CAT: Computer Aided Teaching and Learning Materials in Science Teaching

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The CAT (Computer Aided Teaching) project has been developing a teacher-training course on using computer aided teaching and learning materials in science teaching at schools. Three course modules are now on offer.

The aim of the project was to design and test modules for a teacher-training course, which will help teachers to:

•    assess the quality of computer aided learning environments in science teaching;
•    adapt best-practice examples of those environments to their own teaching;
•    evaluate their own teaching.

The course is now on offer and has established itself as ICT-based content; it is supplemented by a teachers' handbook and CAT examples of best practices in computer aided science learning. The first CAT modules were offered in 2011; another round of CAT courses is offered for spring 2013.

The CAT course offers three different modules (and sub-modules); teachers can choose from these modules according to their individual needs. Each of the modules is organized in the form of blended learning, consisting of online sessions and a face to face meeting in one European country. The duration of each module ranges from three to five months.

The CAT examples contain detailed description and evaluation of software and online platforms from the perspective of STEM education. The examples have been primarily developed as supporting materials for the CAT courses. However, they can also be used by teachers as a stand-alone guide to different methods of computer aided learning of science subjects.

Basic information

Country: Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece

Coordinator: University of Education Heidelberg, STS-Institute, Germany, www.ph-heidelberg.de

Programme: LLP

Project Acronym:

Target groups: teachers, trainee teachers, university lecturers

Topic: Information technology, Technology, Education

Start year: 2008

End year: 2010

Url: http://cat.upatras.gr

Contact person: Manuela Welzel-Breuer, University of Education Heidelberg, Germany, welzel (at) ph-heidelberg.de

Before developing the CAT training courses, the project consortium carried out a survey mapping current practices in using ICT in science classrooms and the training needs of science teachers. The survey took place in January 2009; the results were used in developing the CAT courses and presented at international conferences.

The initial survey was followed by testing of the existing learning environment, the results of which are summarized in the CAT examples of best practice, a supplement of the CAT courses handbook. 

Main parts of the courses have been tested and validated in practice in the six participating countries.

The CAT course offer is currently being investigated by a PhD study in order to analyse effects of professionalization of participating science teachers. The focus of this study is their use of communication opportunities during the international training course on the effective use of ICT in science teaching.

The three modules of the CAT course are now offered nationally and via the Comenius-Grundtvig Training Database.

Teachers – participants of the CAT courses are also provided with the CAT teacher handbook and a selection of good practice examples from the six participating countries. The training itself is carried out using the Moodle platform.

The three modules offered focus on:

1)    Criteria for choosing CAT materials for teaching and learning science
2)    Ways and Methods of Implementing CAT materials in Science Classes
3)    Self-evaluation of own teaching with CAT material through action research

The next run of the CAT courses is planned for spring 2013: the deadline for applying is 10 September 2012.

 

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