CIESE and partners are developing and provide access to a variety of instructional materials including both curriculum and technology-rich support tools for STEM (science and math) education. There is a wealth of information available regarding various programs and collaborative activities between the center and other educational institutions.
Type of Material:
Information such as real world learning objects (RWLOs) and support tools appropriate for science education community building and professional development, internet connections to other related information.
These materials are highly recommended for technology-rich teacher education experiences in math and science. It is targeted for the instructor rather than the student. Some of the collaborative projects and funded programs provide materials a teacher can use to design activities that students can explore with the teacher's guidance.
A computer with Internet capabilities and for the tutorial sound capabilities.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To provide a source of professional development for teachers regarding the use of technology to create quality math and science instructional strategies.
To inform users of programs, grants, and web sites that provide guidance in using technology for math and science instruction. Collaborative projects are funded by large grants and are ongoing and these include projects supported by a Federal PT3 Grant Program (Preparing Tomorrows Teachers to Use Technology), which encourages the discovery and implementation of alternative teacher development paths and improved teaching through use of technology.
To improve all grade levels math and science education by incorporating computer technology into instructional strategies.
To provide a clearinghouse of technology related educational tools.
To promote constructivism and inquiry based learning in the classroom by linking learning experiences to technology based strategies.
Create collaborative efforts to enhance understanding and use of technology in math and science classrooms.
Target Student Population:
The information, guidance, and skill development is targeted to k-12 and higher education faculty. The goal is for teachers to change and enhance classroom instruction through collaborative efforts. The grade levels vary from K-12 science and math, science and math teacher education (including community college preparation) and undergraduate education but are identified for each resource.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
A general understanding of computers, word processing, the internet and web searches are advisable. There are, however, several tutorials offered that instruct individuals in the use of technology including discussion board and web page production.
Evaluation and Observation
An excellent collection of information and links to very useful instruction. Since k -12 schools are now being fitted with technology infrastructure, it is important to help science teachers become aware of how technology can transform the science and math education learning environment. These materials provide strong examples of a radically different approach to science education with math incorporated. Many useful classroom projects are available. Some of these use live data while others can be incorporated into any curriculum. All projects incorporate national standards into their objectives. There is something here for any teacher and any grade level. Several downloads are also available through links to appropriate sites. The k -12 collaborative projects and real-time data projects should be included as an experience for every teacher in a professional development program.
The projects provide a unique approach to science and math content through the processes of investigation. Because each project is independent in function it remains up to faculty to integrate the projects into an over-all coherent flow of instruction within a context of clearly defined long-range goals. Some of the ongoing funded projects are limited to specific regions and organizations. Although much of the information can be used by any individual, the specifics are focused on the targeted groups.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The collaborative approach to science education matches the expectations for our modern workforce. Many of the projects offer instructional techniques that incorporate the learning cycle, inquiry and constructivist techniques. The techniques learned through professional development and online courses assist the teacher in the installation of learning strategies and activities that could be expected to promote auth
entic and meaningful learning by the student. Many of the collaborative projects use real time data that provides experience for the student in analysis and decision-making. Each project links objectives to national standards and provides clear concise expectations for the experiential learning. For the average classroom instructor, there are numerous opportunities to enhance an already existing knowledge base as well as guided instruction for the novice. Through guided instruction offered in the instructional programs the collaborative programs can be introduced into any existing curriculum.
Because the material is collaborative, individual accountability might be a problem. In most cases, it remains up to faculty to decide what specific outcomes should be assessed and how. For example, engagement in academic discussions about data is clearly important, but it is not clear how a teacher would let individual students know how they are doing and how to improve. The instructor must create the opportunity to incorporate the strategies, although plenty of guidance is available for that purpose. Less guidance is provided for the assessment component.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is well designed with easy to read and use menus. Links are explained in easy to read format. The site is kept current and the links are all functional. Many embedded links provide multiple opportunities to enhance content knowledge. The scheduling of collaborative project runs with start and end dates that fall within a semester and range from 1-3 months in duration - a timing that can fit within the quarter or semester schedule of colleges where teachers are educated. Tutorials that illustrate how a teacher can set up and run a public discussion and handle shared files are clear and quite easy to use.
The navigation structure and variety of components to this collection are quite complex, but the links are very well constructed and user friendly - as long as one remembers to bookmark the material of interest.
Other Issues and Comments:
Educators are fortunate to have this opportunity to gain valuable information regarding coordination of technology and inquiry based instruction. We have watched as material is added and CIESE continues to develop over the years. Faculty who educate the next generation of teachers appreciate that such cutting edge developments are made public. Thank you for the many links to excellent instructional techniques, primary data, collaborative environments, and reference material.