TEACHING AN ONLINE GRADUATE SCIENCE COURSE FOR IN-SERVICE K-8 TEACHERS
An online version of World of Science: Technological Applications (SCIE 6511) was developed and taught at Fairleigh Dickinson University as part of the MA in Science program for Kindergarten to 8th grade (K-8) teachers. Teaching an online science course for K-8 teachers provided an opportunity to increase their science content knowledge while providing them experience using real-world technologies online. Hands-on, inquiry-based lab activities, virtual field trips, and assignments were designed for this course that were supported by webcams and web-based applications. Only web-based applications that are available free including Google Earth, Virtual River, Virtual Earthquake, Interactive Drake Equation, ePhysics, Virtual Photosynthesis, and Virtual Gas Law were used in this course. Using free web-based applications enabled teachers to bring what they learned in SCIE 6511 directly back to their classrooms where these online labs and virtual fieldtrips may be students’ only experience with real-world science due to a lack of funding and/or appropriate facilities at their schools.
Course surveys indicated that teachers who participated in SCIE 6511 thought the lab activities, virtual field trips, and assignments were engaging and made learning science fun and interesting. Teachers also indicated that they appreciated being able to use what they learned in SCIE 6511 in their classrooms. Participant grades for lab activities, assignments, and the course suggested that the pedagogical methods used in this course increased participants’ science content knowledge and ability to use web-based science applications.