Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry

ITSI-SUThe Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry project engages students in STEM activities through the integrated use of technologies that include modeling, computational thinking, and real-time data acquisition. This comprehensive project will assist teachers in preparing diverse students for STEM careers by engaging them in exciting, inquiry-based science projects.

Students are engaged in practices that are essential for learning science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through both inquiry and design.

Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry is a scale up of the highly successful ITSI project and is meant to reach a greater number of elementary, middle and high school science teachers. This comprehensive innovative technologies project will assist teachers in preparing diverse students for careers in STEM by engaging them in exciting, inquirybased science activities that use computational models and real-time data acquisition.

Students interact by drawing prediction graphs, collecting real-time data with sensors, answering open-response questions, capturing snapshots of their work with interactive models and digital microscopes, relating their activity to STEM careers, drawing conclusions based on their findings, etc. All exemplar activities were designed to have students engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate their work (the 5E model).

An authoring system allows non-programmers to revise existing activities or create and share new ones. The list of available customizable activities keeps growing, and focuses on:

  • Engineering
  • Life Science
  • Earth & Space Science
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Math

The portal is open and available to all. If you have any questions please contact itsi@concord.org.

Principal Investigator

Carolyn Staudt

Project Inquiries

cstaudt@concord.org

Share This


Activity Spotlight

Greenhouse Light and Temperature

Greenhouse Light and Temperature

By using a temperature sensor, we can relate changes in sunlight to the temperature of the air being trapped in a container.

Learn More

One of the exciting things about this opportunity is the chance to be involved throughout the entire process of initiating, implementing and incorporating the concept embodied in this project. The future of technology, the Internet, and the use of computers in the classroom will be nothing less than spectacular. The impact a project such as this could have on education in the \'global village\' is enormous.

— Dana Freeman, Osborne High School

National Science Foundation (NSF) Logo

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-0929540. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Beginning in the summer of 2011, research on ITSI focuses on four questions:

  1. Did students using ITSI materials increase their understanding of standards-based content?
  2. To what extent is there evidence of inquiry-based teaching in the classroom?
  3. Does the professional development design influence student learning?
  4. Did students using ITSI materials have increased interest in STEM, in STEM careers, and in the use of technology-based STEM tools?

Data to answer the questions come from multiple sources. There are pre- and post-tests for students for each of the ITSI units. A modified version of the Relevance of Science Education (ROSE) survey is being administered before and after students use ITSI materials. Student data are logged as they use the ITSI materials, providing another source of data.

The independent variables include the school, grade level of the students, amount of use of the materials, and others. The dependent variables are student content gains, inquiry gains, changes in STEM interest, and changes in STEM career aspirations.

ITSI has recruited teachers from Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, and Virginia to participate in a research study each year since 2010. Participating research teachers are a part of an online educational community where they have access to outstanding science exemplars. They are able to create and modify activities based on their own curriculum and objectives. They receive over 75 hours of lab-based activities in engineering, physical, earth, and life sciences for grades 3-12 and full support for classroom implementation. To date, over 200 teachers and 5,000 students have used ITSI as part of research, in addition to the hundreds of teachers who have used ITSI activities on their own.

Pre-test and post-test results showed significant learning gains for students in topics such as habitat & life cycle and senses (elementary); motion, phase changes, inheritance, and photosynthesis (middle school); protein structures, gas laws, and stoichiometry (high school).

Please join the ITSI Professional Learning Community in Schoology (www.schoology.com). Once you sign up or log in, please contact us at itsi@concord.org to receive the group access code.

Activity Spotlight

Greenhouse Light and Temperature

Greenhouse Light and Temperature

By using a temperature sensor, we can relate changes in sunlight to the temperature of the air being trapped in a container.

Learn More

Help Contents

 


Four steps to Getting Started

1. Launch the Portal

Click here to watch the video on 'Launching the Portal'.

Begin by launching the portal with the orange button.

If you're a teacher and it's your first time here, sign up for access as a teacher. (If you have already created an account then enter your Username and Password and click 'SUBMIT').

You’ll need to enter your first name, your last name and an e-mail account that you can access at school. Then select your school from the drop down menu.

Your log in will be your username that you use to access your account.

It is important that you create a password that you can remember.

Please tell us how you heard about Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry using the final field on the registration form.

