PCK Symposium

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NILSS – Networked Inquiry in Secondary Science classrooms

Dates: 2011-2012
Project Leader: Kathrin Otrel-Cass
Funded by: Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI)
Project Members:
Dr Kathrin Otrel-Cass
Dr Elaine Khoo
Associate Professor Dr Bronwen Cowie
Alison Basel
Six teachers and their year 9 and 10 students


This research project aims to explore and theorise how inquiry teaching and learning in junior secondary science can be supported through e-networked environments such as blogs or e-mail and how online resources accessed through the Internet can afford individual and group exploration of content, skills and resources.

The focus will be on using this approach to address how science education can be made more relevant to and responsive to the needs and interests of students from diverse backgrounds.
Overall, the project goals are to:
describe the social construction of knowledge when diverse students are involved in individual or group science inquiries that are both, face to face and supported through networked online environments, and

  • put forward a framework for understanding inquiry learning in science classrooms underpinned by activity theory.

Research Methods

Video-based case studies will be carried out focusing on networked science inquiries in junior science classrooms.
A range of research methods will be employed including:

  • Interviews with students and teachers
  • Videoed lesson observations
  • Analysis of student work and teacher planning

It is expected that the outcomes of the project will be of interest to teachers and the wider science education research community.


Not yet available


Dr Kathrin Otrel-Cass, 07 838 4512