Researchers from the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) recently unveiled new insights and recommendations into teaching science and mathematics in technology-enhanced classrooms.
Previous research has shown that computers, tablets, mobile phones, and other information and communications technology (ICT) can be more seamlessly integrated into classrooms by building up three key elements: teaching attitudes, or “will”; teaching ability, or “skill”; and access to ICT, or simply called “tool”.
This Will-Skill-Tool (WST) model of technology integration in the classroom has proven useful for understanding how technology can better be used to complement and improve traditional blackboard and pen-and-paper teaching methods.
However, while studies on WST in general have yielded positive results and recommendations, little research has been done into how WST can be used specifically to improve the teaching of science and mathematics. This is an urgent concern, given the importance of these subjects to nation building and the country’s lack of development in these fields: according to the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the Philippines placed last behind 57 other countries in terms of scientific and mathematical competence among grade-schoolers.
“While past studies on the WST model focused on general effects of will, skill, and tool on ICT integration into teaching of a single subject area or general teaching level, [the DOST-SEI study] provided differential analysis of these predictors between two subject teaching areas (i.e., science and mathematics),” the authors wrote in their paper.
The researchers noted that “Will” is a more important factor for science teachers, whereas “Skill” is more important for mathematics teachers when it comes to integrating ICT into the classroom. They recommended that science teachers develop first positive attitude toward ICT as a foundation for their teaching skills, whereas mathematics teachers need more specific ICT skills training due to the technical nature of their work.
“Among science teachers, the importance of ICT integration in teaching should be highlighted first to increase their level of attitude toward ICT prior to skills development,” the researchers said. “On the other hand, ICT knowledge and skills should be a primary focus in providing teacher training programs for mathematics teachers who may have technical requirement to facilitate integration of ICT in teaching the subject.”
The study entitled, “Will–skill–tool (WST) model of technology integration in teaching science and mathematics in the Philippines,” was published on March 9, 2021, in the Journal of Computers in Education. It was written by Randolf S. Sasota, Ruby R. Cristobal, Imelda S. Sario, and Josette T. Biyo of the DOST-SEI; with Joselito C. Magadia of the School of Statistics, University of the Philippines – Diliman. Sario and Sasota are Supervising Science Research Specialist and Senior Science Research Specialist, respectively, under the STMERPD.