Week seven of CEP811 is waning, and this has been a very busy week for me. I was in San Antonio Tuesday through Friday for a conference and then came back with a cold. Luckily, this week was manageable because of all the reading I needed to do. Below is a collection of articles I found through the MSU library that focus on inquiry learning, science education, and using digital tools to accomplish those tasks.
Bell, R.L. (2005). Whole-class inquiry: science. Learning & Leading with Technology. 32-8, 45-47. Retrieved from the ProQuest Research Library.
This article considers three modes of instruction in a science classroom: textbook, hands-on using technology, and whole-class inquiry. Teaching a textbook gives concise, but narrow explanations of the concept to be learned. Hands-on work is more effective, but relies on careful planning and pre-instruction from the teacher. Whole-class inquiry increases engagement and allows students to build knowledge through shared experience.
A former teacher, Bell recognizes that the research in deploying new technologies in schools has not been done (at the time). He recognizes that appropriate questions and the data are going to inform best practice in the future. His experience as a science teacher informs his methods of instruction for pre-service teachers.
Horvath, L.C. (2008). Tangled up in inquiry: Documenting pre-service teachers perspectives on inquiry as they reflect on the process of planning and teaching inquiry-based lessons. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertations Publishing.
This dissertation studied pre-service science teachers’ perceptions of inquiry learning both before and after teaching an inquiry-based lesson. 13 teachers were followed and 84 distinct characteristics were compiled by the study. 10 of the 13 teachers interviewed showed significant shifts in their perceptions of inquiry learning. Common characteristics found in the study included students gathering and analyzing data, problem solving, group work, and asking questions. The author noted that inquiry instruction being included in pre-service training would be beneficial during student teaching.
Tessier, J. (2010). An Inquiry-Based Biology Laboratory Improves Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Attitudes About Science. Journal of College Science Teaching. 39-6, 84-90. Retrieved from the ProQuest Research Library.
This study looked at pre-service elementary teachers during their college biology class. The author was interested in student satisfaction in their experience of inquiry-based learning and the likelihood for the students to use similar methods in their teaching. This was done in response to the loss of time in elementary science classrooms. A statistically significant portion of students new to inquiry learning said they would most likely use the method in their own classroom. The author suggests that inquiry-based learning should be a part of pre-service teacher training.
Padilla, M. (2010). Inquiry, Process Skills, and Thinking in Science. Science and Children. 48-2, 8-9. Retrieved from the ProQuest Research Library.
This brief article noted the differences between “inquiry” and “process skills.” According to Padilla, the two are often confused by teachers. He says that inquiry should include indicators such as students asking questions, designing procedures, collecting evidence (data), forming explanations, and describing the results. Process skills can lead to inquiry, but are not synonymous. He suggest teachers improve their questioning but also encourages silence from the instructor to encourage student thinking.
Cartier, J.L.; Stewart, J; Zoellner, B. (2006). Modeling & Inquiry in a High School Genetics Class. The American Biology Teacher. 68-6, 334-340. Retrieved from the ProQuest Research Library.
This is a case study from a high school genetics class which used inquiry-based learning to help students learn concepts about genetics. The authors adapted their current curriculum to guide students through the process of uncovering genetic principles. The authors also stress the importance of developing a “scientific community,” in which everyone is a member and helps construct knowledge. They state that the inquiry method would not have been successful without building the community of learning first.
I need to admit right up front that I’m a “just Google it” person by nature. That’s where most of my searches begin. (That being said, the Google Scholar resource is pretty awesome.) Libraries are such a great resource, and having been out of school for a while, it is nice to be able to access research articles that are typically behind paywalls or subscription services. The ProQuest database and ERIC were extremely helpful, as were the search tools. I started with keywords like “science education” and “inquiry learning” and then refined from there. At one point, I did have a question about obtaining print materials, so I hopped in the 24/7 live chat and got an answer right away. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the request in early enough to include the article in this post, but I’m excited to read it.