Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 189–206 | Cite as

Learning to Teach Inquiry Science in a Technology-Based Environment: A Case Study

  • Michelle Williams
  • Marcia C. Linn
  • Paul Ammon
  • Maryl Gearhart


This paper reports on a 2-year study designed to investigate the trajectory of change in an urban 5th grade teacher as she introduces science inquiry using the Web-Based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE). Data for this study included videotapes and transcripts of classroom instruction, and audiotapes and transcripts of interviews conducted with the teacher as she was implementing the curriculum. We also conducted retrospective interviews that enabled us to validate our account of the observational-based changes in the teacher's practices. The results suggest that the teacher's classroom practices shifted over time, from a greater focus on logistics to more of an inquiry orientation. The results further suggest that this shift can be attributed to repeated opportunities to teach a WISE curricular unit. They also show that support from the curriculum and other professionals, allowed the teacher to reflect on how her practices support students' learning.

teacher development elementary science technology education 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alberts, B. (2000). Some thoughts of a scientist on inquiry. In Minstrell, J., and van Zee, E. H. (Eds.), Inquiring Into Inquiry Learning and Teaching in Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, pp. 3-13.Google Scholar
  2. Ammon, P., and Black, A. (1998). Development psychology as a guide for teaching and teacher preparation. In Lambert, N. M., and McCombs, B. L. (Eds.), How Students Learn: Reforming Schools Through Learner-Centered Education, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 409-448.Google Scholar
  3. Becker, H., Ravitz, J., and Wong, Y. (1999). Teacher and Teacher-Directed Student Use of Computers and Software, No. 3. Teaching Learning and Computing: 1998 National Survey, Center for Research in Information Technology in Organization, University of California at Irvine, Irvine.Google Scholar
  4. Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., and Cocking, R. R. (1999). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School, National Academy Press, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, A. L., and Palincsar, A. S. (1989). Guided, cooperative learning and individual knowledge acquisition. In Resnick, L. B. (Ed.), Knowing, Learning, and Instruction, Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 393-451.Google Scholar
  6. Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (2002). Connecting learning theory and instructional practice: Leveraging some powerful affordances of technology. In O'Neill, H., and Perez, R. (Eds.), Technology Application in Education: A Learning View, Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 173-209.Google Scholar
  7. Denzin, N. K. (1978). The Research Act: A Theoretical Introduction to Sociological Methods, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Fishman, B., Marx, R., Best, S., and Tal, R. (2003). Linking teacher and student learning to improve professional development in systemic reform. Teaching and Teacher Education 19(6): 643-658.Google Scholar
  9. Ladewski, B. G., Krajcik, J. S., and Harvey, C. L. (1994). A middle grade science teacher's emerging understanding of project-based instruction. Elementary School Journal 94: 499-515.Google Scholar
  10. Lampert, M. (2001). Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching, Yale University Press, New Haven and London.Google Scholar
  11. Li, A. L. (2002). Emerging Patterns of Technology Affordances in Teacher Discourse, Report No. IR-021-422. Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 467501.)Google Scholar
  12. Linn, M. C. (1995). Designing computer learning environments for engineering and computer science: The Scaffolded knowledge integration framework. Journal of Science Education and Technology 4: 103-126.Google Scholar
  13. Linn, M. C., Clark, D., and Slotta, J. D. (2003). WISE design for knowledge integration. Building Sustainable Science Curriculum: Acknowledge and Accommodating Local Adaptation 87: 517-538.Google Scholar
  14. Linn, M. C., diSessa, A., Pea, R. D., and Songer, N. B. (1994). Can research on science learning and instruction inform standards for science education? Journal of Science Education and Technology 3: 7-15.Google Scholar
  15. Linn, M. C., and Eylon, B. S. (1996). Lifelong science learning: A longitudinal case study. In Proceedings of Cognitive Science Society, 1996, Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 597-602.Google Scholar
  16. Linn, M. C., and Hsi, S. (2000). Computers, Teachers, Peers: Science Learning Partners, Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ.Google Scholar
  17. Linn, M. C., and Slotta, J. D. (2000, October). WISE science. Educational Leadership 58: 29-32.Google Scholar
  18. Marx, R., Blumenfeld, P., Krajcik, J., Blunk, M., Crawford, B., Kelly, B., and Meyer, K. (1994). Enacting project-based science: Experiences of four middle grade teachers. Elementary School Journal 94: 517-538.Google Scholar
  19. Merriam, S. B. (1988). Case Study Research in Education: A Qualitative Approach, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  20. Palincsar, A. S., and Brown, A. L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction 1: 117-175.Google Scholar
  21. Pedersen, J. E., and Yerrick, R. K. (2000). Technology in science teacher education: Survey of current uses and desired knowledge among science educators. Journal of Science Teacher Education 11: 131-153.Google Scholar
  22. Rosaen, C. L., and Roth, K. J. (1993). Similarities and Contrasts Between Writing During a Writers' Workshop and Writing in Science: Examining the Teacher's Role, Elementary Subjects Center Series No. 94, Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC. (Eric Document Reproduction Service No. ED 355 547.)Google Scholar
  23. Roth, K. J. (1996). Making learners and concepts central: A learner-centered, conceptual change approach to fifth-grade American history planning and teaching. Advances in Research on Teaching 6: 115-182.Google Scholar
  24. Sherin, M. G. (2000). Facilitating meaningful discussions about mathematics. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 6: 186-190.Google Scholar
  25. Shulman, L. S. (1986a). Those who understand: A conception of teacher knowledge. American Educator 10: 9–15, 43-44.Google Scholar
  26. Shulman, L. S. (1986b). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher 15: 4-14.Google Scholar
  27. Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review 57: 1-22.Google Scholar
  28. Simon, M. A., and Tzur, R. (1999). Explicating the teacher's perspective from the researchers' perspectives: Generating accounts of mathematics teachers' practice. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 30: 252-264.Google Scholar
  29. Slotta, J. D. (2004). The web-based inquiry science environment (WISE): Scaffolding knowledge integration in the science classroom. In Linn, M. C., Davis, E. A., and Bell, P. (Eds.), Internet Environments for Science Education, Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ.Google Scholar
  30. Smith, D. C., and Neale, D. C. (1989). The construction of subject matter knowledge in primary science teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education 5: 1-20.Google Scholar
  31. Tharp, R. G., and Gallimore, R. (1988). Rousing Minds to Life: Teaching, Learning and Schooling in Social Context, Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  32. White, B. Y., and Frederiksen, J. R. (2000). Metacognitive facilitation: An approach to making scientific inquiry accessible to all. In Minstrell, J., and van Zee, E. H. (Eds.), Inquiring Into Inquiry Learning and Teaching in Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, pp. 331-370.Google Scholar
  33. Williams, M., and Linn, M. C. (2002). WISE inquiry in fifth grade biology. Research in Science Education 32: 415-436.Google Scholar
  34. Williams, M., and Linn, M. C. (2003, September). Collaborating with WISE scientists. Science and Children 41: 31-35.Google Scholar
  35. Zembal-Saul, C., Blumenfeld, P., and Krajcik, J. (2000). Influence of guided cycles of planning, teaching and reflection on prospective elementary teachers' science content representations. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 37: 318-339.Google Scholar
  36. Zembal-Saul, C., Krajcik, J., and Blumenfeld, P. (2002). Elementary student teachers' science content representations. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 39: 443-463.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Williams
    • 1
  • Marcia C. Linn
    • 1
  • Paul Ammon
    • 1
  • Maryl Gearhart
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Education, Cognition and Development DepartmentUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeley

Personalised recommendations