Tag Archives: Inquiry Based Learning

WebQuests

The idea of a WebQuest has become increasingly popular over the years and it is no wonder why! A WebQuest encourages inquiry based learning which allows students to research a chosen topic while effectively using the internet and create a final product. WebQuests not only engage students in meaningful learning tasks and allow students to collaborate effectively, they make learning fun and students love them!

Why not give them a go and see for yourself?

Before you create a WebQuest, treat it like any other lesson and include an explicit learning goal. Think about what you want your students to know by the end of the WebQuest and what they need to do in order to achieve that goal. Make the activities funinteresting and challenging. A WebQuest has a purpose, a problem that reading can help to solve.

A WebQuest usually has seven parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Task
  3. Process
  4. Resources
  5. Evaluation
  6. Conclusion
  7. Final Project

Take a look at the following fantastic YouTube video which explains everything you need to know about WebQuests! Then take a look at the links below to view examples of WebQuests and create one of your own.

Examples of WebQuests

WebQuest Creators

Will you get creative and create a WebQuest?

Have you already created a WebQuest?

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Filed under ICT & Technology, Teaching

Homework

I am amazed at the vast difference in opinion regarding homework. Just in the last couple of days, I have heard a news story stating that homework is irrelevant to the 21st century and read a newspaper article stating that two hours of homework each night is beneficial to students. Click here for a previous post I have written about homework.

Isn’t there a happy medium?

In a discussion between @keelygriffiths and @M_Carreiro and myself (@ashleyazzopardi) we agreed that homework is relevant to the 21st century if it;

  • Revises concepts learnt in class
  • Builds on existing knowledge
  • Integrates ICT
  • Promotes inquiry learning
  • Includes open ended questions

Click here for a Prezi I have created in a previous post regarding learning in the 21st century.

I have seen many schools with the following recommendations for the maximum time spent on homework each night (including reading):

  • Kindergarten and Year One: 15 minutes
  • Year Two: 20 minutes
  • Year Three: 30 minutes
  • Year Four: 40 minutes
  • Year Five and Year Six: 60-90 minutes

What are your thoughts about homework?

Does your school have a homework policy?

photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under Homework, ICT & Technology, Student Learning, Teaching Strategies

Inquiry Based Learning

“Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand” (Chinese Proverb)

The traditional educational system encourages students to memorise facts and information and to listen and repeat the expected answers. Inquiry based learning is relevant to the students of the 21st century as it provides students with the skills to understand and make sense of the mass of data that surrounds us in the world of today.

Inquiry based learning is about seeking appropriate resolutions to questions and issues. As teachers, we need to foster this kind of attitude in the classroom in order for the students to use this attitude outside the classroom throughout their lives.

Inquiry based learning is based on questions. Lessons should begin with questions about the unknown – question who, what, when, where, why and how.

After the questioning, students can then find and understand answers.

This approach allows students to think critically and make judgements and conclusions. These are both cognitive and affective skills. Cognitive skills pertain to perceiving, learning and knowing, while affective skills pertain to forming and determining attitudes and values.   

When using an inquiry based learning approach, the chosen skills need to be taught in connection to the content. It involves careful planning and should be built into the program. The skills need to be practised and reinforced throughout the unit of work.

This approach may be described as the students finding out information and the teacher resourcing the students.

Main purpose of inquiry based learning:

  • Enhance the thinking process
  • Encourage creative, parallel and lateral thinking
  • Improve communication
  • Speed up decision making
  • Avoid debate

Inquiry Strategies:

  • Picture books
  • Poetry, film and media sources
  • Polling and surveying
  • Artefact analysis and source studies
  • Site studies (virtual and physical)
  • What if mandalas
  • Value charts
  • Venn diagrams
  • KWL charts
  • Problem based learning tasks
  • Questioning
  • Mind mapping and consequence charts
  • Role play
  • Simulation games and moral dilemmas
  • Cooperative learning tasks (jigsaw groups)
  • Blogging
  • Photo essays
  • Reciprocal teaching
  • Webquests http://webquest.org/index.php

Do you use an inquiry based learning approach in your classroom?

What are you doing to foster critical thinking in your students?

    

David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under Student Learning, Teaching Strategies