What is Inquiry Learning?It asks: "So What?"

Alberta Learning 2004

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BCTLA Points of Inquiry

The Inquiry Model was taken from the Alberta Learning document, Focus on Inquiry :A Teacher's Guide to Implementing Inquiry-based LearningDocument" (Alberta Learning, Alberta, Canada, 2004). The BCTLA recently created The Points of Inquiry, A Framework Of Information Literacy and the 21st Century Learner, to further align their standards with the changes in education today. Many of the same Information Literacy skills found in SD #73's Continuum, are represented as well in this Inquiry Model. In fact, Focus on Inquiry, is listed as one of the references in the creation of the District Information Literacy Continuum. Inquiry learning involves thinking critically, and gaining knowledge, and centers around the important skills of accessing back ground knowledge, locating and evaluating information, and making personal connections with that information, all in the context of authentic, "real-world" inquiries. Focus on Inquiry defines inquiry-based learning as, "A process where students are involved in their learning, formulate questions, investigate widely and then build new understandings, meanings and knowledge," and support the notion that these inquiry skills will lead to creative, self-directed, independent learners. Based on the amount of information, technology, and social networks students are exposed to today at school, at home and with their peers, these skills are critical for our students to possess so they do not feel overwhelmed or left behind (Web 2.0 Personal & Professional Learning, 2010).

An example of an Inquiry Unit that I completed with a grade three teacher ultimately presented information the class learned about Honey Bees using a wiki. Research on a variety of topics was located and collected and the information was shared through our wiki. Along the way we learned a lot about Honey Bees themselves, as well as one of their most important jobs: Pollination. This last piece of information led to our actual inquiry question: Why are Honey Bees Disappearing? A few theories of the vanishing honey bees surfaced and we didn't actually answer the question, BUT, more importantly the students learned about different ways they can help increase the population of the bees. Throughout the inquiry unit we continually referred back to the Inquiry Model to help guide us on our journey, reflecting on the process. There is no denying that it was a lot of work and at times the technology aspects of creating and editing the wiki were somewhat overwhelming, in the end the students were engaged and motivated for the days they knew I was coming to do "Inquiry" with them.

We shared the Honey Bee Wiki with other classes and also sent home a short note describing what we had done and the URL for the wiki. Inquiry Learning takes planning, organization, collaboration, and lots of energy and commitment - but, it is definitely worth it.

Inquiry Learning - Heritage Fair