Comparison of Technology Use Between Biology and Physics Teachers during a 1:1 Laptop Environment
From 2008-2012, the Australian Government implemented a $2.1 billion 1:1 laptop initiative referred to as the Digital Education Revolution (DER) across the entire country (Digital Education Advisory Group, 2013). the target of the DER was to make a 1:1 computer-to-student ratio for grades 9-12 altogether secondary schools within 5 years. In recent years a spread of research has been undertaken to review the DER (Crook & Sharma, 2013; Crook et al., 2015; Crook, Sharma, Wilson, & Muller, 2013; Dandolopartners, 2013; Howard & Mozejko, 2013). However, of the studies we found, none so far have examined the role of prescribed curriculum content within the uptake and integration of technology in school , nor have any incorporated the TPACK framework.
Across the state of latest South Wales (NSW), Australia, all senior students (Grades 11 and 12) within particular subjects follow an equivalent curriculum documents created and prescribed by the Board of Studies NSW (Board of Studies NSW, 2009b). These curriculum documents or syllabuses specify detailed content that ought to be taught, often recommending how the content should be taught and specifying what students should learn and do. At the top of Grade 12 all students sit for the statewide Higher School Certificate (HSC) external standardized examinations, which ultimately determine a student’s overall score and eligibility for admission into various university degree programs (Universities Admissions Centre, 2009). The curriculum documents specify the precise content that’s examined in these high-stakes examinations. Furthermore, the Board of Studies NSW provides standards packages for instance performance in several syllabus areas in relations to standards-based assessment (Board of Studies NSW, 2006).
This study focuses on seven high schools from the Catholic Education Office (CEO) Sydney, Southern Region, that were issued laptops for each Grade 9 student in 2008, as a part of the primary roll out of the DER. Consequently, this first cohort of scholars with 1:1 laptops graduated from Grade 12 in 2011 having sat for the external, standardized NSW HSC examinations. This study examines the 2011 Grade 12 physics and biology students and teachers from these seven schools to explore their integration of technology with the 1:1 laptops and uncover any notable differences.
A particular focus of our previous studies has been on the impact of the 1:1 laptop environment on teaching and learning within the sciences. These studies have targeting the practices of teachers and students and comparisons between them, the activities during which they engage in terms of upper and lower order thinking, and multiple correlation analyses to work out whether being schooled during a 1:1 laptop environment offered any advantage in external standardized examinations (Crook & Sharma, 2013; Crook et al., 2015; Crook et al., 2013). Having determined what happens to student attainment during a 1:1 laptop environment within the previous studies, this study determined to seek out out why.
Review of the Literature
Given the context of this study, we reviewed the literature around technology in teaching, particularly science teaching; 1:1 laptops in teaching, particularly science teaching; approaches to technology integration in science curricula; and TPACK.
Technology in Science Teaching
Technology has long been a neighborhood of science instruction, with science teachers often being considered innovators and leaders within the use of technology over many decades (McCrory, 2006). in additional recent times the technologies utilized in science teaching are specifically digital technologies, be they online resources, software, or physical computers and devices.
Some of the newest practices and research in teaching science are round the use of tablets (such as iPads®; Miller, Krockover, & Doughty, 2013; Wilson, Goodman, Bradbury, & Gross, 2013). the utilization of technology within the classroom or laboratory has been shown to extend motivation and learning and offer new opportunities through various simulations (Khan, 2010; Quellmalz, Timms, Silberglitt, & Buckley, 2012; Wieman, Adams, & Perkins, 2008), and science software (Baggott la Velle, Wishart, McFarlane, Brawn, & John, 2007; Zheng, Warschauer, Hwang, & Collins, 2014). Similarly, students who are confident with basic information and technology (ICT) tasks are found to possess higher scientific literacy (Luu & Freeman, 2011).
Of course, nobody is suggesting that science teaching should be conducted through technology alone. the simplest learning outcomes are obtained through a mixture of real and virtual experiences (Olympiou & Zacharia, 2012), and evidence-based effective teaching practices should be followed (Bryan, 2006). New tools also are evolving which may change the landscape of science teaching, like people who can automatically score students work, offering personalized guidance in science inquiry (Linn et al., 2014) and effecting instructional quality through their mediation of research-proven practices and classroom instruction (Weston & Bain, 2014).
