The past weeks have been especially helpful in developing my ideas about inquiry because I was able to take the time to really search through the Discovery Education Techbook at better length. By doing this, and looking at real ideas for questions and assignments, it allowed me to better understand exactly what inquiry based learning can look like and sound like across a variety of subject areas and grade levels. The lessons in the techbook really proved to me that planning for inquiry based learning will allow for a balance of student directed inquiry, as well as teacher directed. That standards and objectives can still be met without students inadvertently changing subjects or topics (though that might happen, every once in a while!).
Reading, reviewing, and practicing distinguishing concepts from facts was also a very useful step for me in terms of understanding the process of presenting information to students, as well as asking them questions. Going even deeper, I think it is important for teachers to look ahead and determine which questions they’re asking are investigable, and which are non-investigable. Introductions to material and teacher-guided lessons are going to give the chance for non-investigable questions to be asked, where investigable ones are important questions for students to ask in order for them to research, investigate, and experiment.
Finally, I really appreciated the chance to explore how to incorporate Web 2.0 tools with inquiry based learning. There are so many ways that they can go hand in hand and enhance inquiry based learning. I have used quite a few in my classroom already (partly because of all the things I’ve learned throughout my EDIM process!), so reading the Discovery Education remarks and video about the categories of Web 2.0 tools, was really useful and interesting. The tools sorted into lists helped categorize them in my mind, and shed a little bit of light on how to use them in situations I hadn’t thought of yet.
Some questions in my head that still remain are about assessment. Summative assessment seems relatively straightforward with inquiry based learning, because with Web 2.0 tools and student investigations, there are so many ways to assess a final product. I’d like to break down useful forms of formative assessment and how to use them, because right now I feel like teacher observations and recordings are what I’m thinking, but I’d love to elaborate on this and learn more.