Creating Personal Meaning through Technology-Supported Science Inquiry Learning across Formal and Informal Settings

Stamatina Anastopoulou, Mike Sharples, Shaaron Ainsworth, Charles Crook, Claire O'Malley, Michael Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, a novel approach to engaging students in personal inquiry learning is described, whereby they carry out scientific investigations that are personally meaningful and relevant to their everyday lives. The learners are supported by software that guides the inquiry process, extending from the classroom into the school grounds, home, or outdoors. We report on a case study of personal inquiry learning with 28 high school students on the topic of healthy eating. An analysis of how the personal inquiry was enacted in the classroom and at home, based on issues identified from a study of interviews with the students and their teacher, is provided. The outcomes showed that students were alerted to challenges associated with fieldwork and how they responded to the uncertainty and challenge of an open investigation. The study, moreover, raised an unexpected difficulty for researchers of finding the 'sweet spot' between scientifically objective but unengaging inquiry topics, and ones that are personally meaningful but potentially embarrassing. Implications for further research are shaped around ways of overcoming this difficulty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-273
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume34
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jun 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

Keywords

  • Design study
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Inquiry-based teaching
  • Science education
  • Secondary school
  • Technology-enhanced learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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