About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6914-6922
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0580

Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain

ACTIVITY THEORY AS THE FRAMEWORK FOR INQUIRY-BASED SIMULATIONS

A. Michaloudis, A. Molohidis, E. Hatzikraniotis

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GREECE)
Our work focuses on a research contacted in Greece with secondary school students, about the effectiveness of inquiry teaching with simulations. Students’ actions in simulations are recorded in order to study the learning paths they followed, from the perspective of Activity Theory, which is the general framework supporting our method. Specifically, educational simulations were designed to support media-enhanced problems for the students, who are asked to solve these problems by themselves, at school’s pc-lab or at home.

The implementation of the simulation series was made in such a way to promote inquiry. Simulations follow an inquiry continuum, consisted of four levels of inquiry, with the first level (closed) to be a cookbook type activity with maximum guidance and cognitive support by the teacher and minimum responsibilities for the students, and gradually shifting to the fourth level (open), where students have the responsibility for all aspects of the activity, with zero to minimum guidance.

The levels of inquiry and the actions performed by students are determined by the worksheets, which implement the inquiry continuum. For this purpose and in order to attract students’ interest, our worksheets follow a Predict-Observe-Explain structure. The Predict part of the method tries to trigger inquiry and prepare students for the activity, the Observe part also includes the activity and the experimental part, while the Explain part imprints the conceptual change made by the process.

The design of the simulations follow the pattern “action (phenomenon) panel” – “control panel” – “representations (graphic plot) panel” and incorporates the recording of students’ actions (clicks), giving us hints for students’ way of thinking and the paths they follow in order to complete the worksheets. All actions that students make in the simulations are divided into 3 categories related to the structure of the simulation, namely clicks on action, clicks on graphic plot and clicks on the control panel, like handling the simulation (play, pause) or setting parameters or enabling visual tools (vectors, trajectory) or selecting a graphic plot.

The theoretical framework adopted is the Activity Theory, which is suitable to describe all aspects of students’ actions and can work supportively for teachers and designers. In our case, simulations is the tool, subject is the student, who may work alone (community of one) or in group, rules are defined by the level of inquiry in worksheets, and division of (internal) labor is the categorization of the above mentioned categories of student’s actions (clicks). The object is solving problems with the help of simulations and the goal is obtaining knowledge and skills, as problem solving, process design and critical thinking.

The recording of the actions made in the simulations focuses in the hierarchical levels of an activity (activity-action-operation) and the path that students follow to solve the problem. Study of the worksheets and the log files of the recordings showed an improvement of students’ knowledge about the phenomena, an increment of their confidence and the gain of useful skills in solving problems and designing procedures.
@InProceedings{MICHALOUDIS2016ACT,
author = {Michaloudis, A. and Molohidis, A. and Hatzikraniotis, E.},
title = {ACTIVITY THEORY AS THE FRAMEWORK FOR INQUIRY-BASED SIMULATIONS},
series = {9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-5895-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2016.0580},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2016.0580},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {6914-6922}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Michaloudis AU - A. Molohidis AU - E. Hatzikraniotis
TI - ACTIVITY THEORY AS THE FRAMEWORK FOR INQUIRY-BASED SIMULATIONS
SN - 978-84-617-5895-1/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2016.0580
PY - 2016
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2016
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2016 Proceedings
SP - 6914
EP - 6922
ER -
A. Michaloudis, A. Molohidis, E. Hatzikraniotis (2016) ACTIVITY THEORY AS THE FRAMEWORK FOR INQUIRY-BASED SIMULATIONS, ICERI2016 Proceedings, pp. 6914-6922.
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