This study explores the factors that influence science teachers' decisions regarding the implementation of innovative computer-based scientific modules in their classrooms. The advanced educational software was developed especially for the project “Science Beyond 2000” - multidisciplinary study modules that motivate students to see themselves as researchers and use computers as primary laboratory research tools. The context of this study is unique because the study's participants were computer literate and used technology for their personal use or classroom preparations, but not for integration in science classes. We followed twelve middle and high school science and mathematics teachers throughout an academic course that presented the “Science Beyond 2000” project. Results that emerged from the study revealed five requirements that must be satisfied for teachers to implement successfully the advanced software. These requirements fall into five categories: Support and scaffolding; Content and curricular considerations; Pedagogical reasoning; Utilization; and Acceptability. Our findings also revealed teacher-student face-to-face communication to be a crucial factor for teachers in acquiring control of the classroom when integrating technology. We identified four types of teachers, each type seeking a different level of control: tight; medium; minimal, and loose. Our data revealed that the willingness to loosen control, transfer the learning responsibility to the student, and abandon ongoing face-to-face communication, enhances technology integration. These findings are of practical importance for educators concerned with the promotion of computer use within the science classroom. The findings emphasize the need to help teachers overcome pedagogical and mental obstacles in integrating computer-based classroom activities.
|Science Education International
|Published - 2005