This post is inspired by a collection of thoughts and things I've read over the past few weeks. Firstly, from looking at science education as part of my Masters degree, coupled with a recurring theme of speeches at the PSQM award evening and finally, the Rochford report into assessing SEN in line with the new curriculum. So what are the aims of science education? Historically, the purpose of any science curriculum has been in tension and confused with itself. Does it provide an education for all? A foundation of simple, 'everyday' science knowledge focusing on how stuff works. Or does it focus on educating the next generation of scientists?, of which there is a detailed and documented need for in the UK.
By conducting my research I was able to explore a personal and professional interest into how iPads can be effectively used to engage children in the scientific enquiry process. While the research confirms there has been a development in knowledge of pedagogical issues and the need for continued training and guidance, both from Government and the schools leadership team; this has resulted in developing my awareness of knowing when and where to use iPads, as well as the importance of having appropriate training opportunities on the pedagogical implications.
As some of you will be aware, I conducted my first ever piece of research last month, into the use of iPads to engage Year 4 children in scientific enquiry. After a couple of supportive and encouraging tweets, below is a summary of my research (the full report is available should you wish to read 7,500 words on it!).
While I know this post may appear to be premature, it comes as a reflection on comments that I have started to receive over the past month or so. Through conversations with lecturers, amongst others, there appears to be growing consensus over my career in the world of education. It has been mentioned to me that I could become a Headteacher within 5 years of graduating in September (2013).
Since my last post, I have to confess that I've neglected my research somewhat. While there have been assignments to focus on, I am usually very good at keeping myself going by reading (or at least sourcing) new journal articles. So, where am I now?
I've passed! Well, the research proposal anyway!
I know it's not a graded piece of work, but passing the proposal now means I can continue with my research project.
During the 2 years I have currently spent studying towards my degree, one of the key themes that has emerged is the importance of talk in the primary classroom. Social constructivists (namely Vygotsky) argue that children consolidate their knowledge and understanding through engaging in social situations (talk); in the context of school, working in small groups and pairs can enable children to do just this. Opportunities for talk have therefore become a natural part of the school day and can now be observed in many areas of the curriculum. This year, I have noticed how important the same principles are in developing my own understanding, with particular reference to my research project (iPads in science education).
This video was forwarded to me by my brother. I think it goes a long way to illustrate how technology has become a part of our daily lives. Food for thought. "A Magazine is an iPad that doesn't work"
As I've mentioned in previous blogs, the amount of reading to undertake this year is ever growing. However, one area of study that I can't stop reading around is for my research project.
Although it's not yet been approved by the ethics committee, I am hoping to conduct my first piece of professional research into how iPads can enhance the learning of (primary) science using the outdoor classroom.