CSI is a web-based science learning environment facilitating secondary schools’ students to investigate scientific phenomena through a model-based inquiry approach. It is co-developed by the National Institute of Education and the School of Science and Technology, Singapore, with involvement from the Educational Technology Division, Ministry of Education, Singapore. The uniqueness of CSI lies in its integration of modelling, visualization, guided inquiry and social interactions. With multiple functions, the system is targeted to support students to develop scientific conceptual knowledge and critical learning skills (e.g., inquiry skills, modelling skills, collaborative learning skills, reflective thinking skills). Students’ science learning will benefit from the following design principles: Guided Inquiry; Individual and Collaborative Modeling; Peer Discussion; Peer Review; Multiple Representations. CSI also provides science teachers with a multifunctional authoring tool for designing inquiry projects.

With these features, CSI creates a smart learning environment for students’ science inquiry. For instance, students can access their inquiry projects either at classroom or at home; they are allowed to conduct inquiry either in individual or collaborative ways; they can review their team members’ work either synchronously or asynchronously. Teachers are supported to evaluate students’ performance in formative ways, and they can provide feedback synchronously and guide students’ science inquiry. A series of research findings conducted on a secondary school in Singapore suggested that with the use of the CSI smart learning environment, students had significant improvement on the conceptual understanding, became more engaged in modeling performance, and developed critical reflective skills in the learning process. For more information, please email daner.sun@nie.edu.sg.

Figure 1. Students observing online simulations and discussing with their team members

Figure 2. Students co-constructing scientific models

Prof. Chee-Kit Looi