Evaluation of an integrated science learning environment that bridges university classes and field trips

Year: 2001

Author: Nix, Rebekah, Ledbetter, Cynthia, Fraser, Barry

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This study focused on the development of an Integrated Science Learning Environment (ISLE) to bridge the gap between the university classroom and field trip learning environments. The program modelled a constructivist paradigm to help teachers to learn and apply science content by creating a web page. Their own unique school classroom learning environments further influenced this implementation. The aim of the study was to evaluate the ISLE in terms of promoting conceptual understanding, attitudes and a constructivist classroom learning environment. Specifically, the course design addressed two major issues that not only challenge effective field work, but are the key to effective design and integration of web-based media into the classroom learning environment: information overload and non-linear processing. The study is important in that it combines the use of: concept maps to assess adult knowledge and understanding; the Teacher’s Attitude Toward Information Technology (TAT) survey to gauge experience and exposure to information technology; and a modified version of the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES) written for adults to evaluate their perceptions of the university/ field trip program. The dimensions of these instruments were found to be correlated for both teachers with science backgrounds and those with non-science backgrounds.