Presentation | Slide 1 | Slide 2 | Slide 3 | Slide 4 | Slide 5 | Slide 6 | | Slide 7 | Slide 8 | Handout Richard | Handout Virpi | Literature


Slide 1

Original title:

Using ICT to enhance the teaching of science in an international school

Specifically this is to enhance the interest of students in science topics that are beyond the curriculum. This could be science that appears in current affairs, or is of particular interest to the students, but in all cases is explored due to student questioning in the lessons.

Slide 2

Updated title:

Using wikis to enhance the teaching of science in an international school

Useful quotes

Digital Learners prefer processing pictures, sounds color, and video before text. Many educators prefer to provide text before pictures, sounds, color and video.

Digital Learners prefer learning that’s relevant, active, instantly useful and fun. Many educators prefer feel compelled to teach to the curriculum guide and tests.

Ian Jukes

Why wikis?

Wikis are easy for the relatively unskilled teacher to create online resources quickly and without significant time investment

Slide 3

Individual focuses / concerns

Richard - How do I motivate school staff to increase their ICT skills

A very significant determinant of teachers’ levels of engagement in ICT is their level of confidence in using the technology. Teachers who have little or no confidence in using computers in their work will try to avoid them altogether. (Dawes, 2000; Larner and Timberlake, 1995; Russell and Bradley, 1997.) via Becta - barriers to ICT use

The Becta report raises some important barriers to the use of ICT in schools. The main point raised by the Becta report is the confidence of the teacher in the use of the technology. The other issues are listed below and are not the focus of this investigation.

And what do the students want?

students want “challenging, technologically oriented instructional activities" Kopyc, S Innovate (2007)

Issues which cannot be tackled in this research

  • Access to ICT facilities
  • Time (but motivation and priority are important)
  • Technical faults and support
  • Resistance to change
  • Age of teacher is not important
  • Gender of teacher is not important (there are comments in articles that male teachers are better at using ICT than female teachers)
    • Do you think this is a confidence issue which gives rise to the comments that male teachers are better at ICT, or is it a bullshitting issue, male teachers are more likely to attempt something as they don't want to look weak?
    • I like/hope to think that this is a bullshitting issue: men are more confident about their abilites whether they have a real reason to feel confident or not. I think both men and women can do equally well when it comes to use of ICT - if they want to learn the skill.... Is there then a difference in the interest level bw. men and women ?????? I know that I am happy leave these things to my husband just like he prefers that I do something that he dislikes doing, but it does not mean that I could not learn all the stuff that my hubby does.

Virpi - How can I use wikis to enhance pupil interest in science.

Students' increasing reluctance to study sciences in their final years of secondary education has important implications for the society e.g. in the form of lack of suitable workforce and scientific literacy of future generations. Students consider school science irrelevant and boring. (Trumper 2006). They do enjoy discussing topics that have a connection to "real life" and using new technology to learn. ( Passey 2004).

Slide 4

Review of current practice

The factors which hold up the development of ICT use in schools are
  • Kit
  • Infrastructure
  • Skills
  • Time
  • Money

We find that the current quality of teaching is variable and does not stretch the students outside the curriculum

We think that the thing to motivate students is "sexy science".

Slide 5

The way forward

To be able to demonstrate that ICT can make a difference.
Raise ICT skills amongst champions who will sell the good practice amongst the staff

To be able to find ways to use wiki to help and motivate pupils in their learning.

Slide 6

Actions taken so far

wikis being built by individual staff

These are being used in this research

These are examples of those that are not

Main findings of the parent and pupil questionnaires

  • Both parents and pupils agree that the pupils like to talk about science at home (parents have slightly more positive image of the situation).
  • Parents mostly feel confident discussing Biology, Chemistry and Physics with their children.
  • The three most often used sources of information for the pupils are: Internet, parents and library/books.
  • What pupils would like to have in the wiki:
    • answers to their questions concerning topics not in the syllabus
    • information about the material/topics studied each lesson (for those who are absent)
    • Links to additional/extra material

Here is a graph about the interest level of pupils to discuss science at home and here a table about preferred topics (by pupils) in a wiki.

Slide 7

The next steps

  • Expand/Improve on method for teacher recording lesson information - teacher journal
  • Include more material requested by the pupils (as indicated by the questionnaire) to the wiki
  • Increase to skill base for use of wikis – identify needs of individuals
  • Monitor usage rates of wiki
  • Measure need for pupil interim progress questionnaire or are the usage rates enough
  • Final questionnaire to see what effects the project has had – Did the project have an effect of the subjects of questions asked at home?
  • Measure increased staff skill level in use of ICT
  • Measure number of lessons utilising ICT
  • Encourage staff to be champions for the rest of the staff’s ICT development.

Slide 8

Critical moments so far ( Maybe this should be before the "the next steps" ?)

  • Study day in February: many teachers sign up for their own/ departmental wikis and start working on them
  • F4 Physics in the beginning of April: Pupils visit wiki when difficult topic is made easier by using videos. Help for test preparation included - useful for those students who were absent he previous week.

Handout Richard


My aim in this project is to research whether some of our teaching staff will increase their use of ICT in their lessons. To do this I want to look at the motivation for using ICT.

We have narrowed the focus of this project to 2 teachers, 3 classes and 1 subject. We are also narrowing down to extra curricular use of ICT.

We will use wikis to raise confidence in the use of ICT.

Why raise confidence?

