Education ForumEducation Technology

Computer-Guided Inquiry to Improve Science Learning

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Science  11 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6180, pp. 155-156
DOI: 10.1126/science.1245980

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Engaging students in inquiry practices is known to motivate them to persist in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and to create lifelong learners (1, 2). In inquiry, students initiate investigations, gather data, critique evidence, and make sophisticated drawings or write coherent essays to explain complex phenomena. Yet, most instruction relies on lectures that transmit information and multiple-choice tests that determine which details students recall. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) mostly offer more of the same. But new cyber-learning tools may change all this, by taking advantage of new algorithms to automatically score student essays and drawings and offer personalized guidance.