The Implementation of e-Networks to Support Inquiry Learning in Science

  • P. John Williams
  • K. Otrel-Cass
  • E. Khoo
  • B. Cowie
  • K. Saunders
  • S. Van Der Merwe


The successful implementation of an e-networked and information and communication technology (ICT)-supported science inquiry learning approach in secondary classrooms is dependent on a range of factors within the milieu of teacher, school and students. The teacher must have a clear understanding of the goals of the activity, the school leadership must provide effective technological infrastructure and sympathetic curriculum parameters, and the students need to be carefully scaffolded to the point of engaging with the inquiry process.

This chapter is based on the findings from a 2-year Teaching and Learning Research Initiative project—Networked Inquiry Learning in Secondary Science classrooms (NILSS)—which involved collaboration with six junior secondary science teachers in three New Zealand schools to support and investigate their planning and implementation of inquiry learning projects.

Within the study, e-networks motivated students to exercise agency, collaborate and co-construct knowledge using a wide range of resources for meaning making and expression of ideas. These outcomes were, however, contingent on the interplay of teacher organization and school provision of an effective technological infrastructure and support for flexible curriculum design.


e-Networks ICT Inquiry learning Collaboration Student agency 



This chapter is derived from a research project titled Networked Inquiry Learning in Secondary Science classrooms (NILSS) which was funded in 2010–2012 by the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) and was reported at: The project was led in 2011 by Kathrin Otrel-Cass and in 2012 by P. John Williams.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. John Williams
    • 1
  • K. Otrel-Cass
    • 2
  • E. Khoo
    • 3
  • B. Cowie
    • 3
  • K. Saunders
    • 3
  • S. Van Der Merwe
    • 3
  1. 1.Technology, Environment, Maths and Science Education Research CentreUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Aalborg University, DenmarkDenmarkNew Zealand
  3. 3.University of Waikato, HamiltonHamiltonNew Zealand

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