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Issues, Initiatives and Prospects of ICT Use in Chemistry Teaching

Divna Brajkovic

HELMo (Haute École Libre Mosane)
Sainte-Croix Liège, Belgium

d.brajkovic@helmo.be

Abstract

In 2013, the AWT [1] conducted a large survey to make an assessment of ICT equipment and use in compulsory education in Wallonia. It came to the conclusion that there is a lack of computer material and teacher training. Yet, ICT are part of our society and of students’ environment. Moreover, ICT have many assets to help every student succeed. These observations should lead the stakeholders of education to consider a well-thought integration of ICT in education. To make chemistry learning more efficient, the investigative approach is unavoidable in secondary education. ICT specifically integrated in this approach should make it possible to overcome certain obstacles that are typical of this complex and abstract discipline. Indeed, without replacing real experimentations, ICT can support the investigative approach at different moments of the process in order to make the transition from the macroscopic to the microscopic level and to symbolic writing easier. This article will outline a pedagogical scenario designed for this purpose. This type of pedagogical scenario is one current concern pointed out in the survey by the AWT. In this respect, a project “École numérique” (literally: “digital school”) has been initiated by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (French-speaking Community of Belgium) to fund innovative projects that integrate ICT. One of those initiatives in chemistry, conducted in a pedagogical section of a college, will be described. Finally, the article will outline other important axes such as future issues concerning emerging technologies and (future) teachers’ professional development.

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Comments about this Paper

Your comments are welcome


Date: 2014.05.15

Posted by Antonio J. Torres (Spain)

Message: This paper shows us how ICT can change pedagogical approaches in science classrooms. ICT resources in secondary Chemistry teaching can improve the student´s comprehension and motivation. Pedagogical scenarios integrating ICT resources like virtual labs, animations or modelling can improve a conceptual transition from the macroscopic to the microscopic world and enhance our students comprehension. But we cannot forget that the integration of ICT must help to make more attractive the scholar science but it must not replace real experimentations. The final part of the paper is very interesting because look at the future and suggest training teachers to pedagogical and digital use of ICT and a reflexive practise in the use of digital learning environments.

Date: 2014.04.25

Posted by Untung Nugroho Harwanto (Turkey)

Message: This paper is provide us how can the ICT effecting the chemistry teaching in the class. We know that there are some of courses in chemistry that unobservable. It makes students become difficult to understand. The learning needs an alternative tool that can help the students gain their better understanding. ICT can be used for education especially in chemistry learning. Some of animation, video and simulation can be used by teacher to provide better explanation to the students. The ICT provide solution for the unobservable course in chemistry course. It is important to build pedagogical scenarios in using ICT resources in specific way. It will help the students’ understanding to overcome their better understanding especially for the abstract concept.
It is not enough by just using the ICT equipment, the teacher should be able to use pedagogical concept of using ICT, the creation of digital resources, expertise sharing and a narrower cooperation between the stakeholders in the development of the digital school.
Teacher training and continued, on-going relevant professional developments are essential if benefits from investments in ICTs are to be maximized. Teacher lesson planning is vital when using ICTs; where little planning has been occurred, research shows that student work is often unfocused and can result in lower attainment.

Date: 2014.04.03

Posted by Viera Lisá (Slovakia)

Message: The paper describe implementation of ICTs to chemistry teaching in Wallonian region and proposes a reflection on the great opportunities that the use of ITCs opens up to to the teaching activity. Paper discusses the possibility to exploit ITCs ressources to help students to overcome one of the main obstacles in chemistry learning, i.e. the passage from the macroscopic to the microscopic level and the modelizations activities inherent to this passage.The author offers an effective solution - a scenario integrating ICTs in teaching. It means that the use of ICT must be well-thought out. ICT is not seen as a replacement for real experimentation but rather as an enriching tool in teaching and learning strategies which if correctly integrated and well thought out leads to increased student motivation and a more participatory learning environment. The paper warns teachers against the danger of leaving students alone with ITCs. ITCs may be a tool for improving the student's comprehension of chemistry, but the teacher's role is crucial, as the teacher must take care that ITCs are employed at the right level of conceptualization and learning.
Finally the paper introduces a project called “Digital school” that the Wallonin federation has lauched in order to improve the use of ITCs at school. My opinion is that paper is suitable for Chemistry is all around us - network portal.

Date: 2014.03.26

Posted by Ioanna Karachaliou (Greece)

Message: According to this paper, the already existing teaching practices (observation and experiment) can be enriched via the use of ICT, but not substituted. ICT applications should be involved in teaching scenaria (for teaching science subjects), they could support the students to the use of the scientific approach and aid the conceptual transition from the macroscopic to the microscopic world which constitutes a basic barrier in learning chemistry.
The paper refers to specific techniques via which ICT can support the difference phases of the scientific approach when this has to be applied by students eg. interactive blackboard, animations, modeling. It is important that the use of ICT is done carefully in a well thought and organized manner and at the correct moment of the teaching process.
The creation of educational scenaria that involve ICT and the relevant training of teachers is a priority issue for several countries. There is reference however to other practices as well for example e-learning platforms and virtual teaching environments which could have several applications in the future.
In general, the paper provides information on several ICT-based methods/proposals for teaching chemistry which seem to be interesting.

