Scaffolding Teacher Students´ Inquiry Learning in Science Education with ICT

By Jari Kukkonen, Sirpa Kärkkäinen, Anu Hartikainen-Ahia and Tuula Keinonen.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

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Inquiry learning has been found to be effective in science learning, particularly when properly scaffolded. Learner’s support must be carefully orchestrated and scaffolding is needed when their performance involves working with technological tools. This paper aims to present three scaffolded inquiry learning cases in science education. In the first case, which was related to winter ecology, teacher students studied how to conduct different phases of an inquiry and reflected on how to perform inquiry-based teaching scaffolded with blogs. Teacher students gained confidence in carrying out different activities belonging to the inquiry and the blogs enabled them to follow both their own study process and that of the other groups; this in turn enabled them to reflect on the inquiry learning process. In the second case, Google-Sites case descriptions and presentation templates were used as scaffolds, to help teacher students in their inquiry concerning medicine education. The scaffolding helped in focusing on the most relevant information. In the third case, there was an experiment to find out how laboratory work, modeling and scaffolding with the pre-structured Wiki environment, helped teacher students in studying the modeling of fish anatomy and adaptation into water. In each of the three cases it was found that during inquiry learning, teacher students experienced that they benefitted from scaffolding with social software and knowledge artifacts.

Keywords: Scaffold, Case Studies, Social software

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.131-145. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 312.298KB).

Jari Kukkonen

Project Researcher, Department of Applied Education, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland, Finland

MSc (Mathematics), currently a project researcher and has worked in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) in education since 1990. Jari Kukkonen’s main interest is in the use of ICT in education, teacher learning.

Dr. Sirpa Kärkkäinen

Lecturer, School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland

Doctor Sirpa Kärkkäinen is a Senior Lecturer in Biology and Geography at the University of Eastern Finland. She works with primary and secondary school teacher students focusing on science education especially biology, geography and environmental education. Her research areas focus on Teacher education especially at the primary school level, in particular inquiry based learning and collaborative learning. In addition, more current research deals with issues such as informal learning environments, collaborative inquiry learning with social software, education about medicines and education for sustainable development (plant identification, biodiversity). She has taught biology and geography for nine years in a variety of secondary schools. Her qualifications are M.Sc. in Biology (1992) and Ph.D in Education (2004) concerning biology didactics and ecology.

Anu Hartikainen-Ahia

lecturer, Philosophical Faculty, School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland

Prof. Tuula Keinonen

Professor, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland

Since 1998, she has been working as a professor of education. Mainly she works with the primary school teacher students. Her research interests are in teacher education, environmental and science education and she prefers research in physics and chemistry education due to her background in physics. However, working in all levels of education is among her interests.