CLOUD TECHNOLOGIES AS MEANS FOR PROMOTING SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVISM IN SCIENCE TEACHER EDUCATION COURSES
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (ISRAEL)
Changes in the labor market have shifted the requirements of many jobs from the acquisition of structured knowledge to the mastery of tools and learning skills often referred to as 21st century skills (Griffin, McGaw & Care, 2012; Pellegrino & Hilton, 2012). While looking at our changing world, it seems that teachers nowadays have an almost impossible task – to prepare students to become contributing citizens and workers in a world that does not yet exist and cannot yet be clearly defined. That is why an emphasis on what students can do with knowledge, rather than how many learning units they acquire, should become an important aspect of contemporary education (Barak 2014; Griffin et al., 2012). This line of thought coincides with the social constructivism approach, which maintains that learning is a social act, derived from communication with meaningful others (Atwater 1996).
Social constructivism is a cognitive development theory, maintaining that for meaningful learning, learners should be actively engaged in large or small heterogeneous groups (Palincsar 1998). Although learning is an individual process, it is strongly dependent upon social experiences which occur through communication, negotiation, and collaboration with others. In this study, an exploratory mixed methods research was set to identify attributes for learning and teaching in the 21st century and to develop a social constructivist framework for promoting thoughtful usage of cloud technologies. The study was conducted among teacher educators (N=32) and science teacher trainees (N=106).
Data collected via online questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and written reflections, indicated four attributes for teaching and learning in the 21st century:
a. Adapting to frequent changes and uncertain situations,
b. Collaborating and communicating in decentralized environments,
c. Generating data and managing information,
d. Releasing control and encouraging exploration.
Corresponding with the four teaching and learning attributes and the social constructivism theory, this paper suggests a pedagogical framework for promoting the use of cloud technologies in science teacher courses.