Teachers’ designs of web-based inquiry learning environments as a probe for inquiry teaching and learning frameworks
Constantinou, Constantinos P.
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A growing number of studies have reported that teachers face many challenges in conceptualizing and enacting inquiry–based teaching and learning. Even though teacher designed approaches are considered an important pathway that could assist teachers in dealing with important aspects of inquiry based-teaching, the development of relevant tools that can scaffold teachers in this process has not received appropriate attention. The purpose of this study was to examine how teachers designed web-based inquiry learning environments on a specific platform that allows them to structure content, and provide technology-realized scaffolding in a variety of ways. Participants in the study were ten graduate students enrolled in a science teacher preparation course. Data were collected using multiple methods and analyzed qualitatively. Our analyses show that the process of design provided a valuable vehicle for teachers’ challenges and approaches to surface and be realized. Teachers’ designs shared common characteristics, as a result of the scaffolding they received through the course; nevertheless varied in the way pedagogical and epistemological characteristics of inquiry-based learning were weaved together in inquiry sequences and tasks. The results of the study provide implications for the design of tools that will address the diverse needs of teachers and provide them with scaffolding in designing technologically enhanced inquiry-based learning environments.