Using information and communication technologies


Information and communication technologies can be a greatly enriching resource in the teaching and learning of science. Among the ways in which ICT may be used are the following:

  • Data-handling programs can be used by children to record and analyse substantial records or bodies of information. For example, children investigating the most common eye colour in the class or school can enter data about every child. They can then use the computer to analyse the data, identify patterns and produce their findings in graphical form. This encourages children to focus on analysing and interpreting the results of their investigations rather than on producing accurate hand-drawn graphs.  
  • Many interactive programs that are based on scientific topics are available for primary pupils. These programs allow children to simulate projects, where they will be provided with opportunities to carry out investigations, formulate hypotheses, control variables, evaluate results and plan tests. Interactive programs support experimental work in topics where it might be difficult to organise children to work scientifically, for example conducting experiments with heat or exploring the internal organs of the human body. 
  • Word-processing and drawing programs provide pupils with another means of communicating and presenting their scientific information and findings. By allowing drafting, editing and correction to be completed so readily, computers can encourage the child who may not find conventional written work satisfactory.
  • The internet provides children with access to a range of sources of scientific and technological information. Many science centres, interpretative centres, science museums, industries, Government departments, meteorological agencies and other bodies have worldwide web pages. Children can visit these web sites via the internet. 
  • The internet can be used as a communication tool to link schools and pupils nationally and internationally. Schools that have a home page can communicate with others using the internet. Other schools use electronic mail to send typed messages from one computer to another. This enables the pupils to share details of their projects and investigations. For example, children can collect, compare and share their observations on weather and the seasons.
  • Computer programs can enrich the range of sources and information available to the children. Many CDROMs enable children to access vast amounts of information and to extend their experience of a range of objects and events through video and interactive simulations.
  • Sensors attached to the computer can help children to extend the range and sensitivity of information that they can measure. Sensors that detect and measure temperature, light, sound, position, humidity or pressure enable children to measure variables that they may previously have been unable to quantify. These sensors display the data on screen as the children are working. This facilitates the evaluation of findings as the investigation is proceeding.