Usage of computer-based technology by Science teachers in Victorian schools

Year: 2001

Author: Ng, Wan, Gunstone, Richard

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
Pressures from various sectors of society have seen computers made a big presence in Victorian schools in the last 10 years. Integrating Learning Technology (LT) into all Key Learning Areas of every school’s curriculum has been a priority school policy under both the previous Victorian government and the current government. Over the last 5-10 years, large amounts of money have been provided to set schools up with computers and associated technologies. In the area of science, a range of LT resources is available for use in the teaching and learning processes in the classroom. However, there has been little evaluation of the types and methodology of usage and the effectiveness of these resources in the process of knowledge construction in students studying science. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, this exploratory study has been aimed at identifying where science teachers are currently at with the use of computer-based technologies in their teaching. The study investigated science teachers’ attitudes towards the use of computer-based technologies in their teaching; the types and availability of computer-based resources for use in the teaching of science in their schools; those resources that they have found to be effective pedagogical tools in helping students learn science; and the kinds of professional development that they would like to undertake with regards to using computer-based technologies in their classes.

The study shows that most teachers have embraced the introduction of these technologies into the school structure rather well and are generally positive about the potential of the technologies for science teaching and learning. However the use of these technologies in classroom teaching is patchy across and within schools, and often on an ad hoc basis. A range of obstacles preventing the use of these technologies are identified and discussed in this paper.

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