This blog post is sponsored by Acer Education, a partner of EdTechTeam.
Inquiry-Based Learning, or Enquiry-Based Learning, is a student-centered approach. The teacher acts as a facilitator while students are self-driven to acquire knowledge. The incorporation of technology into this kind of instruction can be done for most age groups to enhance their learning, indefinitely. All of these practices are predicated on the general research methodology of motivating inquiry, exploring research and reflecting in an evaluative way.
There are several models of teaching that lend themselves to being used to plan inquiry-based lessons. The 5Es (BSCS) model is similar to Inquiry Training and Scientific Inquiry models as well as the well-known Group Investigation (Thelen & Dewey).
5E Inquiry Model Steps:
- Elaborate/ Extend
Motivate by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images
Engage & Motivate
Puzzlements are ways to engage students in inquiry-based learning. They are often the initial steps of inquiry-based models of teaching. The best lessons begin with a strong motivation to captivate students.
Presentation tools such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides can be used to introduce puzzlements such as quotes, media and other inspirational ideas.
- Google Slides Q&A feature – You can check students’ understanding and highlight popular questions with this tool. Furthermore, students can use this technology to be inspired to ask questions and then utilize resources to find their own answers through investigative research.
- Slides Add-ons such as Nearpod and Pear Deck make lessons interactive while promoting the 4Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration & creativity)
Connection to Research
Students are also motivated by hands-on application of technological tools. In the research process, we begin with inquiry and then search to find answers and solutions. We can teach students to be a part of this process via technological tools such as:
- Hyper docs – ‘springboards’ for students to engage in their learning by accessing teacher-created docs or making their own
- Research and resource lists in Google Sites, Microsoft Excel and/or Google Sheets
- Research folders organized in Google Drive and/or Google Classroom
- Share findings in presentation tools such as PowerPoint and Slides
The more students are involved in the inquiry process, the more they internalize the cyclical nature of autonomous learning wherein they wonder, search and repeat.
Reflection is an integral part of the learning cycle and fits in nicely towards the end of lessons or units as Evaluation (the final step of a 5E lesson). The evaluation phase encourages students to assess their own abilities and understanding; it also provides opportunities for teachers to evaluate students’ progress towards the achievement of the educational objectives.
Ideally, reflection is naturally inspired through the research process – often inquiries that arise evidence this! We can help facilitate students’ metacognitive awareness by prompting evaluative thinking.
Students can self-assess using checklists and rubrics. They can also demonstrate their reflective understanding in creative ways. Here are a few ideas:
- Google Forms – students can use these for polls & surveys or teachers can utilize them for gathering assessment data, such as with exit tickets
- Exit tickets can also be created and modified using creative tools such as Google Jamboard and Google Drawings
The most prevalent idea related to Inquiry-Based Learning is that there is no single way to create and implement these student-centered lessons; hence, there are infinite possibilities to infuse technology in them!
If you would like access to specific examples and templates related to these concepts, sign up for our free hour-long ‘Inquiry-Based Learning’ online course!
Explore and apply the novel tools that educators are using to integrate technology in the classroom with more free online courses, sponsored by ACER.
4Cs of 21st Century Learning in a Connected Classroom
BSCS Science Learning’s 5E Instructional Model
Joyce, Weil & Calhoun’s Models of Teaching textbook
‘Teaching Style & Models of Teaching’ article – seminal work
Want to learn more about using Inquiry-Based Learning? – Join us for a FREE online course in partnership with ACER. Sign up at https://www.edtechteam.online/acer
Jessica is a Google Certified Innovator with more than 14 years’ experience educating students of all ages. She obtained a Master’s in Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology while working on a federal grant with her University of Southern California professors. Now she is an instructor for her alma mater, helping teaching candidates acquire their credentials and infuse technology in their classrooms. She has lived and worked in several schools worldwide as a teacher, coordinator and librarian. She’s conducted ICT, GATE and IB PYP professional development in the US, Italy, Germany and the UK. Meanwhile, Jessica has designed curriculum, presented at conferences and contributed to educational articles and textbooks published internationally. She believes teaching students literacy skills (of all types) is essential to promote lifelong learning.
These are great ideas to implement into a classroom. I especially like the idea of using the student’s self reflection as a way to assess and check understanding.
Thank you, Jillian! It s so rewarding to give students opportunities for metacognitive reflection. And of course, it enhances teachers’ awareness too!