Wireless technology offers more opportunities than ever to bring science to life at GCSE, helping students to understand scientific ideas and showing them how science works in the real world.
We know that students who have regular access to the Internet get better results in GCSE Science (Impact2 Study, 2003). We also know classes that make the most of digital connectivity show a significant increase in students gaining the golden 5 A*-C grades (Underwood et al., 2005).
So let’s explore how WiFi can help boost science results.
Experience Scientific Study in a New Way
WiFi allows students to experience the practical side of science in a whole new way, one that mirrors their own behaviour outside the classroom.
Bring Real-World Science Into the Classroom
Another huge advantage of WiFi technology is that students can connect their learning with science going in the real world. Today, students can now access live data from on-going scientific experiments and have the opportunity to participate in new discoveries.
One example of this is the Solar Storm Watch website run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and another is NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory.
Creative science teachers can design scientific investigations along similar lines, asking students to investigate a real-life phenomenon.
Using their tablet or smartphone to record data, students can organise results and come to their own conclusions, in the process accessing the huge amount of scientific information and data available online.
Find New Ways to Visualise and Understand Results
Smartphone and tablets are more than just devices for checking social media and keeping in touch. They are complex microcomputers with the capacity to make science accessible.
Multimedia learning takes science a step further. Apps such as Elements help bring the dry facts of the periodic table to life. E-textbooks allow students to read about concepts, look at high-quality colour images, or watch embedded HD videos at their own pace.
Students can visualise their experimental results with simple apps like Quick Graph, and can collect and use their real time data to create digital simulations and models using software from companies like Concord Consortium.
These apps also make it easier for students who struggle with complex mathematics or computing to understand scientific concepts. This aids understanding and allows students to actively participate in science in new ways.
Reconfigure and Reinforce Learning
Wireless devices allow GCSE students to learn wherever they are, whenever they want, making it possible to learn science in new ways.
Some schools have used digital apps to ‘flip’ learning, by getting students to watch video tutorials or read e-textbooks before the lesson, exploring the concepts covered in more depth in class.
Most students now use online revision tutorials and exercises that can be accessed on tablets and smartphones, allowing students to go over scientific concepts they struggle with or simply check their progress.
New Ways to Assess Learning
WiFi also gives teachers new ways to integrate assessment into science lessons.
A simple app such as Classroom Voting makes it possible for students to show their understanding of a lesson by ‘voting’ on their smartphones. Simple multiple-choice quizzes can be used to check understanding of a particular unit.
New forms of digital assessment give students instant feedback on their progress, privately. Students have a choice whether to share their results, and can decide not to if they wish.
At the same time, teachers can see who is struggling, or whether the group need to look at a particular concept again.
Those who need extra help can be contacted discreetly by text or email, with tips on how to improve for next time, or an offer of further one-to-one support.
WiFi is bringing science to life at GCSE. Imagine what your students could do with a more reliable WiFi connection.
KBR has 30 years of experience successfully planning, installing and supporting bespoke WiFi for schools across the North East of England. To speak to one of our team about upgrading your WiFi or how WiFi can help your school, contact us on 0191 492 1492, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.