Preparing pre-service teachers to integrate technology into inquiry-based science education: Three case studies in The Netherlands

Trinh Ba Tran, Ed Van Den Berg, Ton Ellermeijer, Jos Beishuizen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Integration of technology (e.g. measuring with sensors, video measurement, and modeling) into secondary-school science teaching is a need globally recognized. A central issue of incorporating these technologies in teaching is how to turn manipulations of equipment and software into manipulations of ideas. Therefore, preparation for pre-service teachers to apply ICT tools should be combined with the issues of minds-on inquiring and meaning-making. From this perspective, we developed a course within the post-graduate teacher-education program in the Netherlands. During the course, pre-service teachers learnt not only to master ICT skills but also to design, teach, and evaluate an inquiry-based lesson in which the ICT tool was integrated. Besides three life sessions, teachers' learning scenario also consisted of individual tasks which teachers could carry out mostly in the school or at home with support materials and online assistance. We taught three iterations of the course within a design-research framework in 2013, 2014 and collected data on the teacher learning processes and outcomes. The analyses of these data from observation, interviews, questionnaires, and documents were to evaluate implementation of the course, then suggest for revisions of the course set-up, which was executed and then assessed again in a subsequent case study. Main outcomes of the three case studies can be summarized as follows: within a limited time (3 life sessions spread over 2-3 months), the heterogeneous groups of pre-service teachers achieved a reasonable level of competence regarding the use of ICT tools in inquiry-based lessons. The blended set-up with support materials, especially the Coach activities and the lesson-plan form for an ICT-integrated inquiry-based lesson, contributed to this result under the condition that the course participants really spent considerable time outside the life sessions. There was a need for more time for hands-on, in-group activities in life sessions and more detailed feedback on individual reports of pre-service teachers. The majority of the pre-service teachers were able to design a lesson plan aimed at a certain inquiry level with integration of ICT, but just a few could implement it faithfully in the classroom. There was still a considerable difference between intended inquiry activities and actual realized inquiry which parallels results from the literature for experienced teachers. The participants had to struggle with science-ICT conceptual issues as well as getting their students to focus on inquiry and concept learning in the classroom. Each evaluation guided iteration of the course resulted in better learning outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114
JournalNuovo Cimento della Societa Italiana di Fisica C
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

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