Log in

Inquiry Learning in a Secondary School Context

Started by Kathy Baker 12 Jun 2013 8:40pm () Replies (12)

Kia ora koutou. A new challenge for me and the school, Inquiry Learning in a Secondary School with an e-learning lens. Any suggestions, advice, resources greatfully accepted. There is no inquiry plan, it is building from the foundation. 


  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 12:23pm ()

    Kia ora, Kathy,

    Thanks for posting your query here. There are several threads around the traps in the VLN with teaching as inquiry in secondary as a focus, such as:

    It would be useful to know a little more about the context - what are your key 'on top' questions? :)

  • Barrie Matthews (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 12:34pm ()

    Hi Kathy

    LEARNZ is based on an Inquiry model, is MoE supported, ticks lots of boxes and is free for NZ teachers to use with their classes.

    More at wwww.learnz.org.nz

    There is a recorded Webinar with an overview of LEARNZ at http://bit.ly/Y9yc83

    Hope this helps


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 1:24pm ()

    Kia ora Kathy, what an exciting, complex road ahead for you then Smile Building from the ground up...might mean some clarification of what we mean by Inquiry learning for students. I’ve always appreciated the explanation from Galileo – What is Inquiry Learning?, especially the following Misconception alert:

    “Inquiry is not a “method” of doing science, history, or any other subject, in which the obligatory first stage in a fixed, linear sequence is that of students each formulating questions to investigate. Rather, it is an approach to the chosen themes and topics in which the posing of real questions is positively encouraged, whenever they occur and by whoever they are asked. Equally important as the hallmark of an inquiry approach is that all tentative answers are taken seriously and are investigated as rigorously as the circumstances permit.”(1)

    Sometimes Inquiry learning can also be likened to terms like; problem based learning, discovery, challenged-based or project based learning. For more examples of this, as well as videos of successful practice in secondary contexts, go to the Problem Based Learning thread in the VLN.

    Choices questionmark The challenge comes when a query/issue/problem is not defined by one subject or curriuclum area and instead, transcends into cross-curricular inquiries. ACOT2 (Apple classrooms of tomorrow) website has six design principles of the 21st Century High School – with references to a Relevant and Applied Curriculum, which is worth unpacking further.

    A blog post on, What is an effective e-learning pedagogy? and the thread, What is e-Learning? might also help, to make relevant links to how e-learning can become an important part of any learning process.

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 2:15pm ()

    Ah, Kathy, looking at the other posts, I may have posted in error. Are you looking at the inquiry learning process - or Teaching as Inquiry for PD?

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 06 Nov 2013 11:35am ()

    Sometimes a 'way in' with Inquiry learning at a secondary level is the natural/authentic links between subject areas - curriculum integration.

    Here's an example of cross-curricular teaching at Fraser High School (profiled in the latest Enabling e-Learning newsletterwhere students have worked to produce a visual culture magazine called Passionfruit.

    In this video, teacher Sam Cunnane elaborates on how their cross-curricula 'experiment' (Media Studies, English, Art History and Visual Arts primarily) is project-driven rather than assessment-driven and offers some compelling explanations/examples of authentic learning outcomes for their students.

    Passionfruit - a curriculum integration project

    The students in turned have reflected on the potential for pesonalising their learning, as well as the power of self-managing the learning processes. See more in Enabling e-LearningFraser High School curriculum integration project - students reflect.

  • Madeline Campbell (View all users posts) 06 Nov 2013 12:59pm ()

    Hi Kathy, for the last 2 years I've been investigating and integrating 'Knowledge Building Community' principles in my secondary teaching practice, and using an online collaborative learning environment called 'Knowledge Forum' that has been designed to support teachers and students to bring 'Knowledge Building' to life. I've been working with a Level 3 Art History class, which is a distance / video conference class. Authentic inquiry that has students and their ideas at the centre of the knowledge building process is what this type of intensive inquiry approach to learning is all about. I think its stunning and it has completely changed the way I think about teaching and learning - roles have changed, how learning happens has changed, and assessment has changed for me, with this 'high stakes' NCEA level 3 class. The teacher becomes a thinking coach, students become 'co-curators' or 'art historians'. Students are in charge of content and their learning, I develop rich questions as a starting point (in response to the art history prescription), and students use digital technologies to collaborate as they improve their ideas and understanding of content.

    I think 'Knowledge Buidling Communities' activates a true 21st century learning environment, combining socio-cognitive and technological dynamics that transform what learning can be.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2013 12:47pm ()

    Kia ora Madeline, thank you for sharing. How comforting to know our young people are being mentored to 'own' their own learning processes - be in charge. A shift from teacher-directed to self-managing learners. Just makes me want to visualise your story now!

    It would so great capture your process in more detail, do you have examples of the videoing and inquiry in action? Sometimes images and videos (like Fraser High School) can be a trigger for others to investigate authentic learning contexts in more detail. Smile

  • Madeline Campbell (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2013 1:21pm ()

    Hi Tessa, at the end of November I'll be giving a presentation alongside other teachers from around NZ about research into Knowledge Building, at the second Knowledge Building symposium at Otago University. I'll include the presentation I give for that here, once its written! This will include quotes and examples of work from students. The classroom for this class is basically a space that is virtual and digital - evidence was collected via written means, hopefully next year I can figure out how to capture some video evidence. It would be great to somehow put together something like Sam has done for his curriculum integration project at Fraser High. I'll have to hunt up some appropriate recording equipment and a person to help me : ) 

  • Kathy Baker (View all users posts) 08 Nov 2013 7:50am ()

    Kia ora Madeline. Thank you for your contribution to this discussion. I will be alerting the secondary school teachers that I connect with to follow this thread and I myself am hugely interested to gain a greater understanding of what you have been leading. I look forward to viewing your presentation and your posts have hooked me back into this conversation, shifting the ownership from teacher to student. Smile

  • Madeline Campbell (View all users posts) 02 Dec 2013 9:59pm ()

    Here's the presentation, sorry I'm being lazy and not working out how to embed it - let me know if you have trouble viewing it : )

    Knowledge Building and Art History Presentation

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 03 Dec 2013 12:00pm ()

    Hi Madeline, if you message me, we can work through uploading this again if you like? I've just been reading similar material online, in 10 Reasons to Try Project-Based Learning, amongst the gold, the author writes, "A disengaged student cannot learn; engaged students can’t help learning."

Join this group to contribute to discussions.