Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine L. Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Sandra L. Gupton

Third Advisor

Dr. Brian Zoellner

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Bruce Kavan

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer J. Kane

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


The primary goal of this study was to acquire an understanding of those practices that encourage the sustained use of simulations in support of inquiry-based science instruction. With the rapid distribution of Internet-related technologies in the field of education, it is most important to undertand the function of these innovations. Technology, specifically the implementation of simulations to support inquiry-based instruction, provides new educational strategies for science teachers. Technology also influences the field of education by repeatedly making some teachers' best practices obsolete.

The qualitative research design was selected to explore the nature of science leaders' and teachers’ consideration or lack of consideration to incorporate simulations into their inquiry-based instruction. The method for collecting the data for this study included in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The analysis of this interview data was conducted in two phases. Phase I focused on the consensus views of the participants regarding the implementation of simulations. In order to gain a more in-depth understanding of the interview data, Phase II focused on the subtle differences among the participants regarding their execution of this instructional tool.

The overall conclusion of this study was that the use of simulations requires a multi-faceted approach to ensure sustainability. As noted, science leaders must continue to encourage the high, medium and low users of simulations to implement the ongoing use of these instructional tools. Also, science teachers must do their part to ensure the success of these programs. By addressing the primary and secondary research questions, five major conclusions were reached. These conclusions include (a) the use of web-based simulations can have a positive influence on inquiry-based science instruction, (b) technology challenges have influenced the teachers’ use of simulations, (c) time influences the use of simulations, (d) ongoing professional development strategies support the sustained use of simulations, and (e) student engagement in inquiry-based science instruction is positively influenced by the use of simulations. This study concludes with suggestions for educational leaders and teachers along with further considerations for future research.