21st century skills in collaborative web-based instruction : the effects on high school students' dynamic inquiry and understanding of genetics concepts
In order to advance in the 21st Century, students must be able to develop complex inquiry skills and apply critical thinking while mastering understanding of concepts. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of Web-based collaboration on students' essential inquiry skills and understanding of genetic concepts. The effects on critical thinking, student involvement, and teacher attitudes were also determined. This project considered the effects of using a Wikispaces platform in an introductory biology class at a small rural high school in Northwest, Colorado. Students content understanding and inquiry skills was assessed using pre and postunit assessments, student interviews, and collaborative projects. Students' critical thinking skills was measured through their ability to express with triggering, exploration, integration, and resolution on class posters and discussion post utilizing the Community of Inquiry Framework. Student involvement was determined through the use of teacher observations, student interviews, post on class posters, and Wiki projects. Results indicated that although students initially struggled using a Web-based platform, increases were achieved in concept understanding and critical thinking, while involvement had mixed results. The overall development of collaborative Web-based inquiry improved my teaching attitude and strengthened my ability to lead and conduct inquiry investigations.