Online resource-based learning environment: Case studies in primary classrooms

Wing Mui Winnie SO, Ngai Ying CHING

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Aim: This paper discusses the creation of learning environments with online resources by primary school teachers for pupil's learning of science-related topics with reference to the resource-based e-learning environments (RBeLEs) framework. The reasons for the teachers to choose particular contexts, resources, tools, and scaffolds in designing the learning environments are considered. Evaluation by the teachers and opinions from the pupils regarding the teaching and learning in the learning environments are also included. Methodology: The teaching designs of three upper primary science-related topics were analysed using the four components of RBeLEs framework: creation of contexts, selection of resources, design of tools, and adoption of scaffolds. The three teaching designs were "Climate in China", "Connection and movements of bones", and "Hong Kong climate". The underpinning rationale and the post-lesson reflection on the designs by the teachers were captured through interviews with the three teachers who developed the teaching designs. Pupils' feelings about learning in the RBeLEs were revealed from interviews after the lessons. Results: From the analysis of the teaching designs, it was discovered that the contexts were mostly determined by the teachers according to the curriculum and textbooks; only one teacher also incorporated some current issues. For online resources, two teachers made use of both dynamic and static resources from different sources, and one teacher only selected static resources. To foster pupils' learning, the teachers adopted tools for various tasks, including tools for processing information, searching and seeking, collecting information and data, organising, collaborating and integrating, and communicating. Different types of scaffolds were also designed to support pupils in asking and discussion, searching and selecting, doing and observing, and summarising and conceptualising while learning in the RBeLEs. As revealed from interviews before the lessons, the teachers had given careful consideration to selecting online resources. Not only did the teachers give deeper thought to how the online resources could be used to promote pupils' learning, but they also matched them with appropriate tools for information/data manipulation and took into account the scaffolds needed. Nonetheless, the teachers mentioned after the lessons that they had over-estimated pupils' ability to handle the online resources and make meaning out of the information/data collected. After the lessons, the pupils indicated that they were generally in favour of learning with the online resources, saying that the lessons were made more interesting. However, challenges in interacting with the online resources and using the tools were also mentioned, such as failing to locate the information needed and to provide answers to the questions. Conclusion: Differences shown in the teachers' attempts to design learning environments with online resources for the three science-related topics suggest that the RBeLEs framework could be flexibly implemented and that further study on its applicability is recommended. Challenges encountered by pupils when learning in the RBeLEs also warrants attention to the extent of scaffolding needed as well as the level of resources and tools selected.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Citation

So, W. M., & Ching, N. Y. (2010, December). Online resource-based learning environment: Case studies in primary classrooms. Paper presented at the Global Chinese Conference on Science Education 2010, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.

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