Design and Implementation of Scientific Inquiry using Technology in a Teacher Education Program

Rachel S. Sheffield, Leonie McIlvenny

Abstract


Two hundred and fifteen pre-service teachers engaged in a scientific inquiry unit in the newly created Bachelor of Primary and Early Childhood Education course at an Australian university This paper discusses how the Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) model provided the conceptual framework to create an online inquiry unit. The unit enabled students to research an authentic problem focusing on environmental sustainability using an inquiry framework and an array of information and communication technology (ICT) tools. The survey data collected at the conclusion of the unit indicated that 90 % of students thought the unit improved their understanding of the inquiry process and 88% reported more confidence in their understanding of science concepts. Ninety four percent of students reported an increase in their knowledge and confidence of Web 2.0 tools in supporting scientific inquiry in science. The research determined that the online inquiry improved students’ knowledge and confidence in the skills and processes associated with inquiry and in science concepts. It will, however, not replace more traditional hands-on investigative approaches but will provide another valuable tool to teach interesting and engaging science.

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