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Teacher epistemology and scientific inquiry in computerized classroom environments

Maor, D. and Taylor, P.C. (1995) Teacher epistemology and scientific inquiry in computerized classroom environments. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 32 (8). pp. 839-854.

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A 20-week classroom-based study was conducted to investigate the extent to which a computerized learning environment could facilitate students' development of higher-level thinking skills associated with scientific inquiry. In two classes students' interactions with a scientific data base—Birds of Antarctica—were closely monitored, and the mediating roles of the teachers' epistemologies were examined. Interpretive data were generated and analyzed in relation to a constructivist perspective on learning. In the class where the teacher implemented a constructivist-oriented pedagogy, students took advantage of enhanced opportunities to generate creative questions and conduct complex scientific investigations. These higher-level thinking skills were much less evident in the class in which a more transmissionist-oriented pedagogy prevailed. The results of the study suggest that it is not the computer itself that facilitates inquiry learning; the teacher's epistemology is a key mediating influence on students' use of the computer as a tool of scientific inquiry.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: 1995 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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