An Inquiry-Based Contextual Approach as the Primary Mode of Learning Science with Microcomputer-Based Laboratory Technology
Journal of Educational Technology Systems Volume 38, Number 4, ISSN 0047-2395
Science instruction can be designed to be laboratory-data driven. We report on an investigation of the use of thematic inquiry-based tasks with active incorporation of mathematics, science, and microcomputer-based laboratory technology in standards-correlated activities that enhanced learning experiences. Activities involved students in two major contexts: forensic science investigations and environmental science issues. The core of the project consisted of an analysis of students' proficiency in dealing with discipline-specific content, and of their development of critical thinking process skills. Significant gains were observed in both content proficiency and improvement on critical thinking skills, most noticeably those involving meta-cognitive processes. An interesting and unexpected feature of tool use emerged from the data that provides exciting opportunities for further research. The results provide evidence that such an instructional approach can have a dramatic impact on the development of students' mastery of content and laboratory performance measures of the science material that they encounter. (Contains 7 figures and 2 tables.)
Espinoza, F. & Quarless, D. (2010). An Inquiry-Based Contextual Approach as the Primary Mode of Learning Science with Microcomputer-Based Laboratory Technology. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 38(4), 407-426.