Use of technology in any classroom (not just science) should begin with teacher pedagogy first and technology second. There are many efficiencies that technology affords us and they should be embraced. One such efficiency I utilize on a daily basis is the Google Apps for Education; this suite of applications includes Google Classroom, Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets among others. These tools have allowed students and educators the ability to collaborate in a virtual environment much easier. Students who are absent because of illness or vacation are able to keep up to date and group work is much more efficient as all students have access to all documents regardless of where they are. I, as an educator, am able to keep tabs on student progress at my convenience and can provide feedback instantly. I have the privilege to be teaching at a school that requires students to bring their own device – the recommended device being a ChromeBook.
In the science classroom, teachers can utilize technology such as simulations to aid in student learning. Using a gravity simulator can allow students to adjust different parameters and observe how it affects different objects or motion. From our example last week, using simulations can allow students to see how direct and indirect sunlight impact our seasons, or how the position of the moon creates different phases. When students are able to get hands on experience and see the results of their actions (such as moving the sun around, or changing the tilt of the earth), then I think they will have deeper learning.
I agree with you that we must start with teacher’s pedagogy first before implementing technologies in educational settings. Technologies should be a tool to help students engage in learning activities. As you mentioned, interactive virtual simulations and augmented reality would help students experiment and understand scientific concepts more inquisitively, in simpler and more engaging ways.
I am curious that if there are any specific reasons that your school chose to use a Chromebook instead of other devices such as laptops or mobile devices.
One of the main reasons the school opted for ChromeBooks was because of cost. Students are absolutely able to bring laptops if they choose, but as we were requiring a device, a ChromeBook seemed to have the functionality we wanted at a low price point.