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Inquiry-based learning of design and technology subject matter in primary school

Pavel Zakal (2017) Inquiry-based learning of design and technology subject matter in primary school. MSc thesis.

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    The master thesis consists of an overview and a description of active teaching methods, including the inquiry-based learning method, defining it as one of the active teaching methods. The thesis illustrates the concept of the student’s attitude towards the primary school subject matter design and technology. Furthermore, the study offers a description of planning and producing a learning model (an elevator), as an example for the implementation of inquiry-based learning in the first triad (first three-year cycle) of primary school. The empirical part of the thesis focuses on comparing two methods of teaching design and technology in primary school. It compares inquiry-based learning and the classical teaching method. In accordance with both methods, we devised two different lesson plans to teach a topic (the gear unit) on a Technical day (5 class periods). The lesson plans were based on the upgraded and expanded objectives, defined in the teaching syllabus for natural science and technology in the fifth grade of primary school. The objectives were evaluated according to the revised edition of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The Technical day was carried out in the fifth grade on three different primary schools. The study included 40 fifth grade students. Our primary motivation was to evaluate the effectiveness of the inquiry-based learning method in comparison to the effectiveness of the classical teaching method. The cognitive effectiveness of both methods was examined on the students of the first triad (first three-year cycle) of primary school considering the different prepositions of the students regarding the different topics of the subject matter design and technology. The effectiveness was measured by a non-standardized test. On the Technical day, students were handed a before-and-after test and three weeks later they were handed another, late test, through which we have measured the durability of their knowledge. To assure the reliability of the test, we used an interclass correlation coefficient of 0.65. Both groups showed a steady and moderate progress in knowledge (Cohen’s d = 0.49). Statistically significant differences (α < 0.05) between the groups of students were observed in favour of the experimental group, namely with a significant effect (η2 = 0.155) regarding to the application of acquired knowledge according to the revised edition of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Similarly, the between-subject test showed statistically significant differences regarding the level of understanding and evaluating in favour of the control group with a significant effect (η2 = 0.248 for understanding and η2 = 0,173 for evaluating). The durability of knowledge has proven to be from moderately to strongly higher in favour of the experimental group. There were no statistically significant (α > 0.05) gender differences. The results from both groups were correlated to the results regarding their attitude towards the primary school subject matter design and technology, which were acquired via the survey “Technology and Me”. All of the attained data were processed via descriptive statistics and the help of the SPPS Statistics statistical software. On the Technical day on which the topic (gear units) was taught with the inquiry-based learning method, the students enjoyed themselves more and haven’t felt the pressure of the lesson itself. The inquiry-based learning method was new and different for the students, so it boosted their motivation for work, as opposed to the students, who were taught using the traditional learning method. The study proved the inquiry-based learning to be more appropriate regarding the practical aspect of teaching, knowledge consolidation and the repetition of the learned material to increase the durability of the learned/acquired knowledge.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: Design and technology, primary school, inquiry-based learning, traditional teaching, attitudes toward technology and engineering, teaching efficiency
    Number of Pages: 64
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Stanislav AvsecMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=11830345)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 4874
    Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2017 13:31
    Last Modified: 23 Nov 2017 13:31
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/4874

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