When you are done submit your information.

Thank you for signing up. In the activation e-mail you receive, your username will be confirmed and an activation link provided to complete your registration as a teacher.

Return to Top

2. Create a Class

Click here to watch the video on 'Creating a Class'.
Click here to watch the video on 'Editing a Class'.

Once you have successfully logged into ITSI, you can begin creating classes. Click on 'Create A Class' in the left-hand column.

First, name the class. Then create a class word that is unique to the class and school. For example, you might want to incorporate a school mascot. Once a class word is in the system it is taken.

From there, you can scroll through the list of activities. To select an activity for your students, click on the check box next to the activity.

When you are done selecting your activities, you can save this class.

Return to Top

3. Work within Portal

In the orange bar under the name of the class you just created there are two options.

Preview Activities You can preview the class to see how it will appear to your students.

You can also use the 'Edit' button to return to the page you used to create the class and edit the information and/or assign more activities.

Click on 'Save this Class' to keep your changes if you have edited the class with the 'Edit' button.

At the top of the activity there are five options, four on the left and one on the right.

Print Activities Under the PRINT option there are several options depending on what you want to print. Keep in mind that student work is under the REPORT link and not under the print link. From the PRINT link you can print the individual sections of the activity.

Run Activities Under the RUN option you can "preview the activity as a student" or "run in teacher mode". This can be used to help you prepare to assist the students as they work through the activity.

Click here to watch the video on 'Reports'.

Report Activities When you are logged in as a teacher and viewing a class, at the top of each activity there are some options. Under the PRINT option you can print individual sections of the activity. Under the RUN option you can PREVIEW AS A STUDENT or RUN IN TEACHER MODE.

By clicking on "Report" you will be able to see your students' responses. This is only viewable if your students have actually already completed the activity.

Clicking on "Show Responses" will let you see what students answered and if they did not answer the questions. You can also hide this information.

This information can be printed by clicking on PRINT THIS to print exactly what you have displayed on the page or PRINT ALL USERS to create individual reports for each student.

When you are done, close the page that opened.

If you do not want any students to see the activity, you may deactivate the activity. This is helpful if you have students that would go back and do old activities.

Select Activities By clicking the DEACTIVATE button you will remove the activity from the students view. The link will change from to However, the activity will still be visible on your teacher account. If you want the students to have access to the activity again then you can click the ACTIVATE link.

The activities cannot be reordered in the teacher window. When the activities are visible to students they are sorted under the subcategories in which they were organized when you chose the activities for the class.

Add ActivitiesTo assign more activities to your class first click on the class in the left hand column of the page. Once you are on that specific classes page then click on the "Edit" button. Under the class information is the list of activities. You can choose the activities you want to assign to your class by finding them in the list and clicking on the check box next to the name of the activity.

Return to Top

4. Enroll Students

Click here to watch the video on 'Student Rosters'.

Within each class at the bottom of the list of activities is the student roster. The name of the class and the number of students registered is also listed.

You will be able to see each student's name and login and you will also have the capability to remove them from the class.

To remove the student from the class, click on the red X.

If you want to register or add a new student without having that student create an account on his or her own, click on REGISTER AND ADD A NEW STUDENT. You will need to provide the first name and the last name for the student as well as create a password for the student.

When you are done, submit the information.

This student is now registered in your class and you will be able to see the student in your student roster.

Student Accounts

When students create their accounts they will need to provide their first name and last name. Each student has to make a password for their account and enter the class word that you created for their class. In addition to this information the students will be asked to answer three security questions. The security questions allow the student to reset the password to their account if they can not remember their password. It is important that they answer all three questions because as a teacher you can not access their password or reset their password for them.

Return to Top


Portal for your students

Click here to watch the video on 'Making Student Accounts'.

1. Access the Portal

Students, if it is your first time to the ITSU portal, sign up for access as a STUDENT. You will need to provide your first name, your last name and make up a password that is easy for you to remember.

The class word is given to you by your teacher and you will need to make sure that you type it in correctly.

When you are done, submit the information.

When you have submitted the information, your username will be given to you at the top of the page. This is what you’ll use to log into the portal.

You will also need to remember the password you just created to login in the future.

2. Running activities

Students run an activity from the Portal by clicking on the green arrow.

