Inquiry-Based Whole-Class Teaching with Computer Simulations in Physics

N.P.G. Rutten, Jan T. van der Veen, Wouter van Joolingen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    41 Citations (Scopus)
    427 Downloads (Pure)


    In this study we investigated the pedagogical context of whole-class teaching with computer simulations. We examined relations between the attitudes and learning goals of teachers and their students regarding the use of simulations in whole-class teaching, and how teachers implement these simulations in their teaching practices. We observed lessons presented by 24 physics teachers in which they used computer simulations. Students completed questionnaires about the lesson, and each teacher was interviewed afterwards. These three data sources captured implementation by the teacher, and the learning goals and attitudes of students and their teachers regarding teaching with computer simulations. For each teacher, we calculated an Inquiry-Cycle-Score (ICS) based on the occurrence and order of the inquiry activities of predicting, observing and explaining during teaching, and a Student-Response-Rate (SRR) reflecting the level of active student participation. Statistical analyses revealed positive correlations between the inquiry-based character of the teaching approach and students’ attitudes regarding its contribution to their motivation and insight, a negative correlation between the SRR and the ICS, and a positive correlation between teachers’ attitudes about inquiry-based teaching with computer simulations and learning goal congruence between the teacher and his/her students. This means that active student participation is likely to be lower when the instruction more closely resembles the inquiry cycle, and that teachers with a positive attitude about inquiry-based teaching with computer simulations realize the importance of learning goal congruence
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1225-1245
    JournalInternational journal of science education
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2015


    • METIS-310331
    • IR-95658
    • n/a OA procedure


    Dive into the research topics of 'Inquiry-Based Whole-Class Teaching with Computer Simulations in Physics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this