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How to: Inquiry

How to: Inquiry
Will you ever just walk into class and ask, "Okay, what do you want to study today?" Of course not. Inquiry-based learning is founded on students taking the lead in their own learning, but it still requires considerable planning on your part. Projects must fit into your larger program structure, goals and plans, but the students will be actively involved in planning the projects with you and asking the questions that launch their individual inquiries. The Importance of Planning It's impossible to project all the possible ways in which you can build inquiry into programs, projects and activities, but preparing for most projects involves three basic steps: Pre-planning: Before going to the kids, determine any preliminary factors or characteristics that must be true in order to achieve your larger goals or plans. Ask questions such as "Where could you find resources to answer your questions?" Step-by-Step Through the Techniques Step 1: Posing Real Questions Step 2: Finding Relevant Resources

4 Innovative Student Projects That Could Change the World Microsoft's Imagine Cup brings students together from across the world each year, in effort to use technology to solve the world's toughest problems. Mashable met with four teams, hailing from Germany, Australia, the U.S. and Qatar, to learn how they are using technology to make an impact on the future. Students are using Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows Azure and Windows Phone in their Imagine Cup projects. Many members of the competition draw inspiration from the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals, to create solutions to problems in the fields of education, healthcare and environmental sustainability, among others. The Worldwide Finals will take place in Sydney, Australia, between June 6 and 10, where the winners of local, regional and online competitions will share their visions for how technology can shape the future. More than 1.65 million students from 190 different countries and regions have participated in the competition during its 10-year existence.

Fostering Inquiry-based Learning in Labs Using Google Spreadsheets Instructors in lab courses often find it difficult to simulate and discuss all phases of scientific inquiry during a single class period. For instance, individual lab groups may not be able to replicate experimental trials sufficiently in the time allotted, requiring instructors to compile data sets across lab groups before students can properly analyze and interpret results.Google Spreadsheets can circumvent this logistical barrier by allowing instructors to crowdsource the data aggregation and “cleaning” during class. For example, Chad Hershock and Rachel Niemer, CRLT, teach a short-course for postdocs on college teaching in science and engineering. During a unit on converting traditional, “cookbook” lab exercises into inquiry-based activities, postdocs work in pairs to complete a sample lab protocol. Instructors simply monitor the data as it accumulates, responding to problems as needed.

Inquiry Learning In some ways trying to answer this question is like trying to answer the question "How long is a piece of string?" However it is a very important question for any school implementing Inquiry Learning as a school-wide approach to consider. Different people will have different ideas, and different 'experts' will all push their own theories and ideas. It would be foolish to think that I would be any different, so the following material comes with an 'Opinion Warning'. The ideas expressed here have been formed over seven years of working with schools as they implement Inquiry Learning. They are based on experience, but are still opinions and as such need to be weighed carefully in the light of your own experiences, knowledge and understanding, and compared to what others are also saying. I believe there are a number of aspects that are essential to be considered as you form your own answer to this question. Goals: Curriculum Integration: Developing Independent Learners: Resources: References

Innovation through the Eyes of a Child I’m currently reading Creating Innovators and so I thought I would share the classic post from 2009 below. In the first video, Gever Tulley describes our child safety-obsessed culture and the impact this has on the young minds of our children. He then speaks about the different impact you can have by teaching your kids how to play with dangerous stuff. He highlights five dangerous things to let your kids play with, but is working on a book that will highlight 50 dangerous things. Check out the video: In the second video, Gever Tulley demonstrates the valuable lessons kids learn at his Tinkering School. On his blog he lays out the principles of kit-based learning, which are great things for teachers and parents to think about when teaching science to children. Principles of Kit-based Learning The goal of any kit must be to teach how to think about the principle concept – the understanding and internalization of the concept comes naturally from the process. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Design-Based Learning (DBL) to Innovate STEM Education | Stanford University School of Education IT Our earthquake curriculum project We developed an earthquake curriculum to conduct design-based pilot studies all over the globe from Ethiopia to California in 5th, 6th grade classes and a multi-grade classroom in El Salvador. Learning about earthquakes is urgent and propitious with the recent earthquake catastrophes in Haiti and Chile. It is crucial to raise awareness in our young learners that an earthquake in one continent can have ripple effect damages to other continents. Within the design challenge, students worked in teams of 4 members to design and build earthquake resistant structures using only index cards, tape, and paper clips through couple of iterations. Throughout our pilot studies, students were enthusiastic, focused, and actively collaborating with their peers. Although we have briefly introduced the use of mobile phones as a documentation tool, it will be integrated formally into an empirical study we will conduct this upcoming summer. Sub Project

