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Effects of Online Argumentative Scientific Inquiry Supported by Computerized Scripts among Elementary Students
argumentative scientific inquiry
science process skills
Abstract The purpose of this dissertation study was to investigate whether computerized scripts can help improve the performance of elementary students in science processes and the construction of quality arguments, and further examine whether the scripts affect the quality and quantity of student arguments during the process of scientific inquiry. This study developed various argumentation assistances that comply with the features of each phase of scientific inquiry. The argumentation assistances were transformed into computerized scripts and incorporated with an online argumentative scientific inquiry system. This study involved two experimental designs. The first investigated the effects of the computerized scripts on students’ science process and argument construction skills after experiencing the process of online argumentative scientific inquiry activity. Two intact classes at an elementary school in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, were assigned to groups with and without computerized scripts, with 26 students in the experimental group and 24 students in the control group. Each student used a tablet computer to connect to the argumentative scientific inquiry system while participating in the scientific inquiry activity. The second experiment further examined the differences between students who used computerized scripts and those who did not in terms of quality and quantity of the arguments they generated during all phases of the process of an online argumentative scientific inquiry activity. One hundred and sixty-two sixth-grade students from six intact classes at an elementary school in Tainan, Taiwan, participated in the scientific inquiry activity. Three classes were assigned to the experimental group (78 students) and the other three classes were assigned to the control group (84 students). Each student used a desktop computer in the computer classroom to participate in the scientific inquiry activity. The findings of the current study support that the computerized scripts had positive effects in improving science process and argument construction skills. In addition, computerized scripts can effectively influence the quality and quantity of arguments that students generated during the process of inquiry. This study provides empirical evidence addressing the effectiveness of integrating computerized scripts into an online argumentative scientific inquiry. Keywords: argumentative scientific inquiry, science process skills, argument construction, computerized scripts
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