The first step of Guided Inquiry is to Open the topic area to the students with a wide range of experiences and information. They go on to Immerse themselves in this broad topic area then Explore and finally to Identify an aspect of personal interest.
This site has an large variety of interactive activities for many topic areas and could be used by the teacher on an interactive whiteboard or individually by students on personal devices. The activities would be very beneficial to students in the early stages of inquiry learning.
Doug Johnson’s The Blue Skunk blog is a place I visit regularly for educational, thought provoking comment. Today’s post discusses 21st century skills linking them to Costa and Kallick’s Habits of Mind.
How is this for a list of skills we need our students to achieve in order to excel in the 21st century! Flexibility & Adaptability
Initiative & Self-Direction
Social & Cross-Cultural Skills
Productivity & Accountability
Leadership & Responsibility
The following two, clipped from today’s post, show that these skills go well beyond traditional learning outcomes. ‘Content’ now takes a step back – not to be memorised but to be used for training and gaining skills.
As I read through all of Doug Johnson’s blog post I realised that, at Broughton, when we undertaking Guided Inquiry units of work, we are actually addressing each of these skills areas – and more.
As our students work independently to answer a self-posed question within a given topic area, share their learning through the use of wikis, describe results in final presentations (often working in group situations), conduct peer and self assessment – they are working within these skills areas actually integrating them into each unit of work.
The Eduwebinar site has published a page of tools to support Inquiry Based Learning. These are organised by the steps of the Guided Inquiry process as set out in Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School by Carol C Kuhlthau, Leslie K Maniotes and Anne K Caspari.
For each step there are tools listed and linked to support learning – organising search strategies, organising information, presenting conclusions and supporting the evaluation of Inquiry Learning.
A few years ago I heard Will Richardson speak at a conference in Sydney. He was inspirational in how he challenged us to use the available technologies to make changes in education. In particular he showed us how to use technology to encourage a global perspective for learning. We were encouraged to blog our own learning and share widely.
In the following video clip, recorded at the ISTE 2012 conference, he says that teachers should allow students to be learners who are able to pursue personal interests and passions, “Don’t do work that just exists within your classroom and gets pushed onto classroom walls, do work that changes the world… Kids can create things that impact people around the world…Why wouldn’t we do that…Why wouldn’t we publish their work…”
This term, Year 10 Commerce students begin a Guided Inquiry unit of work. They have the choice to follow their passions in researching Issues in Australian Society. The culmination of their study is to propose ways that they could initiate change. This is the third year that Guided Inquiry has been used for this unit of work – with a team teaching approach by the class teacher and the Teacher Librarian. The 2010 Action Research project, looking into Year 10 Commerce and their use of Guided Inquiry, can be found in the top bar of this blog. The students were keen to share their work.
Year 4 have been working together in the IRC for three periods a week for seven weeks – two classes, two teachers, a Special Needs teacher and the Teacher Librarian. They have been learning about The Human Body. Each student selected a special area of interest and created a research question or questions. A wiki was used to share work and information.
As a culmination for their Guided Inquiry research projects the Year 4 students were introduced to Voki as a tool for delivering ‘fun’ presentations to the rest of the class.
They had to select just one of their research questions and fine tune their answer to the word limitations of Voki.
The excitement in the IRC today was unbelievable as they created characters, backgrounds, costumes and voices best suited to the presentation of their research.
Here is one that was produced today:
On Friday 28 October five of our Year 10 students who have been studying “Issues in Australian Society” presented their work in the IRC Theatrette. They were sharing their personal perspective of the use of Guided Inquiry as a research process for their unit of work in Commerce. The occasion was a Network Meeting of Teacher Librarians of the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) and over twenty Teacher Librarians from across Sydney were in attendance .
The students described the Information Search Process and examples of the scaffolds they used to enable them to delve deeply into their selected topic areas. James then gave a four minute presentation of the answer to his self constructed question “Should nuclear energy, keeping in mind financial and environmental impacts,be implemented as a major source of electricity over the current major sources of electricity in Australia?”.
The students had used a wiki for storage of their work and to share their learning and this included peer review at the end of the unit of work.
Year 10 Commerce has just finished studying Issues in Australian Society during which the students undertook research of a selected topic using the Guided Inquiry process. A class wiki was used to share learning. The Teacher Librarian, who supported the teacher and class in this unit of work, conducted Action Research into this process. This is the third year Guided Inquiry has been used at the school to teach students this method of self directed inquiry learning.
The pages under Guided Inquiry (in the right bar) share evidence of the students’ experience during various aspects of the process.