using these sections. We will give you further links to the Primary Core in later modules. Don't forget the glossary of ICT terms either!
Finally, we suggest you have a look at the Primary Science materials to get an idea of the kinds of ICT experiences your pupils should be receiving before they come to the secondary school. The primary site has plenty of ideas which can be used and exploited in the secondary sector.

Don't forget the many useful pages of information available on the Internet. Start by looking at the Science ICT Curriculum Support pages on the Virtual Teacher Centre. There are many further ideas and useful links on the main science pages of the VTC.

The TTA has produced exemplification materials on the use of ICT in subject teaching. A Word version of the secondary science materials is available from the TTA web site.

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Task 1.1

    Write using a word processor, or some other electronic form which you feel is appropriate, a document which covers the following points:

    1. Define a clear rationale for using ICT in your own school context.
      In this you should give a clear indication of how you see ICT enhancing teaching and learning within the science curriculum. You should include existing good practice and opportunities for further ICT use which you consider possible.

    2. Carry out an audit of the ICT resources available in your school to support the teaching and learning of science. Click here for Word hardware and software audit sheets to help you.
      You might wish to use the types given above to classify resources, further subdividing these into software, hardware and courseware as appropriate. The section on Resources in the Primary core will be helpful to newcomers as well.

    3. Explore, and report on, other resources not immediately available in your school but which fit into the list above.
      Include information sources on CD-ROM and the Internet in your search. You might like to look at some of the Examples of evaluations of resources which are linked from Core Module 3.

    You might want to design a web page to include your document and to use electronic mail to send it to your tutor for publishing on the T@LENT intranet.



The T@LENT conference for secondary science includes threads that might be useful in this discussion.

The national curriculum identifies a number of activities where pupils might use ICT in their science work:

a) find things out from a variety of sources, selecting and synthesising the information to meet their needs and developing an ability to question its accuracy, bias and plausibility such as raw and graphed data from datalogging equipment, for example investigating rates of reaction.

b) develop their ideas using ICT tools to amend and refine their work and enhance its quality and accuracy such as using an integrated package to combine text, graphs, tables, diagrams and photographs to produce reports on experimental work for example focussing on ecology.

c) exchange and share information, both directly and through electronic media, such as using e-mail in collaborative work in with pupils in another school for example investigating regional geology.

d) review, modify and evaluate their work, reflecting critically on its quality, as it progresses, such as using spreadsheets to explore the relationship between variables in a dynamic model for example exploring friction.

  • What ICT skills do you think an 'average' pupil should be able to demonstrate in their science work without help, at the beginning of key stage 3 and at the end of key stage 4? You might need to talk with colleagues in your department and elsewhere, including teachers of ICT, to build a picture of the skills your pupils actually do have.

  • What range of ICT skills do you think all your pupils will be able to demonstrate in science? Provision should be made for the diverse learning needs of all your pupils. The use of ICT in science can enhance subject learning for all abilities: see the Inclusion section of the national curriculum for science.

ICT resources to support learning and teaching in science

ICT resources that can be used to support learning and teaching in science come in a variety of different guises. The purpose of this module is not to look at specific examples, which come in later modules, but to look at the ways in which ICT resources can be used to enhance pupils' experience of science. When reviewing ICT resources to support learning and teaching we can divide them into two categories: generic resources that can be used in a wide variety of areas and subject specific resources that, in this case, have their main application in science teaching. They can also be divided into four different types of resource: software, CD-ROMs, courseware and the Internet. There is some more information on this in module 2 of the core materials. This might also be a good time to have a look at sections on planning for learning with ICT in the core materials and evaluating software in module 2 of the science materials.

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Examples of ICT resources that can be used in science
Name Type Uses Source
Microsoft Word Generic software Word processing
Desktop publishing
Most software suppliers
Microsoft Excel Generic software Spreadsheets
Simple databases
Most software suppliers
Insight Science software Datalogging Longman Logotron
Microsoft Encarta Generic CD-ROM Information source (encyclopaedia) Most software suppliers
Understanding the Body Science CD-ROM Resource for teaching about human biology Anglia Multimedia Ltd
Becta CD-ROM reviews Science Internet/CD-ROM Looking for useful science CD-ROMs Becta CD-ROM reviews
ASE web site Science Internet Useful source of information and web page reviews for science teachers ASE web site

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Task 1.2

4. Select two generic and two science specific ICT resources that you have used. These should be from at least two different types of the four listed above.

5. Write a recommendation for each of these resources, including what kind of resource each one is, how you have used it and why you think it is worth recommending to other science teachers. This should be either a word processed document or a web page. Refer to Evaluating ICT Resources in the core if you need further help.

E-mail this to your tutor as an attached file.

Word processed documents should be saved as RTF (rich text format) files for this purpose as these can be opened in most word processing packages.



The T@LENT conference for secondary science includes threads that might be useful in this discussion.

Consider where a pupil might usefully support their learning in science by:

  • word-processing a report
  • recording some information
  • modelling a real system and
  • recording a physical change.

What would the benefits be in each?

How might this also contribute to their progress in ICT? Use the Programme of Study for science, particularly the opportunities for ICT printed in the margins.

Pupils' progression must be planned both in terms of their development of skills, knowledge and understanding of science and their development of ICT capability.

There are implications for tracking, monitoring, recording and providing evidence for progression when pupils use ICT in their science work.

Do you have a rationale for teaching aspects of generic ICT in science and can you start to identify opportunities in your teaching for incorporating this into your curriculum?

Do you feel competent in having a say in developing ICT capability by using generic resources in science at the same time as teaching the science programme of study?

Identify aspects in your science department which you consider promote the use of generic ICT resources and which oppose it. What do you think are the most influential of these?


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