"Virtual Inquiry" in the Science Classroom: What is the Role of Technological Pedagogial Content Knowledge?

"Virtual Inquiry" in the Science Classroom: What is the Role of Technological Pedagogial Content Knowledge?

Eva Erdosne Toth (West Virginia University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2009041008

Abstract

The article examines prior research on students’ difficulties with inquiry learning and outlines research-based decisions for the consideration of software-based scaffolds for inquiry teaching and learning. The objective is to detail research findings in a way that assists teachers in their development of pedagogical content knowledge as relevant to the selection and use of technological tools for classroom inquiry in the high school biology or college introductory biology classrooms. Employing a worked-out-example in the popular domain of DNA science, the article illustrates the research-based integration of instructional design decisions coordinated with the features of selected software tools. The coordination of software-design with instructional design has the potential of significantly enhancing students’ learning while also supporting the development of teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge.
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Theoretical Grounding

The theoretical grounding for this article is provided by prior research in three areas of study: (1) students’ difficulties of learning authentic science via complex inquiry, (2) software design principles to support inquiry-learning and (2) prior theories about how teachers’ organize their knowledge for teaching. Research from these areas is examined below in order to set the stage for the analysis of instructional design decisions illustrated by a worked-out-example focusing on gel-electrophoresis and the use of a virtual laboratory.

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