Date of Conferral

2019

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Darci Harland

Abstract

The population of English language learners (ELLs) is on the rise in the United States, but they are lagging behind English speaking students in several subject areasâ??including biology. Scholarly literature lacks information on how biology teachers use scaffolding strategies to support ELL students with inquiry skills during online simulations. The purpose of this qualitative multiple-case study was to explore how biology teachers support ELLs in learning biology, using biology simulations to promote inquiry learning. The conceptual framework for this study included the constructivist perspective regarding the zone of proximal development, Electronic Quality of Inquiry Protocol, and technology use in science instruction. The purposive sample for this study was 4 biology teachers from 2 high schools in large school districts in the southeastern region of the United States who taught ELL students using inquiry-based online simulations. The data sources were face to face interviews with teachers, scaffolding documents, and lesson plans. Data were coded and analyzed for common themes across within and across cases. Results indicated that although biology teachers believed that ELL students benefited from inquiry simulations because of the already incorporated visuals and their ability to interact and manipulate the program, they sometimes lacked technology experiences and struggled with English and literacy that may reduce the benefits of the simulation experiences. The results of this study have the potential to contribute to social change by providing insights that may increase the understanding of how biology teachers can support ELL students when using technology in the form of simulations to promote inquiry learning.

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