Tech Talk

I was wondering how other teachers implement technology in the classroom? I think that simulations have the ability to encourage student inquiry, but often their presence seems to distract students from the learning. What are your thoughts?
—K., Wisconsin

There are many different kinds of technology in addition to laptops and tablets. Smartphone apps, sensors, meters, and cameras can have great impact on learning. Spreadsheet programs, video-editing, photo-manipulation, and desktop publishing all have a place in the science classroom. The big thing to remember is that it is not the technology that is important but how you use it in science education.

When using any technology there has to be a purpose. With simulations, I also planned a debriefing and a review assignment. Make sure you know what you want the students to learn from the simulation.

I have used technology many ways, including:

  • graphing lab data using spreadsheets;
  • video analysis of moving objects using cell phones;
  • measuring the heat of flames, beakers and boiling water using infrared thermometers;
  • using electronic probes to measure distance, velocity, temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide, light, magnetic fields, and more;
  • photographing specimens through a microscope or telescope;
  • scripting, filming and editing public service announcements, mini-documentaries or science shows;
  • creating websites and wikis to highlight and discuss issues;
  • creating brochures, pamphlets and posters;
  • programming microprocessors such as Arduino technology to use various electronic sensors ; and
  • video conferencing with scientists.

Hope this helps!


Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

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