This chapter presents an overview on the conceptualization of the inquiry-based learning approach, and how the WebQuest, which is a Web-based inquiry-oriented activity, has been designed and developed. It intends to offer a glimpse into student teachers who study in courses of information technology in education at one university in China and one university in the United State with the objectives of: 1) investigating student teachers’ beliefs and opinions related to the WebQuests; and 2) examining the effectiveness of utilizing the concept map to aid student teachers’ WebQuests design and development.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Structural Knowledge: According to Jonassen (2000), “structural knowledge, which connects declarative and procedural knowledge. Structural knowledge is knowledge of how the ideas within a domain are integrated and interrelated” (p. 61).
Teachers’ Beliefs: According to Pajares (1992), beliefs “travel in disguise and often under alias—attitudes, values, judgments, axioms, opinions, ideology, perceptions, conceptions, conceptual systems, preconceptions, dispositions, implicit theories, explicit theories, personal theories, internal mental processes, action strategies, rules of practice, practical principles, perspectives, repertories of understanding, and social strategy, to name but a few that can be found in the literature” (p. 309). Teachers’ beliefs are usually defined as personal constructs that can provide understandings, judgments, and evaluations of teachers’ practices.
Concept Mapping: Concept mapping, which was developed by Joseph D. Novak in the 1960s, is a type of structured conceptualization by representing knowledge in graphs. Knowledge graphs are networks of concepts. Networks consist of nodes (points/vertices) and links (arcs/edges). Nodes represent concepts and links represent the relations between concepts.
Declarative Knowledge: According to Jonassen (2000), declarative knowledge “represents awareness of some object, event, or idea (knowing that). It enables learners to come to know or define, ideas (verbal information or awareness of), and forms the basis for thinking about and using those ideas” (p. 61).
WebQuest: Dodge (1997) defines a WebQuest as “an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. WebQuests are designed to use learners’ time well, to focus on using information rather than looking for it, and to support learners’ thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.”
Procedural Knowledge: According to Jonassen (2000), procedural knowledge “is the knowledge of how to use declarative knowledge—how to solve problems, form plans, and make decisions and arguments (knowing how)” (p. 61).
Inquiry-Based Learning Approach: The inquiry-based learning approach is a student-centered,active learning approach focusing on questioning, critical thinking, and problem solving.