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Windows into a science classroom: Making science relevant through multimedia resourcing

By James J. Watters and Carmel M. Diezmann

Abstract

In the Australian context much effort and expenditure is being devoted to enhancing the quality of science teaching. In part, this is in recognition of the need to develop a populace that is scientifically literate, thereby, raising public awareness of the role and importance of science and technology in creating a sustainable future. It is also in response to the ever-increasing rate at which new knowledge is being generated. It is impossible for teachers to keep abreast of new developments, and hence, new ways need to be developed to enhance student interest in science and to encourage talented students to pursue a scientific career. Teacher knowledge is fundamental to the achievement of quality teaching and learning. This paper focuses on the use of a multimedia resource that was developed to enhance pre-service and in-service teachers’ knowledge of science and ways to teach inquiry-based science. Through inquiry, students come to understand the importance of the practices of science as much as developing content knowledge. This resource comprised two CD-ROMs, which enabled students to interactively explore a model for the teaching of inquiry-based science supplemented with video vignettes of teachers implementing specific strategies at different year levels. A six-component model, which highlighted the role of: working scientifically, student learning, learning in science, teaching strategies, learning environment and content, was developed to guide the production of the multimedia materials. Complementing the resource was a web site. The paper draws upon three contexts for data analysis for the impact of this material: (a) a group of early childhood and primary student teachers and their lecturers, (b) a 100 senior teachers responsible for the professional development of colleagues throughout a region who were participants in a professional development program that used the material, and (c) a cohort of 300 pre-service primary science teachers undertaking a science methods course. Data were collected through surveys, focus groups, and analysis of online interactions. The findings of this study revealed the value of the multimedia material as a vicarious learning experience; the extent that multimedia can demystify science teaching; and the impact on learning outcomes of a multimedia-supported strategy. Here, we will explore those aspects of the multimedia design which enhanced learning and discuss the strategies that can be used in teacher education which support the growth of teacher knowledge

Topics: 130000 EDUCATION, Science education, multimedia, CD, Rom, classroom teaching, primary, elementary school
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:1681

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