Engaging preservice elementary teachers in understanding science knowledge by creating, reviewing, and publishing digital animations
Research has shown that creating animations of science concepts enhances preservice teachers understanding of science content (Hoban, 2007) but a possible problem with student-generated animations is that some preservice elementary teachers may not fully understand or represent a science concept correctly. The objective of this study was to investigate whether involving preservice elementary teachers in a three phase framework whereby they create, review and publish their slowmations to a web site (Teacher Tube) improved their science content knowledge and whether uploading to Teacher Tube was a feasible process for preservice teachers. The study was underpinned by the theoretical framework of constructionism whereby personal and social influences on learning interact in the process of constructing and displaying an artifact as a representation of learning (Papert, 1980; 1991). This study involved two cohorts of preservice teachers who were allocated science topics as the focus for creating their animation in a science method course. As a result of creating, reviewing and publishing animations on a web site (Teacher Tube), 19/31 had a majomajor increase in science understanding, 9/31 experienced a minor increase and 3/31 experienced little or no increase. Creating their own animations of science concepts was an innovative way for the preservice teachers to engage with science content but it was challenging for most of them to upload their animation to the web site.