ISTE Standard I states that teachers facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity when using technology in the classroom. This standard made me wonder how I can use technology in science related lessons with fourth grade students.
Science lessons should include active learning opportunities for students to apply what they are learning. Technology can be involved in the practice stage of application or when students are ready to showcase their new knowledge. Project-based learning is one method for teachers to engage students and increase creativity (Dougherty, 2015). An advantage of project-based learning is that it helps students learn and retain information long term (2015). To accomplish ISTE Standard I, teachers should combine technology with project-based learning. One example of integrating technology and project-based learning is digital storytelling. Sadik explains that when students produce videos about their knowledge and comprehension of a topic, the video creation process is a prime opportunity for students to collect, organize, reflect, and communicate what they have learned (2008). A key element of digital storytelling is to involve students in the process as active participants (2008).
Is digital storytelling an effective way to incorporate technology in all subjects? Would it translate to science lessons? Students in Barney Peterson’s fourth grade class created videos after a yearlong physical science project learning about the design and construction of their environmentally friendly school (2015). Students were actively involved in researching construction and building systems, as well as engaged in the task of creating video content about what they had learned. Peterson found the unit very effective and specifies that other teachers were impressed by students’ knowledge when they described the materials and functions of the building system (2015). The videos were also assigned URLs so they could be QR tagged to share with an audience outside of class.
Peterson’s project is a great way to integrate technology while facilitating learning and creativity. Teachers can follow Peterson’s model to plan similar projects. Another example of a yearlong video science project could involve students learning about how plants change throughout year. Each month students would take pictures of plants, trees, and flowers around their school or home. Groups could be assigned based on if students preferred learning about trees, flowers, or plants. During the school year groups would research why and how the plants change each season. Near the end of the school year, students would create video projects explaining what they learned while incorporating their pictures and research.
Integrating QR tags in various lessons and activities is another option for teachers. Grantham suggests five ways for teachers to apply QR tags in education, including replacing standard classroom posters with special QR tagged copies (2012).
Figure 1 on the right is an example of how QR tags support student learning. In this example, a QR tag replaces the information usually provided on a visual representation of the periodic table. When students scan an element on this poster, a linked YouTube video begins to play which describes the details of the element. Students are actively engaged with QR tagged pictures and posters around the classroom because they make decisions about which pictures they are most interested in before moving to the next poster.
Student produced videos and using QR tags each have a few requirements. Making videos requires access to a computer and video creation software. Internet access is needed if students are completing any research online. Cameras or tablets with picture taking ability might be also be necessary. When using QR tags, students will need access to a tablet and an Internet connection to watch videos.
Whether teachers decide to assign students create a video, utilize QR tagging as part of lessons, or any other technology during activities, student responsiveness and feedback should be observed. The goal of integrating technology in lessons is to promote student learning and motivate them to investigate their interests.
Dougherty, K. (August 6 2015). Is passive learning unethical? The science of teaching science. Retrieved from http://blog.iat.com/2015/08/06/is-passive-learning-unethical/
Grantham, N. (February 20, 2012). 5 real ways to use QR codes in education. Retrieved from http://www.fractuslearning.com/2012/02/20/qr-codes-in-education/
Peterson, B. (2015). A system of systems. Science & Children, 52(5), 75-81. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.spu.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=25&sid=a1c881b4-6b39-473c-9d44 d18815359567%40sessionmgr198&hid=101&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=eft&AN=100092448
Sadik, A. (2008). Digital storytelling: a meaningful technology-integrated approach for engaged student learning. Education Technology Research and Development, 56, 487-506. doi: 10.1007/s11423-0008-9091-8