Essential Conditions


Modeling Best Practices with Children 

The tools included with Apple's Mobile Curriculum Laboratories can be used at school sites for teaching children in innovative and meaningful ways. The Mobile Curriculum Lab can also be used on site for teacher education, as novice teachers simultaneously learn about children's thinking and the technology available to support best practices. In this video, children are introduced to the mobility of the MacBook and the USB digital microscope. At this particular school site, professors have been utilizing a portable classroom for over a year prior to the insertion of these new tools. This video captures the true excitement of children learning that science is not only taught indoors. At the same time, preservice science teachers are learning about children's thinking as they observe their methods instructor engaging children in science that interests them so much that the children' forfeit their lunch and recess to come and join in.

Engaging Teachers as Learners 

A barrier to teachers' desires to engage students in inquiry-oriented activities is the lack of their own experiences learning using the scientific method. To combat this, preservice teachers are given opportunities to learn content in inquiry-oriented ways...even while learning history and social studies methods. Educational technology courses provide preservice teachers with multiple opportunities to experience content-focused, inquiry-oriented learning. In this movie teachers are using the Valley of the Shadow Civil War archive [] to explore the lives of the Garbers, a family living in Augusta County, Virginia. Letters, diaries, census records, military records, and other artifacts are analyzed, and Inspiration [] is used as an organizing tool to move teachers from their original questions to answers.

To see the Web Inquiry Project (WIP) this activity is based upon please click here [].

Planning For Success - Evaluating Performance

Preparing preservice science and mathematics teachers to teach with new tools and with new pedagogies focused on inquiry learning requires an environment where exploration of ideas as well as teaching is valued. Essential conditions need to be established: the value of children's thinking, openness to alternative teaching strategies, and a willingness to seek and accept constructive criticism. In this example, students have used iMovie to edit a final report of their lesson for their peers. This 2 minute excerpt from their iMovie demonstrates how their thinking about teaching science was impacted by using technology and constructivist approaches for teaching.

To learn more about establishing these essential conditions for changing preservice science teachers' practices, see the learning cycle described in the Exchanges Journal at the link below.