Reflections on web-based inquiry learning in Geography classrooms in Singapore
Chang, C. H. (2007). Reflections on web-based inquiry learning in Geography classrooms in Singapore. Research in Geographic Education, 9(2), 48-73.
We often presume that when we engage a student in a web-based inquiry learning activity, the student will learn more effectively, become more motivated, and attain higher-order learning outcomes. To date, little empirical research has been published to confirm these assumption s. In particular, web based inquiry in the form of WebQuests ™ is widely practiced by teachers in Singapore, largely due to a pervasive evangelistic movement by the educational technology branch in the education ministry. This article puts together reflections about the use of web-based inquiry in the Geography classroom based on some empirical findings. The empirical study which examined how students use the web for an inquiry-based learning activity was conducted within the framework of an activity system, which investigated how the student (subject) interacted with the web (tools) in the learning process (production) to generate the observed learning outcomes (object). This involved the views of teachers as stakeholders (community) and the way the students worked in a group (division of labour). The findings involved issues with student motivation, information seeking behaviour, web access, learning outcomes, cooperative learning, and view s of stakeholders. Amidst the range of issues raised from the results, the findings do provide useful information on how future web-based inquiry learning activities, such as the use of WebQuests™ (Dodge, 1997), can be designed to better support teaching and learning in the Geography classroom.