Research shows that student teachers in the UK remain sceptical about the value added to students' learning by using the Internet in science lessons

Students using the internet

Source: Shutterstock

A group of researchers from Nottingham, Loughborough, Oxford and Nottingham Trent Universities has investigated how new teachers use ICT resources to support the teaching and learning of science.1

The researchers used questionnaires and focused discussion groups to collect information from nearly 600 student teachers over four years, representing ca 7 per cent of the science PGCE cohort in England.  

The researchers found that the number of PGCE student teachers who had access to the Internet from home had remained unchanged over this period but there had been a sharp rise in the number of student teachers using the Internet to prepare their lessons. Results from the study showed that the use of the Internet in science lessons had remained static at ca 90 per cent. This high value reflects the fact that PGCE student teachers are required to use the Internet in their teaching.  

When the researchers delved into how the Internet was being used in the classroom they found that the quality of learning was fairly limited, with student teachers expressing scepticism about the value of teaching in this way. Feedback showed that in many cases it was the student teacher who had to take the lead in developing Internet-based lessons because they were often more technologically-competent than their colleagues in the school or college.  

The researchers concluded that a clearer understanding of what constitutes good use of the Internet in teaching needs to be developed if pupils are to be able to use information from a variety of sources, not just the teacher, to learn science.