One of the best parts of being a Science teacher is that my students get to investigate the world on a regular basis. So much of science is based on observing the world around you, asking questions about that world, investigating your questions and drawing conclusions from those investigations. It is formal inquiry at it’s best. For most students, however, there is a limit to what they can see. Even now, in the 21st century, most of the world we experience is fairly limited in scope. We know our houses and families, our schools and friends, but only rarely get to peek to the world beyond.
Assuming one has a curious and inquisitive mind, this is where technology can step in and pay huge dividends in the science classroom. While I am a firm believer that the bulk of science that our students do should be hands-on work, there are many ways that technology adds to that experience.
Looking into Other Worlds
As stated, our view of the world is fairly limited. Technology allows students to look into the heart of an atom or out into the unknown reaches of the galaxy through experiences like Absorb Learning’s atom tutorial or the Hubble Deep Field Academy. The fact is that resources are being developed all the time that broaden students world and what becomes observable. This broader view leads to more interest and investigation on the part of the students.
Learning from Others at Your Own Pace
Another wonderful aspect of technology integration is the fact that students learning is no longer limited to the teacher’s experiences. Nowadays, students can learn from MIT professors or experts on subjects from around the world. They need only reach out (with guidance) and follow their path at their pace. Unlike any other time in history, students can truly follow their passions as far as they desire.
Using Inquiry to Learn
All science education should be inquiry based to some degree. Technology integration supports such learning by allowing students to learn through experience as they tweak conditions in simulations, design and run experiments online or use tech-based data collecting in their own in-class experiments. Technology supports a number of various ways for students to both gather information about their world and to visualize that information as they work to draw conclusions.
The fact is that the list goes on and on. Students can utilize tutorials to gain better understandings of concepts, make connections and develop learning projects with partners around the world or simply track their own learning through the keeping of a blog. Technology has always played an important role in the teaching and learning of science and that connection is growing deeper every day.
Haury, D. L. (1993). Teaching Science Through Inquiry. ERIC CSMEE Digest (March Ed 359 048).
Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.