The Role of ICTs in Primary Science Education in Developing a Community of Learners to Enhance Scientific Literacy

The Role of ICTs in Primary Science Education in Developing a Community of Learners to Enhance Scientific Literacy

Beverley Jane (Monash University, Australia), Marilyn Fleer (Monash University, Australia) and John Gipps (Monash University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-690-2.ch007
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to show how information communication technologies (ICT) facilitated communication between primary pre-service teachers that enabled a ‘community of learners’ to develop children’s scientific literacy. Cultural-historical theory was used to frame a study that sought to explicitly go beyond thinking as being individualistic, and to show how thinking can also be considered as a collective endeavour. In particular the study identifies how thinking forms part of a ‘community of learners’ both virtually and in reality within classrooms. The study was able to make visible child and pre-service teacher interactional sequences that brought together everyday concepts and scientific concepts to support concept formation in science. The study revealed the dialectical relations between everyday concepts and scientific concepts for moving from an interpsychological level to an intrapsychological level. The collective, rather than the individual orientation, made such a perspective possible. Importantly, the use of ICTs facilitated communication between members of the collective.
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Introduction

The influential writing of Vygotsky (1987) showed that to understand a particular individual requires an understanding of the cultural-historical context pertaining to that individual. Cultural-historical theory highlights those contexts that shape social relations, community values, and past practices that in turn influence what participants pay attention to in their communities. When considering issues in science education some relevant Vygotskian concepts are mediated action, psychological functioning, and everyday and scientific concepts.

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