SMART Board + Science = Situated Cognition Knowledge Community Wiki?

I recently ran a F2F workshop for elementary preservice science teachers to introduce them to SMART Boards and to get them thinking about how best to use this technology with students to enhance science teaching and learning.  As a way to organize activity centres, I created a wiki.

For 1 hour, the preservice teachers, in groups of 4, worked through 4 activity centres:  SB1, SB2, SB3, and SB4.  Each “SB” wikipage followed the “5E’s” science instructional model:  engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate.  This was a deliberate attempt to model how the 5E’s could be used to frame a lesson, since they would soon be learning about the 5E’s instructional model in their science education class.

I took a Piagetian approach – having students work on their own, then with a partner, and finally within a group of 4 preservice teachers.  Thus progressing from invidividual to socialized thought.  As the students worked through the tasks outlined on the various SB wikipages, they often had online videos that they could view on their own.  They were instructed to complete the “explore” tasks in pairs and also to “extend and evaluate” their new learnings by discussing within their group of 4 to connect these learnings with science teaching strategies.  “Homework” consists of adding these connections to the wikipages’ “extend and evaluate” sections, and asynchronous discussions about this may take place via the discussion forum accessible by clicking on the “Discussion” tab at the top of every wikipage.

The F2F portion of the class went extremely well.  The preservice teachers were immersed in the SMART Board material presented, and as I was dropping in on their conversations, I could tell that they were looking at these resources through the lens of science educators.  Did I succeed in situating them in context of teachers considering how best to use a technology for science education?  I think so!  They have until December 9, 2010 to complete their homework, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this community will take shape online.