Faculty of Education

Dr Isha DeCoito

Assistant Professor

Profile

I am a graduate of OISE/University of Toronto where I specialized in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, with a focus on science education. Prior to joining the Faculty of Education at Western University, I was an educator at universities in Canada and the United States, including OISE/UT, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, York University, and Wayne State University in Detroit. I have taught science and mathematics in teacher education programs, as well as in the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto.

To date, I have been involved as principal investigator and collaborator on over 16 projects in science and mathematics education. My work in science teacher education — in both in-service and pre-service contexts — has been closely integrated with my scholarship and is strongly influenced by my particular philosophical and methodological positions. My overriding educational goals are to a) make school science more relevant and personally fulfilling for all students, and b) establish connections between other disciplines, such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), while developing 21st century learning skills.

I am the 2014 recipient of the President’s University-Wide Teaching Award at York University.

I am also the past Environmental Education Program Committee Coordinator for the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), and a Guest Editor for an upcoming special issue of The Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education dedicated to STEM education.

Expertise Areas

Research

Essentially, much of my work focuses on enhancing scientific and technological literacy in different contexts for all students, and investigates approaches and tools for improving teaching and learning in and about science, either directly or through professional development initiatives. I have adopted an extensive mix of social science and technical research methodologies in all areas of my research. My research interests include projects organized under the following overarching themes:

  1. Exploring multiliteracies (and multiliteracy pedagogy) including communication and representation of meaning in different contexts.
  2. Promoting inquiry and STEM integration in science.
  3. Exploring and promoting diversity and equity in science education.
  4. International and comparative education.
  5. Teacher professional development which is embedded in most of the research projects, including those dedicated to STEM education, action research, Japanese lesson study, diversity and equity, and inquiry frameworks.

Ongoing and recently completed projects include:

  1. A Longitudinal Study (Phase II): Investigating the Impact of an Outreach Program on Students’ Future Course Selection and STEM Career Choices.
  2. Teaching and Learning Science, Mathematics, and Technology in a Kenyan Context.
  3. Exploring the Development of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Projects in Teacher Education.
  4. A Longitudinal Study (Phase I): Investigating the Impact of an Outreach Program on Students’ Future Course Selection and STEM Career Choices.
  5. Addressing Social Justice through School Gardens.
  6. Developing Teacher Candidates’ Digital Competencies in a Science Education Program.
  7. Scientists in School: Aboriginal Science Outreach Study.
  8. Exploring the Nature of Science through an Online Digital Game.

Recent Publications

Books

DeCoito, I. (forthcoming). Linking Theory and Practice in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education. The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

DeCoito, I. (2009). Improving Teachers' and Students' Nature of Science Conceptions Using Reading and Writing Activities to Reflect on the Nature of Science. Germany: Lambert Academic Publishers.

Chapters In Editd Books

DeCoito, I. (in press). Teaching about the nature of science through digital scientific timelines. In P.D. Morrell and K. Popejoy (Eds.), A few of our favorite things: Teaching ideas for K-12 science methods instructors. The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Refereed Journals

DeCoito, I., & Gitari, W. (in press). Outreach Programs: A Case for Indigenizing Science Education Curriculum. First Nations Perspectives: The Journal of the MFNERC.

DeCoito, I. (2014). Focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in the 21stCentury. Ontario Professional Surveyor, 57(1), 34-36.

Shanahan, M.C., Pedretti, E., DeCoito, I., & Baker, L. (2011). Exploring the responses of underrepresented students in science to an elementary classroom outreach program. School Science and Mathematics, 111(4), 178-191.

Papers in Conference Proceedings

DeCoito, I. (2012). Digital Games in Science Education: Developing Students’ 21st Century Learning Skills. In Z. Karadag and Y. Devecioglu-Kaymakci (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Dynamic, Explorative, and Active Learning (IDEAL) Conference (pp. 159-172). Turkey: Bayburt University. ISBN: 978-605-61893-4-0.

DeCoito, I., DiGiuseppe, M., & Friedberg, J. (2012). The History of Biology™ Examining a Digital Game for Improving Students’ Nature of Science Conceptions and Promoting Student Engagement in Biology. Proceedings of the Future of Education International Conference 2012 (Vol. 1). Italy: Florence. Simonelli Publisher – University Press.

DiGiuseppe, M., & DeCoito, I. (2012). Transforming the story of biology through digital literacies in science teacher education. Proceedings of EDULEARN12 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies 2012. Spain: Barcelona. ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5.

DiGiuseppe, M., DeCoito, I., Bullock, S., vanOostveen, R., & Desjardins, F. (2011). Exploring pre-service teachers’ views regarding use of computer-based technologies in a teacher preparation program. Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference on e-Learning 2011 (Vol. 1) (pp. 461-472). Italy: Rome. IADIS Press.

Academic Conference Proceedings (refereed)

Lorenz, S., Son, H., Jordan, R., & DeCoito, I. (2014, July). STEM-ifying Science in Teacher Education. Innovative Showcase presented at the International Conference of STEM in Education, BC, Canada.

DeCoito, I., Florence, S., Myszkal, P., Richardson, T., & DiLucia, D. (2014, July). Exploring grade 6 girls’ attitudes and interest in STEM. Paper presented at the International Conference of STEM in Education, BC, Canada.

