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Tan, Daniel Kim-Chwee
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This study seeks to obtain an understanding of the use of dataloggers in secondary schools and junior colleges as well as how teachers use dataloggers to facilitate science inquiry.

A nation-wide survey was carried out in 2004, targeting science teachers from all secondary schools, junior colleges and centralized institute. The scope of the survey covered the profile of schools and teachers using dataloggers, the ways in which dataloggers were used in the science curriculum, roles of pupils and teachers in the data logging activities, how pupils were prepared to work with dataloggers, how they were guided in activities with dataloggers, teachers’ perceptions on the usefulness of dataloggers, the support structures needed as well as the challenges teachers faced in their use of dataloggers.

Responses from 593 teachers from 151 secondary schools and junior colleges indicated that the use of dataloggers in the secondary schools and junior colleges was not pervasive. Teachers generally did not see the relevance of using dataloggers in the science curriculum. Data logging activities were largely teacher-directed with dataloggers used mainly in set experiments and demonstrations. Laboratory technicians, training on how to use dataloggers and the provision of step-by-step instructional manuals were surfaced by respondents as important support structures in their use of dataloggers. Some challenges highlighted by all users included the large amount of time spent on setting up data logging activities, inadequate ICT equipment and facilities as well as technical issues.

The second part of the study was an analysis of a data logging programme designed by a neighbourhood secondary school teacher for a Secondary One science enrichment class. The aim of this part of the study was to provide insights into how the affordances of dataloggers could be tapped for inquiry science and the type of scaffolding by the teacher necessary to engage pupils in data logging activities.

The analysis of the school’s data logging programme revealed it to be content laden rather than process-focused; the element of inquiry was not extensive and affordances of dataloggers not meaningfully tapped. Though pupils were generally able to set up and use the dataloggers for data capture, they were not engaged to think deeply about the activities and their findings. The teacher’s motivation in the use of dataloggers for science learning was clear and some scaffolds were in place to guide pupils through the activities. Some issues which surfaced in the implementation of this inquiry-based programme included the teacher’s ability to conduct and manage inquiry-based lessons as well as technical problems.

Recommendations were put forth to address the issues surfaced from the survey to promote and support more pervasive use of dataloggers in schools. Similarly, suggestions were proposed to improve the data logging programme to further build on its inquiry elements and tap the affordances of dataloggers. Possible future studies in the use of dataloggers in schools were also proposed.
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Q183.4.S55 Sea
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Appears in Collections:Master of Science

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