A Java window will pop up. Students should choose to open the file by clicking OK and clicking on Allow to see the activity.

Depending on the connection speed, it may take anywhere from a few seconds to a couple minutes for the activity to open for the first time.

3. Saving data

Student data is saved when a student closes an activity. They do not need to click any special button!

Return to Top


Video Demonstrations of Tools

The following videos will help you get to know the above pieces of technology:

Please note: The following videos require the Flash Player installed and enabled on your computer. You can download the Flash Player from Adobe.

Tool Help

Return to Top

Creating your own Activity

Once you have logged into the ITSI portal click the "Activities" link in the orange bar at the top of the page.

  1. Create Activities

    To create a new activity, click the button labeled "Create ITSI Activity," which will open a new tab with a form for you to author your activity. Give your activity a name by typing over "Copy of ITSI activity" and a description.

    You can then add various elements to your activity (e.g., Introduction, Standards, Materials, etc.). To add any element click on the checkbox, author that section, then click its "Save" button.

    See Sensor and Model sections below for more information on adding these items to an activity.

    When you are done with these steps, click all the orange "Save" buttons on the form. Your activity will be saved in the "My activities" bin of the Activities list. If you choose to publish your activity, it will appear in "Other activities" in the portal with hundreds of other teachers’ published activities. These are listed in alphabetical order by the teacher’s first name.

  2. Add Sensor

    Edit Sensor Figure 4. Adding a sensor.

    You can add a sensor to any Collect Data or Further Investigation section.

    Click the checkbox Checked Box to add a sensor (Figure 4). The sensor will be automatically identified once it’s connected. Click on the "Save" button to activate the sensor in the activity.

    Return to Top

  3. Search the Interactives Library

    Click here to watch the video on 'Interactives'.

    Along with activities, models are also included in the ITSI portal. You can access the models by clicking "Interactives" in the orange navigation bar.

    Models are interactive computational programs that simulate real-world phenomena. Models show your students everything from mixing primary colors to graphs in math class and the moon orbiting the Earth.

    You can search for specific models that have to do with a particular subject or look through all the models by using the search bar.

    Return to Top

  4. Add Model/Microscope

    To add a model to your activity, it must be an option under the section you are editing. When you click the checkbox to add the model the default model is "model 1". To change the model click the "edit" link.

    When you edit the model there is a drop-down menu allowing you to choose the model you want in your activity.

    Add Model

    You can preview the models in the interactives library. To get to the interactives library, click "Interactives" in the orange navigation bar at the top of the page.

    To remove a model, simply uncheck its checkbox.

    Note: Model options are now extended to include video, picture images, microscope images and iSENSE collectors. To find these special types of models, look for model titles beginning with "Video:", "Microscope:" etc. in the list of models.

    Return to Top

  5. Save Activity

    Public vs PrivateBefore you save your activity, consider whether you want to share it with the Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry community – or if you want to keep it private for you and your students only. You can set the publication status of your activity to "private" or "published" by clicking the "Edit Resource Options" button, then making a selection from the "Publication status" menu. If you want to keep the activity to yourself, select "private." If you want to share the activity, set the publication status to "published." Click "Save" to complete the process.

    To save your activity you must have saved all the open "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) boxes. It is important to save all the WYSIWYG boxes even if you later that you do not want to include that section. Save Button

My Activities
Figure 5. My Activities

My Activities

Once you have created and saved your activity, regardless of the publication status you can access the activity from the Activities page. To find your activity scroll down the categories of activities to the section labeled "My activities" (Figure 5). Click the section and you will see your activities listed to the right. You can edit the activity by clicking on the blue paper/pencil icon Edit Icon

If you chose to publish your activity, it will appear in "Other activities" in the portal, along with hundreds of other teachers’ published activities listed in alphabetical order by the teacher’s first name.

Return to Top

Customizing an Activity

Click here to watch the video on 'Customizing Activities'.

If you do not want to completely create your own activity you can edit one of the exemplar activities that has already been created.

Copy an Activity

Copy IconTo customize an activity, or make your own version of the activity for your class, first find the activity you want to customize from the list of activities. Click on the icon that looks like two stacked pieces of paper to make your own version of the activity. Your copy of the activity will open in a new tab. Change the activity name.

