Enlist micros: Training science teachers to use microcomputers

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Abstract

A National Science Foundation grant to the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) at The Colorado College supported the design and production of training materials to encourage literacy of science teachers in the use of microcomputers. ENLIST Micros is based on results of a national needs assessment that identified 22 compentencies needed by K–12 science teachers to use microcomputers for instruction. A writing team developed the 16-hour training program in the summer of 1985, and field-test coordinators tested it with 18 preservice or in-service groups during the 1985–86 academic year at 15 sites within the United States. The training materials consist of video programs, interactive computer disks for the Apple II series microcomputer, a training manual for participants, and a guide for the group leader. The experimental materials address major areas of educational computing: awareness, applications, implementation, evaluation, and resources. Each chapter contains activities developed for this program, such as viewing video segments of science teachers who are using computers effectively and running commercial science and training courseware. Role playing and small-group interaction help the teachers overcome their reluctance to use computers and plan for effective implementation of microcomputers in the school. This study examines the implementation of educational computing among 47 science teachers who completed the ENLIST Micros training at a southern university. We present results of formative evaluation for that site. Results indicate that both elementary and secondary teachers benefit from the training program and demonstrate gains in attitudes toward computer use. Participating teachers said that the program met its stated objectives and helped them obtain needed skills. Only 33 percent of these teachers, however, reported using computers one year after the training. In June 1986, the BSCS initiated a follow up to the ENLIST Micros curriculum to develop, evaluate, and disseminate a complete model of teacher enhancement for educational computing in the sciences. In that project, we use the ENLIST Micros curriculum as the first step in a training process. The project includes seminars that introduce additional skills: It contains provisions for sharing among participants, monitors use of computers in participants' classrooms, provides structured coaching of participants' use of computers in their classrooms, and offers planned observations of peers using computers in their science teaching.

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