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Networked science inquiry: An investigation in junior secondary science classrooms

Research team: John Williams, Elaine Khoo, Bronwen Cowie and Kathy Saunders together with six teachers and their Year 9 and 10 students.

Project Dates: 2011 - 2013

This research project aims to explore and theorise how inquiry teaching and learning in junior secondary science can be supported through e-networked environments such as blogs or e-mail and how online resources accessed through the Internet can afford individual and group exploration of content, skills and resources. The project is funded through a Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) with a focus on ways to address how science education can be made more relevant to and responsive to the needs and interests of students from diverse backgrounds.

Overall, the project goals are to

  • describe the social construction of knowledge when diverse students are involved in individual or group science inquiries that are both face to face and supported through networked online environments, and
  • put forward a framework for understanding inquiry learning in science classrooms underpinned by activity theory.

For further information visit theTLRI



Project outputs

Intentions poster (PDF 92.11 KB)

Williams, J., Cowie, C., Khoo, E., Saunders, K., Taylor, S., & Otrel-Cass, K. (2013). Networked inquiry learning in secondary science classrooms. Summary report. Wellington, New Zealand: Teaching Learning Research Initiative. (PDF 808.7 KB)

The Utube video clips are one of the outcomes of an inquiry activity in one of the schools. The students worked in groups, and were to produce a video clip which represented an ethical inquiry into a social issue in chemistry. The projects will be marked according to the level of science understanding (especially chemistry) as well as the justification of students' decisions and their ethical considerations. Artistic ability would not be a consideration although the 'hit rate' on Utube will be considered, but will not have a large influence on the marks.

Presentations, conferences and workshops

Otrel-Cass, K., Khoo, E., Cowie, B., Williams, J., Saunders, K., & Taylor, S. (2012, April 26–27). Using Moodle for inquiry-based activities: Tracing changing classroom practices. Paper presented at The Fibonacci Project 2nd European Conference, "Inquiry Based Science & Mathematics Education: Bridging the gap between education research and practice". University of Leicester, United Kingdom;

Khoo, E., Williams, J., Otrel-Cass, K., Cutler, D., Ballard, M., & Critchley, J. (2012, July 1–4). Observing, recording, and reviewing: Using mobile phones in support of science inquiry. Paper presented at The 43rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA), University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

Saunders, K., Khoo, E., Otrel-Cass, K., Taylor, S., Cutler, D., Andrews, S., Taylor, C., Dudli, S., & Critchley, J. (2012, July 1–4). "We were learning from each other": E-tools that support science inquiry. Paper presented at the NZASE Science Conference 2012 (SciCon 2012), University of Auckland, New Zealand.

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