International Journal of Science The Use of the Internet in Science Teaching : A longitudinal study of developments in use by student- teachers in England
- ISSN: 09500693
- DOI: 10.1080/09500690601137676
This paper reports on a longitudinal study of developments in use of the Internet by science student-teachers on Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) courses in five higher education institution-school partnerships in England. These are 1-year, full-time, teacher training courses for graduate scientists. The aim of the research was to examine changes in attitudes to, and use of, the Internet to support science teaching and the perceived challenges and barriers to practice in schools, against a background of high national expectations reflected in the qualification standards of the teacher education courses. The research has involved nearly 600 student-teachers, representing between 7% and 8% of those training on PGCE science courses in England, and has employed mixed methods, with questionnaires serving as the main basis for analysing trends, and focus groups and case studies used to gain deeper insight to the particular issues identified. The process has been an iterative one, with the outcomes of each year's research being used to inform further research and course developments in the institutions involved. The findings indicate that attitudes and confidence in use of the Internet have improved over the period, with evidence of increased application directly in the classroom. However, in addition to some of the generic technological issues that may hinder developments in the use of Information and Communication Technology in schools, there are continuing concerns relating to limited pedagogical guidance and availability of good role models. The implications of this for developments in science teacher education programmes are discussed.