Module 5 – Hardware and Software – Science

“Technology supports science and science makes new technology possible” (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 334). Working from this premise, every conceivable hardware and software technology can play a role in the science classroom and laboratory. This blog, however, addresses a number of scientific-specific hardware and software issues.

Roblyer & Doering (pp.345-350) describe a range of strategies for science and engineering. Scientific inquiry and investigations using authentic online resources and projects are discussed as strategies to engage students and develop an appreciation for the scientific process; three such projects indicated are GLOBE, Project FeederWatch and Journey North. Another approach discussed is the use of robotics to engage students about engineering; robotics camps and competitions are sponsored by companies, universities and professional organisations. Robotics classes and events are very popular with Chinese students. Roblyer & Doering (p.344) note that hands-on-minds-on science remains a major instructional strategy but also note conflicting evidence regarding the merits thereof versus virtual, simulated experiments (Arkpan & Strayer, 2010) and the need for more research into the question. There is a role for virtual, simulated experiments in the science classroom but I agree with the National Science Teachers Association (2007) and the American Chemical Society (2008), both cited in Roblyer & Doering (pp.344-345) that authentic science learning requires experience “doing” hands-on science in laboratories. Hands-on, working scientifically skills are also included in Stage 6 science learning outcomes (BoS, 2013).

I note that concept of technology in the science laboratory is not limited to information and communication hardware and software. Roblyer & Doering mention data loggers, calculator based laboratories and robotics but there is a wide range analytical equipment that can be used in the science laboratory: e.g. pH meters, electrical measurement devices, chromatographs and spectrometers. These devices can be used to support open-ended projects such as monitoring environmental variables and contribute to science as a rich and varied learning experience.

References:

Board of Studies New South Wales. (2013). Chemistry Stage 6 Syllabus: October 2002. Retrieved, May 25, 2016 from http://boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_hsc/pdf_doc/chemistry-st6-syl.pdf

Roblyer, M., & Doering, A.H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching: Sixth Edition. Essex, UK: Pearson Education.

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Author: simonromijn

Science Teacher

2 thoughts on “Module 5 – Hardware and Software – Science”

  1. Hi Simon,
    I agree with you that you need authentic skills and experiments that aren’t perfect to learn in science. How do you really learn about pipetting error without the feel of one in your hand? How do you learn to measure out tiny amounts of reagent without learning how to control the muscles of your arm?
    In reading about all the hardware you listed, the concept of Makerspaces came to mind, a term that I only learned this week. The NMC Horizon Report (Adams Becker, Freeman, Giesinger Hall, Cummins & Yuhnke, 2016) lists Makerspaces as one of the important developments to be adopted in the next few years and it has been touted as applicable in STEM subjects amongst others (Kanter & Honey, 2013).

    References
    Adams Becker, S., Freeman, A., Giesinger Hall, C., Cummins, M., and Yuhnke, B. (2016). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2016-nmc-cosn-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf
    Kanter, D. E., & Honey, M. (2013). Design, Make, Play. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/detail.action?docID=1154290

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  2. Hi Simon
    I enjoyed reading your blog, as Science is also one of my teaching areas. I recently finished my first professional experience placement where I had the opportunity to observe a year 8 robotics class in action over a period of six weeks which was an eye opener in terms of how students used various materials to construct a machine that could pick up and throw a ball. The project was a learning experience for everyone involved and the task had various levels of team work exercises which involved the use of hardware, such as the interactive whiteboard and the components that made up the machine and software technologies, such as students completing a plan of action for building the machine.
    All the best.
    Regards,
    Marian Haddad

    Like

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