Thanks, Michael Lach, for serving on the U.S. High School Science Laboratory study team sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences. The report includes the conclusion:
The quality of science laboratory experiences is poor for most U.S. high school students, but educators can improve these experiences by following four key principles of effective instruction, says a new report from the National Academies’ National Research Council. The shift would make lab activities more likely to help students reach important goals of science education, including cultivating an interest in science, developing scientific reasoning skills, and mastering science subjects.
…sufficient evidence shows that the nation’s high school science labs generally do not follow four established principles for effective science instruction:
Design science lab experiences with clear learning outcomes in mind
Thoughtfully sequence lab experiences into science instruction
Integrate learning science content and learning about the processes of science
Incorporate ongoing student reflection and discussion
I know science teachers who use Tablet PCs in their classrooms. I wonder how effective a Tablet PC is in increasing student learning rates.