27 SES 04 B, Digital Technologies in the Classroom
Worldwide initiatives on establishing science teaching practices towards scientific literacy reflected on the Portuguese curricula in the early 21st century. In 2001, the Portuguese Ministry of Education launched a reformed curriculum for compulsory education, which then began at age 6 spanning to age 15 (ME-DEB, 2001). This official curriculum proposed one integrated subject in which Physical and Natural Sciences should be taught in an interdisciplinary approach. Also, it explicitly appealed to the development of students’ scientific literacy and proposed that the contents to be taught were organized in such a way that they should be able to illustrate Science, Technology, Society and Environment relations and promote their study. The official curriculum had initiated its way in stimulating a Science-Technology-Society (STS) orientation in teaching practices.
STS science teaching has been characterized as an innovation in science curricula towards scientific literacy giving priority to the development of skills, attitudes and values that enable students to address the impact of Science and Technology in Society and vice-versa (Acevedo-Romero & Acevedo-Díaz, 2003). The goal is to stimulate the education of responsible citizens that are able to take reasoned and democratic decisions about social issues that involve Science and Technology. Thus, it is recommended that teaching practices include the analysis of problems and issues that students face in their everyday lives focusing on relations between Science, Technology and Society and applying diverse strategies and resources
But, in fact, there is still a scarce presence of STS education in the teaching practices of primary school Portuguese teachers, which has been explained mainly by the lack of appropriate teaching resources and insufficient initial and in-service teachers’ education courses explicitly based on this educational perspective (Caamaño & Martins, 2005; Vieira, Tenreiro-Vieira & Martins, 2011). Some studies have also suggested that inadequate views on STS inter-relations among teachers are an impediment to the creating a context of real STS oriented science teaching (Cachapuz, Gil-Pérez, Carvalho, Praia and Vilches 2005).
Another innovation in science teaching emerged from national projects that were implemented to give priority to investment in ICT equipment for schools, particularly computers and interactive whiteboards. But these investments were accompanied by a misleading idea that innovative practices of science teaching involved only the use of ICT with no regard for educational guidelines, for example, concerning science teaching in a constructivist environment (idem, 2005). Many new and appealing teaching resources have been and are still now being produced. But few of them take into consideration recommendations from literature about science education for effective learning and scientific literacy (idem, 2005) such as those arising from STS education and other context-based approaches and inquiry-based science teaching (Bennett, Lubben, & Hogarth, 2007; Lavonen, 2008). So, several studies still recognize a lack of resources that use ICT in STS science teaching, particularly in compulsory school years, mainly due to the need of supporting documents for the use of ICT resources in a justified manner in science education (Acevedo-Romero & Acevedo-Díaz, 2003; Bennet, Lubben & Hogarth, 2007; Membiela, 2001).
Therefore a project was conducted with the goal of promoting STS oriented teaching practices through the development of an innovative teaching resource – a courseware - and the monitoring of its implementation by primary school teachers.
This paper presents an integrated set of tasks within a research process focusing on activities included in the courseware, on a teachers’ education course that was developed and implemented with a group of primary teachers and a case study that was designed and developed to study the contributions of the courseware and the teachers’ education course to the implementation of STS oriented teaching practices in primary school.
Acevedo-Romero, P. & Acevedo-Díaz, J. A. (2003). Proyectos e materiales curriculares para la educación CTS: enfoques, estructuras, contenidos y ejemplos. Sala de lecturas CTS+I de la Organización de Estados Iberoamericanos para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura. Retrieved from http://www.campus-oei.org/salactsi/acevedo19.htm in December, 7th, 2012. Aikenhead, G. S., Ryan, A. G. & Fleming, R. W. (1989). Views on Science-Technology-Society ©Form Cdn.Mc.5. Retrieved from http://www.usask.ca/education/people/aikenhead/vosts.pdf in December, 7th, 2012. Bennett, J., Lubben, F. & Hogarth, S. (2007). Bringing Science to Life: A Synthesis of the Research Evidence on the Effects of Context-Based and STS Approaches to Science Teaching. Science Education, 91 (3), 347-370. Caamaño, A. & Martins, I. P. (2005). Repensar los modelos de innovación curricular, investigación didática y formación del profesorado para mejorar la enseñanza de las ciencias en las aulas desde una perspetiva CTS. In P. Membiela & Y. Padilla (Eds.), Retos y perspetivas de la enseñanza de las ciencias desde el enfoque Ciencia-Tecnología-Sociedad en los inicios del siglo XXI (pp. 49-56). Vigo, Spain: Educación Editora. Cachapuz, D. Gil-Perez, A. M. P. Carvalho, J. Praia & A. Vilches (Eds., 2005), A necessária renovação do ensino das ciências. São Paulo, Brasil: Cortez Editora. Canavarro, J. M. (1996). Perspectivas acerca da Ciência, Tecnologia e Sociedade: adaptação portuguesa do VOSTS (versão abreviada). Coimbra, Portugal: University of Coimbra. Lavonen, J. (2008). Learning and the use of ICT in Science Education. In Demkanin, P., Kibble, B., Lavonen, J., Mas, J. G., Turlo, J. (Eds.). Effective use of ICT in Science Education (pp. 6-28). European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture. ME-DEB. (2001). Currículo Nacional do Ensino Básico - competências essenciais. Lisbon, Portugal: Ministry of Education – Department of Basic Education. Membiela, P. (2001). Una revisión del movimiento CTS en la enseñanza de las ciencias. In P. Membiela (Ed.), Enseñanza de las ciencias desde la perspectiva Ciencia-Tecnología-Sociedad - Formación científica para la ciudadanía (pp. 91-103). Madrid, Spain: Narcea. Vieira, R. M. (2003). Formação Continuada de Professores do 1º e 2º Ciclos do Ensino Básico Para uma Educação em Ciências com Orientação CTS/PC. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal. Vieira, R. M., Tenreiro-Vieira, C. & Martins, I. P. (2011). A educação em Ciências com orientação CTS. Porto, Portugal: Areal Editores.
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