Vision

In science education, a broad community of scholars has focused on the need for education to help students develop “21st century knowledge skills” including inquiry, collaboration, data-sharing, critique and a wide range of ‘digital literacies’ (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006; Slotta & Linn, 2009; diSessa, 2000; Tapscott, 2008). These researchers are developing powerful new forms of inquiry that leverage Web 2.0 technologies, engage students in evidence-based reflection and critical thinking, and promote an understanding of contemporary science.  As academic research progresses toward new standards and expectations for K-12 science (e.g., AAAS project 2061; NRC, 2011; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2009) – schools and teachers must find a way to transform their traditional understandings and treatments of science education.  However, teacher professional development research has established that teachers find it very hard to “transform” their thinking and practices (Shulman, 1987; Fishman, Ball and Cohen, 2003. How can teachers learn the necessary pedagogical knowledge to adopt innovative practices into science classrooms? How can teachers integrate 21st Century skills effectively into their science courses? These questions have been at the heart of my career, as a science teacher, a teacher educator, and an educational researcher.

My vision is to develop a peer-exchange community for teachers that would inspire and enable teachers to fulfill their vital role within the learning environment. This community of practice would provide teachers with face-to-face and online support, resources and professional development opportunities. This vision is built on my beliefs and experiences as a secondary science teacher of seventeen years and my own research-dissertation on teacher professional development.

My dissertation research, a design study examined the development of science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge as they are challenged to design and enact a technology-enhanced project-based activity. To understand how the various teacher activities of planning, enactment, reflection and peer exchange influenced the development of PCK, the study adopted a theoretical perspective of Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) recognizing that the socio-cultural nature of a science classroom and the larger educational environment has an influence on the development of PCK.

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