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Durham Research Online
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Personal inquiry : orchestrating science investigations within and beyond the classroom.

Sharples, Mike and Scanlon, Eileen and Ainsworth, Shaaron and Anastopoulou, Stamatina and Collins, Trevor and Crook, Charles and Jones, Ann and Kerawalla, Lucinda and Littleton, Karen and Mulholland, Paul and O’Malley, Claire (2015) 'Personal inquiry : orchestrating science investigations within and beyond the classroom.', Journal of the learning sciences., 24 (2). pp. 308-341.

Abstract

A central challenge for science educators is to enable young people to act as scientists by gathering and assessing evidence, conducting experiments, and engaging in informed debate. We report the design of the nQuire toolkit, a system to support scripted personal inquiry learning, and a study of its use with school students ages 11–14. This differs from previous work on inquiry learning by its emphasis on learners investigating topics of personal significance supported by a computer-based toolkit to guide school pupils through an entire inquiry process that connects structured learning in the classroom with discovery and data collection at home or outdoors. Findings from the studies indicate that the toolkit was successfully adopted by teachers and pupils in contexts that included teacher-directed lessons, an after-school club, field trips, and learner-managed homework. It effectively supported the transition between individual, group, and whole-class activities and supported learning across formal and informal settings. We discuss issues raised by the intervention studies, including how the combination of technology and pedagogy provided support for the teacher despite difficulties in managing the technology and integrating field data into a classroom lesson. We also discuss the difficulty of altering young people’s attitudes to science.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1080/10508406.2014.944642
Publisher statement:Published with license by Taylor & Francis© Mike Sharples, Eileen Scanlon, Shaaron Ainsworth, Stamatina Anastopoulou, Trevor Collins, Charles Crook, Ann Jones, Lucinda Kerawalla, Karen Littleton, Paul Mulholland, and Claire O’Malley This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:14 March 2018
Date of first online publication:09 December 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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