The effectiveness of a computerised classroom environment
Maor, D. (1991) The effectiveness of a computerised classroom environment. In: 6th Annual Research Forum of the Western Australian Institute for Educational research (WAIER), 30 - 31 August 1991, Edith Cowan University, Claremont.
The purpose of the session is to discuss a study which uses an "interpretive" research methodology together with quantitative data to investigate how students developed inquiry skills using a computerised research database (Birds of Antarctica) and specially designed curriculum material.
The theoretical framework of the study is based on a constructivist epistemology. An interpretive inquiry research methodology was employed to interpret students' and teachers' engagement in sense making, and negotiating meaning. The results of a test of inquiry skills provided supportive data which helped to answer the main research question of how students develop inquiry skills.
An increase in students' levels of thinking and the use of higher-level inquiry skills occurred mainly in classes where discussions and negotiations of meaning became an integral part of the learning processes. In these classes, students were able to generate higher-level questions and design complex investigations while interacting with the database. These classes also were characterised by significant gains in achievement as measured by the inquiry skills tests.
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