Those who work with instructional technology tools realize that the tools we are using today will not be the same tools we use tomorrow. Therefore, it is essential that our teaching force, K-12 inservice science teachers, continually upgrade their knowledge and use of new technology. This is part of the mission of the SERVIT group. As a result of this mission, another research area is available: The learning and use of visual instructional technology tools by inservice and preservice science teachers.
The research questions vary greatly. These questions include, but are not limited to the following:
What workshop factors produce the largest amount of teacher change?
2) What effect of teacher participation in long term workshops and support have on student learning and exploration?
3) What characteristics of teachers correlate highly with teacher change throughout a workshop series?
4) What new instructional technology tools are reported to be useful to teachers at various grade levels? Why are some more useful than others?
5) What effect does communication technology have on the support of new teachers?
Almost the entire SERVIT group is involved in Teacher Education programs; some developing curricula and Web Pages, others delivering instruction, and still others involved in the evaluation of our long term projects.
One project, Team Science, was completed in the summer of 1998. The purpose of this NSF funded project (beginning in 1993) was to teach, equip, and support high school science teachers to use technology tools such as the microcomputer-based Laboratory, science software, and interactive videodisc technologies. Another NSF funded long-term project, EMPOWER, began in the summer of 1997. Mathematics and science teachers learned how to use MBL, CBL, and software for inquiry-based learning. The funding of the project ended in the year 2000, but following the Team Science model, the EMPOWER project will continue into the next decade.
We also have a large undergraduate program in science education here at N.C. State University which prepares science teachers to teach grades 6-9 and 9-12. This pool of preservice teachers gives us additional opportunities to do research during their student teaching experience and introductory years in the profession.