ICT in Science Education
Exploring the Digital Learning Materials at viten.no

Institute for Teacher Education and School Development, Norway

Supervisor: Professor Doris Jorde

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ICT has the potential to play an important role in making school science more relevant, interesting and motivating for students. Several studies show that ICT in Norwegian schools is most often used for word processing and search for information, while pedagogical use is much more uncommon. This dissertation, within the field of science education, consists of four articles that focus on the following aspects of the use of ICT in science education: a) What characterises the digital learning materials from www.viten.no and how do these influence learning? b) Students’ argumentation when using information from www.viten.no in a role-play debate, and the teacher role in such debates. The data material is based on studies in three 9th grade classes that used the Viten programWolves in Norway, and four 10th grade classes that used the Viten program Radioactivity. The results show that the students improved their knowledge after using both programs: they gave more nuanced descriptions of phenomena, used more scientific concepts and the answers were based more on facts than feelings. The first article shows that students, who before working onWolves in Norway thought wolves are dangerous, changed their view to dangerous under specific circumstances on posttest. In article II results show that students were very positive to Radioactivity, and thought it was fun and had a good design. They thought Radioactivity provided variation and student control, and animations and visualisations made it easier to learn. Articles III and IV deal with the closing activity in Wolves in Norway; a role-play debate. Article III introduces a new method for analysing student argumentation in debates. Student argumentation in this study varied from simple claims to more complex arguments with biological, personal, political and economic content. Article IV concentrates on the teacher role in the debate situation. A typology of potential problems in debates, including examples of how the teacher can handle these, is presented. This typology may serve as a tool for teachers who want to use debates in their teaching. The work has been conducted at the Institute for Teacher Education and School Development under the supervision of Professor Doris Jorde.

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