ICT Training for Teachers
Secondary Science - Evaluating the Impact of ICT in Science
Evaluating the impact of using ICT in teaching science
In this module you will reflect on the planning and assessment
work you carried out in the previous module. There
is further useful information about this in Module 6 of the Primary Materials and in the
booklet "Ideas for integrating ICT into the primary and secondary classroom"
(published by Lewisham Education and Community Services). You will need to evaluate
how useful your use of ICT was for the enhancement of the pupils' learning and
also for your own professional development.
Remember ICT is not the answer to everything. There are many experiments where using a datalogger gives no advantage over using traditional methods for gathering data: in fact there will be times when you want the pupils to use a more laborious manual method so that they truly appreciate what a datalogger can do! Similarly, pupils will still need to be able to set up data tables and draw their own graphs, in addition to using the facilities of a spreadsheet. CD-ROMs and Internet information is beneficial in some areas but not others. Your evaluation needs to take account of the benefits, if any, of using ICT in a particular context over and against other methods of carrying out the same task.
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Thinking about the use of ICT in science
When using traditional teaching methods you probably have very clear ideas about when to intervene and when to stand back and let the pupil or pupils get on with the task. When using ICT your job is more complex as you need to bear in mind not only the teaching and learning objectives but also the range of resources used and to what extent the pupil has used the resources to develop the work.
We need to consider the contribution that work in science contributes to the overall development of pupils' ICT capability and record how effectively pupils demonstrate their ability to communicate and handle information as part of their overall ICT profile. We have already given some general guidance on this in Module 5 of the Primary Core. Perhaps you should have another look at that section, before looking at what follows, which is more specific to ICT in science.
The effective teacher's role involves carrying out a number of tasks including:
Other issues to take into consideration when evaluating the effectiveness of ICT in the science lesson:
The focus of assessment of ICT in science must always be related to identified teaching objectives. In some respects this is no different from assessing work carried out using traditional methods. Remember: we are assessing outcomes matched to aims, as expressed in the pupils' understanding of science, and not assessing the software or hardware. We are assessing the science enabled by the ICT.
The increased accessibility of information which ICT allows leads to additional problems that we need to be aware of:
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You will find the following useful document in your booklet "Ideas for integrating ICT into the primary and secondary classroom" (published by Lewisham Education and Community Services). It is also available for downloading in Word Format from the resources page.
ICT Teacher Evaluation
Finally, you may wish to compare how you feel about your NOF Training with the Teacher Training Agency's Expected Outcomes for the NOF Training.
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- Fill out Teacher Evaluation forms for both the activities carried out in the previous module.
- Use these as the basis for a fuller evaluation report of the activities, commenting on difficulties, how you overcame them and the benefits of using ICT in this context.
E-mail your report to your tutor as an attached file.
The T@LENT conference for secondary science includes threads that might be useful in this discussion.
Evaluating the impact of using ICT in science might involve observing learning in science, reviewing pupils' work or interviewing pupils and colleagues. What five indicators would you look for to identify successful use of ICT in a science lesson and what kind of:
- activities would you expect to observe (experimental procedures, data analysis, group work etc..)?
- pupils' work would you expect to see (presentation of data, information from CD-ROM and the Internet)?
- comments would you expect to hear from pupils and colleagues (positive and negative reports, short- and long-term views)?
What additional supporting documentation and resources might you expect to be useful (from within the department and also research information from OFSTED, ASE etc..)?
It is important to remain sensitive to all involved and focus on learning, collaborating with a colleague to identify the focus of the lesson or the material through which each of your quality indicators might be commented on. Write a report evaluating the lesson.
You will have a professional opinion of the quality of the learning experience studied. This will give some indication of the accuracy of your formal evaluation. You should try to identify specific points of disagreement and agreement, these might be related to the science (for example, understanding of results, accuracy) or the ICT (for example, ease of use of a computer model).
How far do you feel your conclusions are transferable to other science lessons where ICT is used to support learning? You might be able to determine guidelines for using ICT in science teaching, perhaps with colleagues.
You will also be able to estimate how far your conclusions indicate the extent ICT will be transferable in other science contexts, biology, chemistry, geology and/or physics.
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