DeCoito, I., Myszkal, P., Richardson, T., DiLucia, D., & Florence, S. (2014, July). Teaching for Relevance: Linking Science Instruction to STEM Career Awareness. Paper presented at the International Conference of STEM in Education, BC.

DeCoito, I. (2014, May). Addressing Social Justice through School Gardens. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Studies in Education, St. Catharines, ON.

DeCoito, I. (2014, May). Engaging Learning Communities through Digital Literacies in Teacher Education. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Studies in Education, St. Catharines, ON.

DeCoito, I. (2014, May). Translating research into practice: Developing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Projects in Teacher Education. Paper presented at the Ministry of Education – Faculties of Education Forum, Toronto, ON.

DeCoito, I., & Gitari, W. (2014, April). Teaching Science in an Aboriginal Context. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA.

Gitari, W., & DeCoito, I. (2014, March). Exploring Aboriginal Students’ Perceptions of Science and Scientists Using the Draw-A-Scientist Test. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Pittsburgh, PA.

DeCoito, I. (2014, February). Inquiry, Integration, Identity, and Innovation: Focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in Teacher Education. Paper presented at OTF/OADE conference, York University.

DeCoito, I., & DiLucia, D. (2014, January). Integrating Technology and Developing Digital Competencies in Science Education. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Science Teacher Education, San Antonio, TX.

DeCoito, I. (2013). School Gardens: Promoting Environmental Awareness and Community Building. Interactive Poster presented at the annual meeting of NARST, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, April 6-9.

DeCoito, I. (2012). Digital games in science education: Developing students’ 21st century learning skills. Paper presented at the International Dynamic, Explorative and Active Learning (IDEAL) Conference, Bayburt, Turkey, July 2-5.

DiGiuseppe, M., & DeCoito, I. (2012). Transforming the story of biology through digital literacies in science. Paper presented at EDULEARN12, the annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Barcelona, Spain, July 2-4.

DeCoito, I., DiGiuseppe, M., & Friedberg, J. (2012). The History of Biology™: Examining a Digital Game for Improving Students’ Nature of Science Conceptions and Promoting Student Engagement in Biology. Paper presented at the International Conference of the Future of Education, Florence, Italy, June 7-8.

DeCoito, I., & DiGiuseppe, M. (2012). Teaching and Learning Science: Digital Games in a Science Teacher Education Program. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Studies in Education, Waterloo, May 27-30.

DiGiuseppe, M., DeCoito, I., & Fazio, X. (2012). Promoting Open Scientific Inquiry: ‘Smarter Science’ Professional Development for Teachers. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Studies in Education, Waterloo, ON, May 27-30.

DiGiuseppe, M., DeCoito, I., & Giza, B. (2012). Exploring Multiliteracies in Science Education Across Three Faculties of Education. Paper presented at the Ministry of Education, Faculties of Education Forum, OISE/UT, Toronto, May 8.

DeCoito, I., DiGiuseppe, M., & Friedberg, J. (2012). Exploring the nature of science through an online digital game. Paper presented at the annual meeting of NARST, Indianapolis, IN, March 25-28.

Curriculum Development

DiGiuseppe, M., DeCoito, I., Fazio, X., Karunakaran, L., Lemieux, M., Petrovich, J. (Canadian Adaptation Team). (2011). Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century. Plant Science Classroom Material for High Schools in Alberta. High School Science Module. BSCS and Nutrients for Life Foundation.

DiGiuseppe, M., DeCoito, I., Fazio, X., Karunakaran, L., Lemieux, M., Petrovich, J. (Canadian Adaptation Team). (2011). Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century. Plant Science Classroom Material for Middle Schools in Alberta. Middle School Science Module. BSCS and Nutrients for Life Foundation.

Technical Reports

DeCoito, I. (DeCoito, I. (2014). A longitudinal Study: Investigating the Impact of an Outreach Program on Students’ Future Course Selection and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Career Choices (Phase I). London: Western University. (127 pages)

DeCoito, I., & Gitari, W. (2013). Scientists in School: Report on Aboriginal Science Outreach Study. Toronto: York University. (75 pages)

DiGiuseppe, M., DeCoito, I., & Fazio, X. (2011). Smarter Science™: A Framework for Inquiry in the Ontario Classroom. Toronto: University of Ontario Institute of Technology. (90 pages).

Teaching and Supervision

Current Courses (2014-2015)

Undergraduate

  • Teaching Science & Technology in the Primary/Junior Divisions

Graduate

  • Diverse Traditions: Approaches to Educational Research
  • Introduction to Multiliteracies Pedagogy

Courses Taught

  • Teaching Science & Technology (Junior/Intermediate)
  • Teaching Biology (Intermediate/Senior)
  • Teaching Science (Intermediate/Senior)
  • Teaching Physics/ Chemistry (Intermediate/Senior)
  • Teaching Environmental Science (Intermediate/Senior)
  • Teaching Math – (Intermediate/Senior)
  • Secondary Methods & Materials to Teaching Science II
  • Developing Skills of Inquiry, Design & Communication
  • Teacher Education Seminar - Action Research
  • Evolution and Adaptation (Faculty of Arts & Science, UT)