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Investigating Students' Inquiry Practices and Learning Strategies in Technology-Enhanced Learning Environments
This longitudinal study aims to examine the effect of technology-infused learning modules on the development of learners' inquiry abilities over time in comparison with the baseline group during a two year period. We developed three learning modules based on the 5E learning cycle in the topics of seasons, environmental issues, and air pollution. Each module took 10-12 periods of class time and was administrated in a different semester. Twenty four seventh graders were in the inquiry group who engaged in three technology-infused learning modules; twenty seven students in the same grade were taught by conventional instruction methods and formed the baseline group over a period of two years. In order to trace learners' inquiry abilities, we developed a test to assess learners’ questioning, planning, analyzing, and modeling abilities. The results showed that the inquiry group performed significantly better than the baseline group in designing feasible experimental procedures, identifying the patterns of data, using scientific principles or concepts to interpret data, describing causal relationships between variables, and conducting a model by synthesizing several relations. The design features for the significantly improved inquiry abilities were identified as synergy of multiple representations, gradual increase of complexity, blending with different supports, and elaborating predictions through POE (predict-observe-explain) cycles.
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