It is quoted in research that there are many barriers to the use of ICT in education. These are

  • Confidence of staff
  • Access to the technology
  • Support in the use of technology
  • Training in the use of technology (the amount and the quality both being factors)
  • Time to prepare resources
  • Recurring technical faults
  • Resistance to change
  • Teachers do not realise the advantages of using ICT in their educational processes

Many of these issues are connected. It is the focus of this research to only look at issues in which it is thought that an impact can be made. This will be trying to raise the confidence of our staff by encouraging them to create new resources using a wiki that will expand the experiences of the students in areas of science that are not currently covered by the curriculum.

Why use a wiki?

A wiki is a relatively simple software application that allows creators to produce web pages with a minimal amount of investment in skills. The very quick link between input and reward raises confidence and user enjoyment - this is the basis of computer games.

Also, a wiki allows a teacher to have some personal Internet space that they can feel responsible for - another great motivating factor.

We have chosen the free wikis available through the wikispaces company.

How to measure confidence

It is felt that the more confidence a teacher has in a technology, the more they will use it. Wikispaces allow the user to monitor a variety of information that is useful in gauging the usage of the wiki, such as

  • Number of editswiki_edits.jpg
  • Number of viewswiki_usage.jpg

These will be used to measure the impact of the project.

Action taken so far

All staff have been questioned about their perceived skill level in ICT. This questionnaire was used to assess the staff skill levels. During the following training sessions it was found that a large proportion of our staff were unable to correctly assess their skill levels. This is possibly due to a weakness in the questionnaire, but could also be a lack of understanding of the technical vocabulary used in the ICT field.

We then scheduled a staff training day, where the concept of wikis was to be introduced. Due to unforeseen circumstances (our headteacher was hit by a bus!) the training session was extended and I was able to introduce far more ideas to the staff than was first thought. The response to this was very positive and many staff started wikis, including our two test staff.

The action for the future

  • Support of staff wikis continues
  • Monitoring of wiki usage continues

Handout Virpi

The trouble with sciences.

The number of students who choose to study sciences is decling in many countris including the United States, UK and European Union countries. Students increasing reclutance to study sciences in their final years of secondary education has important implication for the society e.g. in the form of:
  • lack of suitable workforce and
  • scientific literacy of future generations.

The reason for this lack of interest is mostly beause the students consider school science to be irrelevant and boring. Students would prefer to study science that has clear applications to real life situations. They would also enjoy learning more if they can learn using new ICT technology.

My aim in this research is to find out how I can enhance pupil interest and learning in sciences by using a wiki. Pupils often like to discuss topics that are not part of the syllabus. I want to provide amswers to their questions whether we have time for the discussions during the lessons or not. Not only does this engourage the pupils to see connection between school science and "real life" but it also motivates them to find out more about topics that are not taught at school. I also feel that providing the change to discuss their choise of topic pupils pay more attention than normally and participate to the class discussions more actively.

Actions taken so far:

Three groups of about 50 pupils were chosen for this research:
  • Form 4 IGCSE Phycis,
  • two groups of Form 2 Integrated Science pupils.

The Integrated Science pupils are taught by two teachers, both of whom participate to this research by keeping a teacher journal of their lessons and building up their own wiki pages. Teacher journals are a collection of field notes, i.e. written records if direct observations, and post facto notes when only indirect record of observation was possible dure to lack of time during the lessons. In the journals the teachers note down the "extra-curricular" questions the pupils ask and the circumstances leading to such questions.

Parents' permission for the reaseach has been sought. Both parents and pupils have been given preliminary questionnaire. The questionnaire maps put the present situation when it comes to
  • pupils' interest in talking about science with their parents,
  • specific topics discussed with the parents
  • sources of information.
  • type of information pupils would find usefull in a wiki

First conclusions from the questionnaires:
  • parents regard the pupil interest slightly more positively that the pupils themselves.
  • Parents and pupils discuss science at home:
    • Most often discussed topics are biology, chemistry and physics, biology being the most popular topic among the Form 2 students.
    • Parents feel most confident discussing the above mentioned subjects (maybe because those were taught to them at school too)
  • Pupils look for information mainly from the Internet followed by parents and library/books.
  • Pupils would like to have in the wikis:
    • answers to the questions that interest pupils but are not discusses during the lessons due to lack of time (68%)
    • Information about material/topics studied each lesson (62%)
    • links to extra material related to the topic at hand (50%)
    • Asssingment information, extra study material (differentiation of learning) and extra-curricular material (all 44%)

Actions to be taken in the future:

  • Major part of the time and effort will be invested in the development of wiki.
  • User rates will be monitored and compared to the actions taken in order to see reaction to each action.
  • Teacher journals will be further developed to make the easier to use and include more detail.
  • Final questionnaire for parents and pupils in order to if the use of wiki had nay effect on the learning and/or motivation of the pupils.


Becta Evidence and Research Team (2002) Educational research into ICT and pupil motivation - a selection of abstracts Becta

Becta (2004) Article from Becta website source

Becta (2008) Harnessing Technology Review 2008 The role of technology and its impact on education

Commissions of the European Communities (2001) THE CONCRETE FUTURE OBJECTIVES OF EDUCATION SYSTEMS COM(2001) 59 final

Corfield, G (2007) The use of wikis to engage FE students EBI Barriers -

Dawes, L. (2000). The National Grid for Learning and the professional development of teachers: outcomes of an opportunity for dialogue. PhD thesis.

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