PDI-2: What is IT? Teaching Science with Information Technology—That’s IT! Research-Based Approaches for Improving Student Learning (Concord Consortium)
Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Location: Boston , MA— Boston Convention and Exhibition Center; Room 254A
Recommended Pathway Sessions
- How can Information Technology (IT) support scientific inquiry?
- How does IT make possible the use of flexible learning materials to reach all students?
- What are some strategies to integrating IT in the science classroom?
- What evidence is there that IT use leads to improved science instruction and increased student achievement?
Scientists investigate, explore, ask questions, analyze, and collaborate—students do all this and more with Information Technologies (IT). The Concord Consortium will share research-based strategies for including IT in the science classroom to support student learning—with approaches that range from moving physics first in the secondary science curriculum to science activities designed with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. Teachers, principals, professional development coaches, and other instructional leaders will explore a web-based authoring system that supports easy development or customization of probe and model-based activities; investigate the Molecular Workbench; and try out the scaffolding and cognitive rescaling behind our UDL-designed science activities.
Information technologies should be an integral part of science teaching. Better use of IT is urgently needed to give students exposure to technology, to reflect its essential role in modern science, and to provide flexibility for materials to meet the needs of all students. In recognition of the importance of IT, the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996) , the Benchmarks (AAAS, 1993) , and many state standards require the integration of technology into science education to facilitate student inquiry. Additionally, there is a particular urgency to developing Universal Design for Learning science materials now because the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) included provisions for a process that will result in a voluntary National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).
What is IT? is intended for anyone interested in incorporating IT in science classrooms. Participants will engage in inquiry-based activities using probes and models, and learn how to customize activities to meet the needs of their learners and align the activities with state and local standards and their curriculum. Participants will be provided with free web-based software, including the Molecular Workbench.
Bob Tinker and his colleagues at the Concord Consortium are nationally recognized in the use of probes and computational models in education. Bob Tinker created some of the earliest probeware-based products in the early 1980s. The Concord Consortium has been a leader in educational technology with its innovative work in online professional development, handheld computers and probeware, and molecular modeling since its founding in 1994. A sampling of current activities includes a Physics First project, hybrid professional development activities to train teachers in IT use, and the development of Universal Design for Learning science exemplars.
The Concord Consortium is supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and private foundations. What is IT? draws especially on three NSF-funded projects (ITEST grant number ESI 0624718; and two Instructional Materials Development grants, ESI 0628181 and ESI 0628242). The Concord Consortium is committed to digital equity—improving learning opportunities for all students.