New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Technology-Supported Outreach in Science Teacher Education

Marina Milner-Bolotin, University of British Columbia (Canada)


New British Columbia Science Curriculum emphasizes inquiry, student engagement, and science communication. Thus, science teacher-candidates should begin developing these skills during their teacher education. They should also have ample opportunities to practice science communication to the general public. Achieving these goals inspired us to establish an annual Family Mathematics and Science Day (FMSD) at the Faculty of Education. During FMSD, teacher-candidates facilitate inquiry-based hands-on science and mathematics activities for the families. To prepare for it, teacher-candidates collaborate with peers while being mentored by faculty members and staff. Since 2010, the event attracted more than 2,500 guests and involved more than 400 volunteers. The response from the teacher-candidates and the community has been overwhelmingly positive. However, since our Teacher Education Program is only 11-months long, one of our major challenges has been the lack of continuity from year to year. Moreover, teacher-candidates who facilitate the 100+ stations cannot visit the stations concurrently facilitated by their peers. To address this problem we applied for the University Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund that supports faculty members in implementing innovative pedagogies to promote student engagement. It allowed us to launch a database of 3-6 minute video clips describing the science experiments facilitated by the students. The Database “STEM Education Videos for All” was created as a YouTube channel and is open to the educational community and a general public. Science teacher-candidates who participate in the FMSD are asked to design a video describing their experiment, focusing on science concepts, the presentation of the demonstration or experiment, and extension activities. This science video design project has become a part of the curriculum in our Science Methods course. To design these videos teacher-candidates learn to use video-editing software while being mentored by the instructors and staff. Based on the teacher-candidates’ feedback, participation in this outreach event and designing and sharing their videos is one of the highlights of their Science Methods courses. According to the teacher-candidates, FMSD helped them gain confidence in their ability to uncover science principles behind everyday life phenomena and enthusiastically communicate their understanding to the wider audience both in person and online.

Keywords: Science teacher education, Science outreach, Educational technology, Science communication, Science videos, Inquiry-based teaching;

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