1 University of Ontario Institute of Technology (CANADA)
2 York University (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 4213-4220
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Stories, as fictional and non-fictional narratives, have significant educational value in all disciplines including science. However, it is more common for science students to spend large amounts of time learning from factual text contained in textbooks and Internet websites. In today’s world, forms of text, as well as the modes and media used to convey them, are crucial aspect of knowledge construction, making the mode of representation integral to learning more generally. It follows, then, that in the multimodal environment of today’s classroom it is essential to explore the ways in which forms of text may be represented (Jewitt, 2008). One form of literacy , ”digital literacy” has been is an umbrella framework for a number of integrated sub-disciplines or “literacies” – comprised of skills, knowledge, and creative outputs in the digital network environment (Calvani, Cartelli, Fini, & Ranieri, 2008). One such literacy, called “computer literacy” in the 1960s, has evolved into information and communication technology literacy, or, “ICT literacy” (Martin & Grudziecki, 2006). A challenge for today’s educators is to utilize ICT literacies in ways that facilitate the highest level of learning possible. There are several issues that may arise when implementing ICT in the classroom, including choices about which one(s) to use; how effective the choices are in promoting learning; and the role of digital literacies in shifting learning from a teacher-focused paradigm to a student-focused one (Cox, 2008). The study discussed here involves the development of digital competencies among teacher candidates (TCs) as they explored the integration of ICT in several assignments of their science teacher methods course (assignments involving preparation and presentation of a digital biology timeline and a biology resources website). Research questions included: 1. How does the integration of digital literacies affect TCs’ learning? 2. To what extent do digital literacies enhance TCs’ motivation to learn and engage in learning? 3. What are some benefits and challenges of integrating digital literacies in a science methods course? 4. How does integrating digital literacies impact TCs’ ICT skills? Participants in this study were 16 TCs enrolled in an Intermediate-Senior Biology methods course in a large Canadian university. All participants completed a questionnaire on their views of, and experiences with, ICT in education, and questionnaires reflecting on the preparation and presentation of a digital biology timeline and a biology resources website. Additionally, 7-9 participants were interviewed about their views of the role of digital literacies in science education. Results indicate that TCs were more engaged in their learning of biology (especially historical and socio-cultural aspects) through the preparation and presentation of their digital biology timelines and biology resources websites. Data also indicated that TCs greatly improved their ICT skills, especially those involving use of applications facilitating the creation of stories in the form of digital timelines and the creation of multimedia websites. Challenges included finding time to learn how to use new software and troubleshoot technical problems that arose, finding ways to represent timeline and website content in (what they believed was) the most pedagogically appropriate and meaningful ways possible (given software limitations and limitations of their own ICT skills).
Digital stories, ICT skills, science teacher preparation.