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Using IT in Science Education Seminar for the UNIFY project Tim Brosnan Institute of Education University of London.

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Presentation on theme: "Using IT in Science Education Seminar for the UNIFY project Tim Brosnan Institute of Education University of London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using IT in Science Education Seminar for the UNIFY project Tim Brosnan Institute of Education University of London

2 Part 2 Thoughts on how - present and future

3 Main parts zSummary of the present situation zOutline of some options for the future zRecommendations

4 Present situation and options for the future zPeople zIntegration of IT and science zHardware zSoftware zSystems

5 People - present situation (1) zThe Unify team members are keen to develop the use of IT for both personal and professional purposes zThe Unify students are keen to develop their use of IT zDespite considerable efforts the course has been unable to appoint a specialist IT lecturer

6 People - present situation (2) zThe lack of a suitable person to co- ordinate and lead the IT aspects of the course is one of the two main factors hindering the integration of IT with the rest of the Unify curriculum

7 People - options (1) zKeep trying to appoint an IT lecturer ylittle chance of success ynot necessarily the best option even if available - could widen the gap between IT and science yperson appointed would need to develop an understanding of the main concepts taught in the science/maths courses

8 People - options (2) zAppoint a science specialist with a knowledge of IT ynot many appropriate candidates (although potentially more than option 1) ywould need time to extend areas of IT expertise ybut… would help the integration of IT and science perhaps more than an IT specialst would

9 People - options (3) zAppoint an additional science lecturer to allow a member of the existing staff to develop the necessary IT expertise ylonger ‘lead-in’ time than other options ynot clear that any member of the team would wish to take this role ybut… it could be seen as staff development yand… more likelihood of a successful appointment than previous options

10 Integration of IT and science - present situation zAt present there is no real integration of IT and science courses zBecause of the absence of an IT lecturer, the current IT course does not have course materials, booklet and planned, session by session learning objectives as exist for the other sections of Unify zIt is also rather ‘computer’ orientated

11 Integration of IT and science - options (1) zDistinct course only - discrete model zFully integrated into subject sudies - cross-curricular model zBoth distinct course and used in subject studies - hybrid model zA short, initial course in basic IT skills followed by cross-curricular use - kick- start model

12 Integration of IT and science - options (2) zDiscrete model yAdvantages xeasiest model to organise xeasiest model within which to co-ordinate the development of IT skills yDisadvantages xdivorced from the rest of the course xIT teaching/learning decontextualised xdoes not help students’ learning of scientific ideas

13 Integration of IT and science - options (3) zCross-curricular model yAdvantages xall IT teaching takes place in an appropriate context yDisadvantages xhardest model to organise xscience/maths lecturers may feel it is not their role to teach ‘basic’ IT skills - and not a good use of the subject time

14 Integration of IT and science - options (4) zHybrid model yAdvantages xallows the advantages of both the discrete and cross-curricular models yDisadvantages xmost time consuming model xstill a need to provide an appropriate context for the content of the IT course xmay not be a need for an IT course throughout the year

15 Integration of IT and science - options (5) zKick-start model yAdvantages xallows the teaching of basic IT skills in the discrete course and then their application and development within the context of science/mathematics xeconomical use of time yDisadvantages xrequires a change of timetable during the year xhow much of a ‘kick-start’ is needed will vary with student intake - no way to know in advance

16 Hardware - present situation zThe course is well resourced in terms of computers ythe machine are fast enough for most uses ythe student/machine ratio is excellent zThe course does not have reliable access to the Internet zThe course has no simple way to transfer large files from machine to machine

17 Software - present situation zThe course has a modern and stable version of Microsoft Office zthe course has software/hardware for datalogging zThe course has little in the way of ‘subject-specific’ software - e.g. CD-Roms

18 Systems - present situation(1) zThe current organisation of the computer system is the second major deterrent to the successful use of IT in the science courses

19 Systems - present situation(2) zthere is no system of ‘shared-files’ ystaff cannot put material on ‘the system’ for all students to use - e.g. the material I have brought is only accessible on machine 28

20 Systems - present situation(3) zAll students log-in as the administrator ythis invites chaos - e.g. any student is free to delete everything I have put on machine 28 ythe students cannot save their files to their own work area - they do not have one - so all material must be saved to floppy disc or to the hard drive on a specific machine ymachines are accumulating lots of ‘rubbish’ files and students lose work more easily

21 Recommendations zPeople zIntegration of IT and science zHardware zSoftware zSystems

22 People - recommendation zI suggest that the course team considers appointing an IT co-ordinator rather than a specialist - i.e. someone to co-ordinate the link between science and IT rather than someone to ‘teach IT’ zMy suggestion therefore is that the course team considers options 2 and 3 rather than 1

23 Integration of IT and science - recommendation (1) zI suggest that the course team consider the relative advantages of options 3 and 4 zIt is necessary for a named individual (cf committee) to have oversight of and resonsibility for, the integration of IT (however organised) with the other sections of the Unify course

24 Integration of IT and science - recommendation (2) zThe IT course (of whatever form) be redesigned the better to match the needs, content and contexts of the science and mathematics sections of the Unify course, reducing the ‘computer’ aspects zCourse materials be produced for the new IT course of a quality and quantity comparable to those of the other sections

25 Hardware - recommendation zAs and when external funding can be found, priority be given to the upgrading of the Unify Internet link. Establishing a stable, fast link would be a huge advantage to the course. zA second priority be the purchase of a portable CD-portable writer, allowing staff to copy and move large files

26 Software - recommendation zNo recommendations. The existing software provides a good basis for development, and the course team has ideas for augmenting this with a judicious selection of subject-specific material.

27 Systems - recommendation(1) zThe log-in system be reorganised so that yEvery student and member of staff is given their own log-in yNo student be allowed to install (or save) anything to any local hard disc zWithout these changes the system is neither secure or sustainable

28 Systems - recommendation(2) zThe Unify server be re-configured so that yA ‘shared files’ area is established on the Unify server to which staff (and not students) have write privileges yEvery student has their own (secure) area on the server to which they may save their files zWithouth these changes course materials will be neither distributable or useable

29 Final thoughts zThe issues raised here are not just an ‘IT’ problem but affect the teaching of every member of the Unify team - and the learning of every student z When the computer systems are altered, the enthusiasm and ideas I have seen will be allowed to develop, strengthening the leadership position of the Unify course


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