, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 2035-2057

Science Teaching Orientations and Technology-Enhanced Tools for Student Learning

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Abstract

This qualitative study examines teacher orientations and technology-enhanced tools for student learning within a science literacy framework. Data for this study came from a group of 10 eighth grade science teachers. Each of these teachers was a participant in a professional development (PD) project focused on reformed and technology-enhanced science instruction shaped by national standards documents. The research is focused on identifying teacher orientations and use of technology-enhanced tools prior to or unaffected by PD. The primary data sources for this study are drawn from learning journals and classroom observations. Qualitative methods were used to analyze learning journals, while descriptive statistics were used from classroom observations to further explore and triangulate the emergent qualitative findings. Two teacher orientation teacher profiles were developed to reveal the emergent teacher orientation dimensions and technology-enhanced tool categories found: “more traditional teacher orientation profile” and “toward a reformed-based teacher orientation profile.” Both profiles were founded on “knowledge of” beliefs about the goals and purposes for science education, while neither profile revealed sophisticated beliefs about the nature of science. The “traditional” profile revealed more teacher-centered beliefs about science teaching and learning, and the “towards reformed-based” profile revealed student-centered beliefs. Finally, only technology-enhanced tools supportive of collaborative construction of science knowledge were found connected to the “towards reformed-based” profile. This research is concluded with a proposed “reformed-based teacher orientation profile” as a future target for science teaching and learning with technology-enhanced tools in a science literacy framework.