Using Virtual Labs in an Inquiry Context
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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The present study employed two different Go-Lab tools. These tools were used by primary school students to carry out successive learning tasks during experimentation. The first tool assisted learners in formulating hypotheses, while the second guided students in experimental design. Both tools were designed to take into account the trade-offs between structuring and problematizing student inquiry. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of each tool separately, as well as the combined effect of the tools in supporting student work. Participants were 41 fifth graders from two classes of a public primary school in Cyprus. They were randomly assigned to four conditions: Condition 1 involved the use of both tools, Condition 2 included the hypothesis tool only, Condition 3 included the experiment design tool only, and Condition 4 had no tools provided. The students in the conditions including one of the two tools outperformed the condition with no tools in the corresponding skill scaffolded by the tool. The cumulative effect of both tools seems to have been greater than the effect of each tool separately.