To understand the role of technology in science attainment, researchers have examined ICT access and use in reference to international attainments in scientific literacy, as assessed by PISA (e Silva, 2014; Luu & Freeman, 2011). After controlling for demographic characteristics, use of technology was found to possess a modest but consistently positive impact upon scientific literacy. However, Luu and Freeman (2011) acknowledged that the ways during which students use computers in schools may have a stronger effect than how often computers are accessed, and e Silva (2014) said, “What we loose [sic] in these huge statistical studies is that the detail. we’d like now to understand what works and what doesn’t add each situation” (p. 6).
However, the detail in implementation of innovative technology tools by science teachers is extremely much hooked in to their personal beliefs, motivations, and contexts regarding technology and science teaching as an entire (Kim, Hannafin, & Bryan, 2007; Stylianidou, Boohan, & Ogborn, 2005). In technologically enhanced environments, student-centered approaches are demonstrated to be simpler than teacher-guided approaches (Hsu, 2008) and to facilitate significantly higher emotional engagement within the students (Wu & Huang, 2007).
A variety of literature exists specifically round the use of 1:1 laptops in science teaching. Within a secondary school context, Yerrick and Johnson (2009) found that by inserting laptops and science technology tools within the classrooms of motivated science teachers, students found their teachers to be simpler , and therefore the teachers themselves also reported renewed vigor in their teaching with improved scores on students’ attainment.
In another secondary school context, Berry and Wintle (2009) noted that students learning science with 1:1 laptops experienced increased engagement, comprehension, and retention of learning. albeit learning required more effort than traditional methods, it had been more fun.
Zucker and Hug (2007, 2008) provided samples of ways 1:1 laptops are often used effectively to show and learn highschool physics at the Denver School of Science and Technology. They found that the physics teachers there made use of the various affordances of the digital technology, providing their students with high-quality tools to explore scientific concepts. Again during a secondary school context, a quantitative chemical analysis by Dunleavy and Heinecke (2008) showed significant positive effects of 1:1 laptop instruction on student achievement in science.
Along with our previous work, this study will provide some much-needed research documenting and analyzing the utilization of 1:1 laptops in senior high school school science beyond secondary school . Our aim is to spot practices that are reported in classrooms where 1:1 laptop use is positively related to higher attainment.
Technology in Science Curricula
An important a part of this study is that the embedding (or lack thereof) of technology within the recommended and mandatory activities in science curricula. Hennessy et al. (2007) highlighted that existing pedagogical approaches and thinking are limited by “the systemic subject culture of secondary science which imposes tight curriculum time constraints” (p. 147). during a similar contemporary vein, teachers have expressed concerns about the limited connections between curricula and game-based learning (Sadler, Romine, Stuart, & Merle-Johnson, 2013). Others have noted that the success of integrating new technology into education varies from curriculum to curriculum (Becta, 2003; Bingimlas, 2009).
Braund and Reiss (2006) argued that to make a more authentic science curriculum requires learning both in and out of faculty , particularly capitalizing on virtual worlds through information technologies. during a recent study, 48 preservice science teachers were asked, “What does technology integration mean to you?” (Green, Chassereau, Kennedy, & Schriver, 2013, p. 397). The common misconception that emerged was that a lot of teachers see technology integration as a tool in itself but don’t see how that tool can enhance the curriculum; that’s , some teachers use technology for the sake of using technology instead of understanding how it can improve teaching and learning.
The Board of Studies NSW prescribes syllabuses to be followed by all students within every subject. The syllabuses not only recommend and mandate activities that teachers should employ, including the mixing of technology, but also specify what students should learn and, oftentimes, how they ought to learn it (Board of Studies NSW, 2009b). More recently, in preparation for the new Australian Curriculum, the national Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA, 2011b) has prepared curriculum documents for K-10 specifying the mixing of technology in every subject through the ICT General Capability. In NSW, the Board of Studies has adapted the ACARA material to make syllabuses for each subject, K-10, again including the ICT General Capability (Board of Studies NSW, 2012). However, within the interim and at the time of this study for Grades 11 and 12, in NSW students will still follow the Board of Studies NSW HSC syllabuses (Board of Studies NSW, 2009b).
Within this context of specific and detailed curricula, our study examines classroom practice with 1:1 laptops. to research the complexities involved we drew on the TPACK theoretical framework so as to look at the various aspects of classroom practice reported by students and teachers.