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Virtual Destinations and Student Learning in Middle School: A Case Study of a Biology ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Virtual Destinations and Student Learning in Middle School:

Chapter One

Introduction

New methods of learning and instruction promise to improve the teaching of science and help define a better model. The inquiry-based learning paradigm focuses on student learning rather than on fact-based teaching. This model focuses on the student being able to question, think critically, and problem-solve as opposed to receiving passively information from lecture-based teaching.

Education historically has been thought of as a banking process using students, teachers, and books (Freire, 1972). Books are the cornerstone repositories of information, and teachers use those books to disseminate knowledge to students who bank that knowledge to become educated. This didactic style of teaching dominated the educational field for the past two centuries (Aksoy, 1998). John Dewey, the American philosopher and educator, believed that knowledge is a mode of intelligent practice or a habitual disposition of mind (1915). The child must construct, create, and actively inquire. Science has often been taught as an accumulation of ready-made material and not enough as a method of thinking or attitude of mind.