How technology resources can be used to represent personal inquiry and support students' understanding of it across contexts

Scanlon, E.; Anastopoulou, S.; Kerawalla, L. and Mulholland, P. (2011). How technology resources can be used to represent personal inquiry and support students' understanding of it across contexts. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(6) pp. 516–529.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00414.x

Abstract

The Personal Inquiry project is an investigation into the role that technologies can play in enabling effective inquiry. Whilst it is generally agreed that inquiry based learning has potential for student learning, especially in science, three main challenges remain. The first is to provide effective support for inquiry learning, for both students and teachers; the second is to be able to support inquiry learning across a range of contexts including formal settings such as classrooms and informal settings such as the home and the final challenge is to support inquiries that engage the students.This paper addresses how inquiry based activities for students and the teacher orchestration of such activities across time and contexts can be supported by technology, using scripting. Personalisation of the inquiries in terms of relevance and providing students with choice about the inquiries they carry out is an important part of the project’s objective to engage students. A framework for the inquiry learning process is presented and how this framework has influenced the design of the software nQuire is illustrated. Examples are drawn from trials with the software in several different settings with children working on science and geography investigations.

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