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Lord, Thomas and Terri Orkwiszewski. (2006) Didactic to Inquiry-Based Instruction in a Science Laboratory. The American Biology Teacher 68 (6): 342-45.

Lord and Orkwiszewski discuss the ramifications of inquiry based science laboratories.They performed a study that compared performance in an inquiry based laboratory compared to a cookbook using several hundred studies. While there results supported the value of inquiry methods the paper was particularly valuable for me because of the tools used for the analysis.Pre and post tests were required of all students participating.Assessment tools will be particularly important to determine the degree to which specific assignments produce specific outcomes.The weekly testing on comprehension and the amount of time concepts resonated with specific students could also be an important gauge for student learning.Also important is the conclusion from the written comments that students will love or hate any method you give them based on previous experience, what they perceive as reasonable demands and degree of engagement in higher education.Overall a very nicely presented study that provides important data in support of inquiry in college laboratories.

Rogers, Meredith A. Park and Sandra K. Abell. (2008) The design, enactment, and experience of inquiry-based instruction in undergraduate science education: A case study. Science Education 92(4): 591-607

The Rogers and Abell paper provides an introduction to inquiry methods and its development over the past forty years including discussion of the terminology used in inquiry based methods.They note that while inquiry has been discussed by science educators since the nineteen sixties there has been little data collected on the outcomes achieved with this specific set of teaching methods.The journal article provided a study on inquiry based instruction for a smaller group of students than the Lord and Orkwiszewski paper.They used a number of assessment tools within the classroom and outside of the classroom that would be useful for collecting data on student learning outcomes and achievement rather than simple course grades.Their focus was on learning for non-majors.Their conclusion was that the experience allowed students to gain a better perspective on the process of science rather than facts of science.Their approach will be helpful when I hone my hypothesis as I teach both majors and non majors using a variety of approaches in each classroom.

Basey, John, Loren Sackett, and Natalie Robinson. 2008. Optimal science lab design: Impacts of various components of lab design on students’ attitudes towards lab.International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 2(1): 1-15.

This paper does a great job of aligning instructional goals with intended outcome.There are two issues that must be addressed before one can develop a hypothesis regarding the use of a specific technique in the classroom.First is what does one intend the outcome of a specific experience to be and then second are the students achieving that.This requires different tools than are the students engaged in the materials.Effective teaching will require identifying intended outcomes of the use of authentic research in the classroom and designing the assessment tools to determine whether the outcomes were achieved.The paper focuses on research that would allow users to identify “optimal science lab design” based on the student achievement given a specific set of required outcomes.Assessment tools necessary for developing the optimal lab design are described, which will provide a new set of tools that can be evaluated for use in my project.

Jenkins, Alan and Mick Healey.2005.Institutional strategies to link teaching and research.Higher Education Academy, York, United Kingdom.68 Pp.

The paper presented an argument for integrating research into the educational system.The benefits associated with use of research in the classroom are discussed and the conflicts with institutional assessment of performance are also addressed.The means by which institutions can begin to move towards blending teaching and research and the outcomes of such movement are addressed.The content is important for introducing the concepts that authentic research will improve the laboratory environment.As with several other papers it was not the content of the paper that will be helpful with the study but in identifying the source of the material.The Higher Education Academy has a wealth of information on teaching however in this case there are a large number of resources that emphasize the utility of research in the classroom.

Improving undergraduate education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Report of a workshop.National Academy of Sciences.176 Pp.

The report focuses on the outcome of a workshop wherein educators discussed mechanisms by which undergraduate STEM education could be improved.Each of the chapters has information that is worthwhile with regards to improving classroom experiences and learning outcomes for students.The specific challenges addressed in the document are how to measure learning in undergraduate STEM courses, how to create criteria and benchmarks to assess instruction using these measurements, and how such a framework could be used at the institutional level to bring about change in STEM education.As assessment tools will be important for conducting a study on learning outcomes tools will be important.However as important are the thoughts in this document on organizing your ideas regarding appropriate and achievable outcomes for students and the experiences that others have had in this arena. This report was also important in my investigation for research materials because it led me to the important resources available from the National Academy of Sciences.

Cusick, Judy. (2001) Practicing Science: The Investigative Approach in College Science Teaching. An NSTA Press Journals Collection. National Science Teachers Association, Arlington, VA. 71 pp.

While I have not read the entire collection the document provides a wealth of examples of how to bring inquiry to the classroom both with research and other activities.It provides messages on skill development, benefits of specific approaches, pitfalls, and lessons on how to improve content learning in a wide range of classrooms across a wide range of disciplines.The great value of this particular piece is that it lead me to the great resources available thought the NSTA.

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