Replacing Faux Inquiry with the Real Thing Why should teachers nurture potent questioning skills and behaviors? As a practical matter, students need to be able to read between the lines, infer meaning, draw conclusions from disparate clues and avoid the traps of presumptive intelligence, bias and predisposition. They need these thinking skills to score well on increasingly tough school tests, but more importantly, they need these skills to score well on the increasingly baffling tests of life . . . how to vote? Drill and practice combined with highly scripted lessons stressing patterns and prescriptions amount to mental robbery - setting low standards for disadvantaged students so they end up incapable of thought or success on demanding tests. This approach contributes to high dropout and attrition rates - early school departures and millions of children left behind.

6 Education SlideShares To Inspire, Improve And Innovate Your School One of the things I love about the modern web is the willingness of talented people to share their amazing content for free. Online communities that encourage individuals to share their work in return for broad exposure and the respect and credibility that this builds. One of the strongest and most vibrant communities fostering this culture is SlideShare. SlideShare is a priceless resource and one that is often overlooked when searching and creating content on the web. With this in mind, here are six great educational SlideShares that you may like to share with your school audience. Re-envisioning Modern Pedagogy: Educators As Curators This very sharp and well designed set of slides focuses on curation of content for students and teachers. How I Flipped My Classroom A very hands-on slide deck, this presentation delves into the process that teacher, Michelle Pacansky-Brock, used to flip her classroom. The End Of Teaching Using Diigo in the Classroom QR Codes in the Classroom & Library, Too!

Inquiry-based Learning: Explanation What are the benefits of inquiry-based learning? One of the important missing pieces in many modern schools is a coherent and simplified process for increasing knowledge of a subject from lower grades to upper grades. Students often have difficulty understanding how various activities within a particular subject relate to each other. Much more confusion results when the learner tries to interrelate the various subjects taught at school. Too little effort is devoted to defining important outcomes at the end of high school and planning backwards and across subjects. Specific content such as photosynthesis has much more relevance for the learner if set in a larger context of understanding the interrelationship of the sun, green plants, and the role of carbon dioxide and water. Within a conceptual framework, inquiry learning and active learner involvement can lead to important outcomes in the classroom.

Questions of Import Difference of Opinion Some questions matter more to some than others. Significance is defined to some extent by personal issues, tastes and interests. Several people looking at the image below might pose very different questions. Some might pose questions about media, media coverage and media literacy. Others might be intrigued by Michael himself and the drama surrounding his passing. Awakening a Sense of Import In some cases, young students may not recognize the import of an image, a poem or a set of numbers. The painting mentioned in the sample lesson above, "Four Boys on the Beach" by Winslow Homer, is a case in point. The boys' body language may be a matter of import but young students may not naturally fix their attention on how the boys are sitting. By definition, questions of import are intended to explore meanings. Making School and Learning Important

Be a better boss: 12 tips to help you encourage innovation Many entrepreneurs dream of starting their own company so they can be their own boss, call the shots, get the corner office nicest table in the co-working space. Turns out, being in charge is a lot harder than just ordering people around and having someone fetch your lattes. To make a startup successful, you have to encourage an atmosphere of constant innovation. We asked these upcoming entrepreneurs for their best tips on how to be a boss boss. Allow for change and spontaneity Working hard to keep your company from becoming rigid helps keep innovation flowing. Caitlin McCabe, @caitlinmc, Real Bullets Branding Be hands off Hire great people and give them responsibility. Lisa Nicole Bell, @LisaNicoleBell, Inspired Life Media Group Budget for innovation No one likes to ask for money, but when they have money as an available option, they are willing to go ahead and spend it on things they think will be worthwhile. Danny Wong, @blanklabel, Blank Label Group, Inc. Flat organization Expose yourself