Date: 2014.03.06

Posted by Mariusz Jarocki (Poland)

Message: The article is a natural continuation of the AWT document “Equipement et usages TIC 2013 des écoles de Wallonie” which includes a description of ICT infrastructures in Walloon Schools. This article outlines a pedagogical scenario, so it is much closer to the project than the previous document. A conclusion is that the infrastucture it is possible to diversify pedagogical practices, motivate students, exploiting the resources of the digital world they use every day and individualise work by increasing students’ involvement and attention. The article also indicates a risk for the success: with main one of them "the use of ICT must be well-thought out". The next important thing is integrating ICT in an investigative approach. The document describes a vision of future issues connected to using ICT in schools and teacher trainings. The only my objection to the article is too high level of generality and an absence of more concrete ideas.

Date: 2014.03.04

Posted by Elena Ghibaudi (Italy)

Message: The paper shows the results of a survey on the diffusion and usage of ITCs in the Wallonian region and proposes a reflection on the great opportunities that the use of ITCs opens up to to the teaching activity. In particular, the authors discusses the possibility to exploit ITCs ressources to help students to overcome one of the main obstacles in chemistry learning, i.e. the passage from the macroscopic to the microscopic level and the modelizations activities inherent to this passage.
The paper discusses the need to employ teaching strategies that rely on ITCs as a mean for supporting students in their own investigation activities about specific chemical topics. In particular ITCs may be used for helping the formulation of hypothesis, the analysis of results and may also replace lab activities, wherever a lab space is not available and real experiments may not be performed by students.
At the same time, the paper warns teachers against the danger of leaving students alone with ITCs. ITCs may be a tool for improving the student's comprehension of chemistry, but the teacher's role is crucial, as the teacher must take care that ITCs are employed at the right level of conceptualization and learning. So, ITCs may support teaching without replacing the teacher's role, that remains central and not replaceable.
Finally the paper introduces a project called “Digital school” that the Wallonin federation has lauched in order to improve the use of ITCs at school.
The importance of introducing ITC's skills in teachers' training is also discussed.
The study is useful in that it shows, in a critical and pragmatic fashion, how ITCs may be employed as a support for and effective chemistry teaching.

Date: 2014.03.04

Posted by Alžběta Jantová (Czech republic)

Message: The paper deals with implementation of ICTs to chemistry teaching. The author states useful outcomes of research focused on the the current accessibility of ICTs at schools.
Information and communication technologies at schools are often discussed topic. It is modern to use ICTs at science teaching. What is problematical is the unsystematic use of the ICTs and decrease of the science experiments (at the expense of modern ICTs).
The author offers an effective solution - a scenario integrating ICTs in teaching. It means that the use of ICT must be well-thought out. I agree, that it is necessary to build pedagogical scenarios integrating ICT resources in a specific way (videos, animations, IWB…) in order to support the investigative approach with a view to a gradation of abstraction levels. I like the diagram showing the integration of ICT in the investigative approach.
There are mentioned benefits related of integration: the student is an actor of their own learning, motivation and valorisation, easier learning, pedagogical continuity and immediate knowledge of the results.
The paper is fully suitable for Chemistry is all around us - network portal. The theme of the paper is very closely related to the project. In my opinion, it is useful and relevant.

Date: 2014.02.26

Posted by Kathleen Lough (Ireland)

Message: The paper outlines a pedagogical scenario for integrating ICT in chemistry education. It refers to a number of studies outlining the benefits of ICT in assisting students to understand complex and abstract concepts in chemistry and making the transition from the macroscopic to microscopic level easier. ICT is not seen as a replacement for real experimentation but rather as an enriching tool in teaching and learning strategies which if correctly integrated and well thought out leads to increased student motivation and a more participatory learning environment.
Building on previously published contributions a diagram is presented showing the key steps in any investigative approach. The use of ICT can be considered at various stages of the process, depending on the subject under investigation. Application of the scenario to an investigation of a chemical reaction has already been described by the author in a previous paper, where an interactive white board was used as an open, interactive support, with videos, animations, modelling and so on incorporated at appropriate stages.
The paper also summarises some of the key recommendations arising from a survey by the ICT platform of Wallonia on the use of ICT in compulsory education in Wallonia. The recommendations mirror sentiments by practitioners in many countries in that they emphasise the need for teacher training and continuing professional development in ICT, the desirability of developing and sharing resources, the continuing need for availability of appropriate ICT equipment in schools and colleges and for research on its relevance and impact on teaching and learning strategies.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.

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