Preservice Biology Teachers’ Use of Interactive Display Systems to Support Reforms-Based Science Instruction

Jun. 25, 2009

Source: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(2). (2009). P. 131-159..
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study was to explore preservice biology teachers’ use of an interactive display system (IDS) during their student teaching experience. The interactive display system (IDS) consists of a computer, digital projector, interactive white board, and Internet connection.
The goal of the research was to characterize the ways in which these preservice teachers integrated the IDS into their science instruction and to determine whether their instruction with IDS supported reforms-based or more traditional methods.

Research Questions

Specifically, the study addressed the following questions:
1. Will these preservice biology teachers use the IDS for instructional purposes?
2. If so, in what ways will they use the IDS?
3. Will their use of an IDS reflect reforms-based instructional practices?


The participants in this study were 9 preservice biology teachers (6 female and 3 male) enrolled in a masters of teaching (MT) degree program at a large public mid-Atlantic university.
Four participants had already received a bachelors degree in biology, while 5 participants were pursuing their bachelor of arts degree in biology concurrently with the MT.
Participants ranged in age from 23 to 30 during their student teaching semester, and they all worked in public school settings under the guidance of a mentor classroom teacher. Participants were each working toward licensure to teach biology.

Analytic induction was used to analyze the wide variety of collected data, including classroom observation notes, entrance and exit interviews, lesson plans, and reflective essays.

Results indicated that student teachers used the IDS in substantial ways to facilitate teaching reforms-based science. The participants used the display systems for lesson planning, searching for resources, and for administrative purposes, but they all used the IDS for instructional purposes, too.
Furthermore, the results support the use of explicit approaches to preparing preservice teachers to use educational technology for inquiry instruction, modeling of effective uses of digital images and video clips, and specific instruction on whole-class inquiry methods.

Updated: Feb. 21, 2010