Learning by use of digital environments (PhD project)
The studies that target the investigation of the role of digital resources in the learning process have attracted particular interest lately. These studies present scientific evidence of students’ learning, therefore the research focused on the process of knowledge design has become of a high priority.
About the project
The project will make its contribution in identifying and outlining benefits of using ICT-means in the inquiry based learning in Science and language studies. I would like to focus on the process of forming new knowledge, trace and analyse how students create understanding of scientific concepts when using ICT tools in the setting of the inquiry based learning.
My PhD studies have a strong connection with the project Ark & App. The data that is going to be used for the analysis in my PhD studies will to be collected during the field work within the frame of this project.
In my project I will explore the following research questions:
- How do digital means contribute to the inquiry based learning?
- How do we identify the role of the teacher in the technology driven inquiry based learning process?
- How is the process of the technology driven inquiry based learning in Science different from the inquiry based learning in language studies? Are there any similarities between these learning processes?
- The summary of the research and the analysis I am going to conduct in the frame of my project will lead to detailed description of the following aspects:
- Thorough analysis of the process of forming new knowledge in the setting of the technology driven inquiry based learning.
- Identifying and describing the role of the teacher as a facilitator of the ICT-driven inquiry based learning and an important creator of sociocultural conditions in class.
- Analysis of practices and outlining benefits and limitations of the ICT-driven inquiry based learning in language studies. Identifying similarities and differences between the technology driven inquiry based learning in Science and in English classes.
Despite the fact that the inquiry based learning can be realized as solitude work, in the project it is intended to investigate sociocultural aspects of this process. Therefore I will look at the inquiry based learning as a highly sociocultural process; mechanism of learning is the result of social collaboration and mutual discussions. According to the sociocultural theory of Lev Vygotsky the process of learning of a child is only possible as a result of communication with other individuals: [One cannot express himself more clearly that the necessity in the logical thinking and the understanding of the essence itself rises from the communication and interaction of a child’s mind with other minds…. An objectiveness of a physical body that we meet in our experiment is being established on the base of mutual check and co-existence of mutual opinions, in fact a physical world- is a socially adjusted, socially harmonized and socially organized experience]. (Vygostky,1934, in my translation).
The central point of the analysis in my investigation is the social communication in the process of digitally driven inquiry based learning. The empirical material for the investigation will therefore be video records of the lessons where digital means are used in the inquiry based learning. I will primarily analyze the process of communication happening among the participants. A special focus will be given to the discussions and conversations where students construct new knowledge and come to understanding of scientific phenomena. Particular interest will meet the discussions around the digital means used in the inquiry based learning. I would like to trace the process of how students form new knowledge when the digital simulations are in the center of their investigations. The method of Interaction Analysis is going to be used to analyse the video data.
Qualitative interviews of the students participated in the activities and the teachers facilitated the same activities in the setting of the inquiry based learning are going to be conducted. This will give me the first-hand appreciation and their opinion on the process of knowledge construction happened in the lesson.
I would like to present my findings in the form of scientific articles which I hope to be published in the educational journals or online.