Transforming Knowledge and Learning through Technologies and Modalities: Teacher's Perceptions of Pedagogy and the New Life Sciences

Year: 2008

Author: Bergen, Penny Van, Freebody, Peter

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Notwithstanding the increasingly rapid emergence of New Life Sciences as a meta-discipline, teachers' understandings of their own pedagogy in relation to the New Life Sciences have not yet been explored. Using an un-timed, semi-structured interview style, we interviewed 12 Senior Biology teachers about the nature and importance of the most recent unit studied in class and of Biology overall, about their pedagogical approach to that unit and to Biology overall, and about other factors that might influence their teaching. The most recent unit studied differed between teachers. Quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed variations in teachers' focus on New Life Science content and their use of digital technologies to represent New Life Science and other content, with much variation based upon teacher age, school resources, and individual differences. Furthermore, all teachers who had begun to teach New Life Science content in the classroom reported a lack of confidence in their knowledge of the material. These findings serve as a basis for future efforts to enhance multimodal teaching and learning of the New Life Sciences.