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Teaching Science with Web-Based Inquiry Projects: An Exploratory Investigation

Aubree M. Webb, Stephanie L. Knight, X. Ben Wu and Jane F. Schielack
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Aubree M. Webb: The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
Stephanie L. Knight: The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
X. Ben Wu: Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
Jane F. Schielack: College of Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (IJVPLE), 2014, vol. 5, issue 2, 57-68

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to explore a new computer-based interactive learning approach to assess the impact on student learning and attitudes toward science in a large university ecology classroom. A comparison was done with an established program to measure the relative impact of the new approach. The first inquiry project, BearCam, gives learners the freedom to navigate bear images and videos online to complete a scientific report. The new program, Virtual Ecological Inquiry (VEI), is based in the Second-Life platform and allows students to create an avatar and explore the Wolong Nature Reserve, collecting plant and environmental data in virtual form. Both inquiry projects show potential to engage learners and promote the acquisition of investigative practices and processes within inquiry. Inquiry assessment methods and changes to the VEI program are shared.

Date: 2014
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