Close, Closer, and Even Closer: Introduction of the Digital Microscope into Elementary (K5) Enrichment and Art Classrooms
Type of DegreeDissertation
Curriculum and Teaching
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This study examines the effect of introducing digital microscopy into two elementary classrooms: Teacher E’s enrichment classes and Teacher A’s art classes. Data were obtained during 2004 by conducting preliminary interviews, interviews after the first lesson, and post-interviews with the teachers. This was supplemented by making classroom observations as a participant observer during 2004 and 2005. In 2006, similar interview data were obtained on two occasions (interviews after digital microscope lessons and post-interviews) and there were supplementary classroom observations. Participating teacher interviews were transcribed and then coded for semantic domain analysis. Semantic domain analysis revealed that coded comments fell into nine main categories: (1) characteristic; (2) comparison; (3) computer; (4) connection; (5) knowing; (6) object; (7) seeing; (8) students; and (9) teacher. The results of this study revealed that the introduction of the digital microscope into elementary classrooms had many similar effects during both enrichment and art lessons. Among the similar effects for both teachers were the following: (1) they practiced authentic inquiry during their respective lessons for enrichment (science and non-science) and art classes; (2) they began by directing the inquiry lessons, but became participants with their respective students in digital microscope lessons, and these lessons became more student-driven, went in unexpected directions, and yielded unexpected results; (3) they noted that students expressed a strong sense of ownership of their findings, digital images, and videos and that the students wanted to share those things with classmates and at home; (4) they felt that the digital microscope helped them find new ways to meet educational standards and that the lessons with digital microscopy had strong interdisciplinary potential; (5) they wanted to share digital microscopy with other teachers and spoke about wanting to make digital microscopy web-pages; and (6) they reported similar student interactions during digital microscope lessons, including wanting: to work as a group, to look at what they wanted to see, to have more time for lessons, engaging in discourse (including utterances, gestures, and body language) about their findings, and to see what others were finding all at the same time.