Literature Review in Primary Science and ICT

Colette Murphy

01 January 2003

This review focuses on the development of primary science since it was first introduced in 1989 as a compulsory, core subject in the primary curriculum in England and Wales.

In a review of the first ten years of compulsory primary science, Harlen (1998) identified current concerns as: the teacher’s role in constructivist learning, teachers’ subject knowledge, the balance between process skills and science content, and the need for greater understanding and application of formative assessment. Harlen also anticipated that the foremost foreseeable change in the learning and teaching of primary science over the next ten years would be the impact of information and communications technology (ICT).

This review will consider the impact of ICT in primary science in relation to the areas identified by Harlen (1998) and provide a critical evaluation of ways in which ICT is currently being used to promote good science teaching. It will reflect on the science and ICT 5 year-old children of today need to learn in order to enable them to become scientifically and computer-literate by the time they are 20. It will argue, after Yapp (2003), that primary education should provide children with more languages, scientific and technological awareness and confidence, cultural sensitivity and media awareness. The skills these children develop should include team working, creativity, innovation and learning how to learn. Informal learning should be valued as much as formal learning (Yapp 2003).