From the edit page you can modify the activity by clicking the Editlinks to the right of the various section headings. When you are done editing each section, make sure to click the save button so your changes are made.

Edit Models & Sensors

You can edit the models and sensors by clicking the Edit links directly above the model or sensor and to the right, and choosing a different one from the drop-down menu.

To add to the activity, click the checkbox next to an element you want to add. Click the Edit link to open a "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) box. Make your changes there.

To remove an item, uncheck the checkbox Checked Box next to the item and it will be removed from the activity. The items are nested under main sections so if you uncheck a main section everything under it will also be removed. If you have removed a section but wish to add it back, click the section again and you will find that all the work is still there.

Save Activity

Public vs Private Before you save your activity, consider whether you want to share it with the Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry community – or if you want to keep it private for you and your students only. You can set the publication status of your activity to "private" or "published" by clicking the "Edit Resource Options" button, then making a selection from the "Publication status" menu. If you want to keep the activity to yourself, select "private." If you want to share the activity, set the publication status to "published." Click "Save" to complete the process.

To save your activity you must have saved all the open "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) boxes. It is important to save all the WYSIWYG boxes Save Button.

My Activities
Figure 6. My Activities

My Activities

Once you have created and saved your activity, regardless of the publication status you can access the activity from the Activities page. To find your activity scroll down the categories of activities to the section labeled "My Activities" (Figure 6). Click on the section and you will see your activities listed to the right. You can edit the activity by clicking on the blue paper/pencil icon Edit Icon pencil across it.

Adding a photo to the image library

This site needs to adhere to the Creative Commons licenses by the author and owner of the image. You should only upload images that you have license to use. To add an image into an activity you must have the URL of the image. If you obtain a URL from the Internet the image could move or the person hosting the image could take it down. To upload an image to the image library, save it to your computer, then click on the "Images" link on the navigation bar.

Image Library Link

This will bring you to the image library (Figure 7).

Image Library Screen Shot Figure 7. Image Library search and browse interface.

Click "Create Image" in the yellow bar above the images. If your image is larger than the given dimensions (650 x 400), the image will automatically be resized to fit. If the image is extremely large, you may have to resize it on your computer first. Enter an image title in the "Name" field. In the "Attribution" field, enter the name of the author, "Creative Commons," and the website where the photo was found. For example, "John Smith, Creative Commons, Flickr." Select the license that matches the license for your image. If the image does not have license or you don’t know the license, please do not use it.

Next, choose the file from your computer, then click "Create" and the URL for embedding the image will be shown.

You can search for specific images or browse the entire library. When browsing the image library, you can sort the images alphabetically by name or by date added. To view the images that you have created, check the box labeled "Only Mine."

Image Icon Figure 8. Add image dialog box.

To add an image to your activity, click on Edit. When the WYSIWYG box opens up, look in the edit bar for a button that looks like a small landscape Image Icon. When you click on the Image Icon button a dialog box will open (Figure 8). You may need to scroll down the web page to find the dialog box. In the box, enter the URL of the image into the "Source" field. The other fields in the dialog box are optional.

Click the "OK" button to insert the photo.

If you decide you do not want the photo that is inserted, simply delete the image with your computer keyboard's delete key.

Return to Top

Archiving

Click here to watch the video on 'Archiving Activities & Classes'.

Archiving an Activity

To archive an activity, first go to Activities > My activities. In the list of activities authored by you, click the "archive this" link next to the activity you want to archive. Once you've archived the activity, it will no longer appear in your list of activities or in your classes.

Archiving an activity means it will no longer be available to any students it has been assigned to. This includes students of other teachers who are also using your activity if you made your activity public.

To unarchive an activity, first go to the search page and select the "Show only materials authored by me" and "Show only archived materials" filters. Scroll down to find the activity you want to unarchive and click its "Unarchive" button. The activity will once again appear in your list of activities.

Archiving a Class

To archive a class, first click the "Manage Classes" button. In the "Active classes" columns, uncheck the checkbox next to the class you want to archive. The class will disappear from your list of classes in the left hand navigation bar.

To unarchive a class, check the checkbox next to the class you want to make active again. The class will reappear in your list of classes.

Return to Top

Log In

Don't have a profile?

Create a profile and...

Create your profile now »

Loading...