Digital literacy meets Science

DIGITAL-LITERACY.jpgMy experience of learning science has been mostly composed of lectures from the teachers and some labs that helped me understand and see how the theories in science actually made sense in the real world. Labs were not possible, and in-class activities were not an option when the teachers did not have appropriate materials. But with the advent of new technologies, our classrooms started to change. Teachers started to incorporate more and more digital technologies to facilitate students’ learning. Digital literacy, defined as the awareness, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools and facilities to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and synthesize digital resources to construct new knowledge, has become a very crucial component as new technologies are developed.

909337964_orig.jpgDuring the TiUA program in Buffalo, my mentor teacher led an experiment using a computer software that simulated various experiments, which allowed students to perform the experiments and collect the data digitally. The teacher played videos that explained science concepts from a website, and students were able to watch them repeatedly until they understood the concept. Students were quizzing each other with a computer software on the periodic table. I was amazed at the potential and endless opportunities this could be used to facilitate the learning of science. I then started to wonder what are the benefits of incorporating digital literacy into a science classroom, and how it should be done to maximize students’ learning of science.

In my inquiry of utilizing digital literacy in a science classroom, these are some of the questions that I would like to research:

  1. What is digital literacy?
  2. How does digital literacy facilitate students’ learning of science?
  3. What are useful pedagogies that can be used by the teacher to teach digital literacy?
  4. How should a teacher utilize digital literacy in a secondary classroom?

As a future science educator who would be teaching the generation of “digital natives”, I hope this research would give great insights into how we can change our classrooms to best meet their needs.

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7 thoughts on “Digital literacy meets Science

  1. David, your experience learning science with very little advanced technology made me look back on my own school experiences. I realized that, while many of my classes did try to utilize our technology, it was used the least in my math and science classes. We did, however start to use simulations in my last two years and they could be very helpful in understanding concepts. As you research digital literacy in a science classroom, do you think that the future of science classrooms is going to shift from labs to online simulations, or does literature suggest a balanced use of both?

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    1. The literature I’ve found so far have been advocating using more digitalized instructions in a science classroom, it did not quite talk about having a balanced use of both. However, I think labs provide necessary and practical skills students would be using in their later studies. I believe that a balanced use is recommended so that students don’t miss other valuable learning opportunities.

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  2. I love learning about the different innovated ideas that teachers have for technology in the classroom. I’ll be curious to see what you learn regarding technology in various secondary classrooms especially. What do you think some of the drawbacks will be in a technology based classroom? I know there are times I wish teachers would give up on the struggling projector and just write on a blackboard. What are ways teachers can prepare to avoid common technological problems during class?

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    1. Some of the drawbacks would be making students focused on the theories too much without helping students learn necessary skills in science. In order to have a successful lesson with many technologies, I believe rehearsals before the actual lessons are important to prevent common problems. Giving clear instructions to students would also be crucial to making​ sure all students can follow.

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  3. David, as i read your blog, it reminds me a lot of my science classes when I was in secondary level. It is interesting for me that you already have experienced a digital setting in a classroom through the TiUA program. I figured it out for myself that using digital technology in a classroom must be very helpful because of providing video lectures visually and verbally and having self evaluation by a quiz online. And I was wondering, have you seen any students who have a hard time using technology? What about teachers ? Are they having a hard time to asses students on what they have learned and what they keep failing to understand?
    Because it seems like there are not many chances for teachers to have interactions with his/her students.

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    1. A lot of difficulties associated with using technologies in a classroom have to do with unclear instructions and student’s familiarity with the device. Providing clear instructions and time for students to learn how to use the devices would be necessary before using those technologies. Teachers can ask students for their feedback as to what kinds of difficulties they are experiencing and help them accordingly.

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  4. oh. my. word, David. You are going to stretch me and teach me so much on the blog. Thank you for exploring this topic. I am eager to learn beside you here throughout this semester :).

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