Integrating digital technologies into the contemporary science classroom
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Education / Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies
Digital educational technologies and ICT have been widely reported as central to innovations in science education. The Australian Government’s School Science Education action plan has recommended as a priority that pedagogy should enable students to learn science by ‘seeking understanding from multiple sources of information, ranging from hands-on investigation to internet searching’ (Goodrum and Rennie, Australian school science education: National Action Plan 2008–2012: Vol. 1. The National Action Plan. Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Canberra, p 14, 2007). Interactive whiteboard (IWB) technology has been embraced in Australia and internationally as an educational tool that enables the convergence of a diverse range of ICT sources and multimodal representations into daily classroom practice. The technology enables students and teachers to interact with all the functions of a desktop computer through the IWB’s large touch-sensitive surface, fixed at the front of the classroom (Murcia, Teach Sci 54(4):17–21, 2008; Betcher and Lee, The interactive whiteboard revolution. ACER Press, Camberwell, 2009). However, to enhance the effectiveness of classroom science, educators must move beyond understanding the technology itself, important as this is, to understanding the impact of the technology on teachers’ pedagogy and students learning (Higgins et al., Learning, Media and Technology, 32(3), 213–225, 2007). A series of case studies conducted in Australian science classrooms, which explored the impact of IWB technology on learning and teaching, are discussed in this chapter. Classroom-based examples of effective interactive digital pedagogy are reported here with the aim of supporting educators moving to or working in contemporary IWB learning environments.