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Using Technology to Engage Preservice Elementary Teachers in Learning about Scientific Inquiry

Keywords: Classroom response systems , Clickers , Elementary science education , Scientific inquiry , Technology

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Elementary teachers are often required to teach inquiry in their classrooms despite having had little exposure to inquiry learning themselves. In a capstone undergraduate science course preservice elementary teachers experience scientific inquiry through the completion of group projects, activities, readings and discussion, in order to develop a sense of how inquiry learning takes place. At the same time, they learn science content necessary for teacher licensure. The course exposes students to different pathways of scientific discovery and to the use of the computer both as a tool for conducting inquiry-based investigations and as a means of collecting and sharing student opinions. The students involved have many misconceptions about science and it is often difficult for them to distinguish science from pseudoscience. Computer simulations are used to help students understand that difference. In addition, a classroom response system using “clickers” is used to poll studentopinions on controversial issues and to stimulate discussion.


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