Make An Inquiry: Curation Attempt #1

This first attempt at curation will focus on ideas I’ve already encountered in CLMOOC.  For subsequent posts, I hope to explore CLMOOC further – blogs I haven’t read, for example – as well as reflect on what I’ve already encountered.

Bart Miller’s “untro to inquiry”

Bart Miller wrote an “untro” for inquiry that included a variety of inquiry models.  I was especially intrigued by this model for a “Design Inquiry Cycle by Rebecca Grodner & Shula Ponet:

From http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/knilt/images/5/5a/InquiryProcess.gif
From the work of Rebecca Grodner & Shula Ponet http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/knilt/images/5/5a/InquiryProcess.gif

The idea of empathy as a part of inquiry caught my attention, though I’m not sure that the authors of the piece use the term in the same way I would; what they call empathy seems to me to be more accurately called background-building.  But perhaps reading and immersing ourselves in a topic is a way to promote empathy?

Bart also links to Kath Murdoch’s list of “misconceptions” about inquiry, which are also thought-provoking. Murdoch emphasizes the process of inquiry and stresses how important emergence and context are in authentic inquiry teaching.  I especially like the idea of “tuning in” to students’ thinking, as well as her “misconception number 5,” that the inquiry cycle is only for teachers:

Students benefit from having some ‘meta-language’ to attach to processes they use as inquirers.  Some kind of framework should be developed for and WITH students that helps everyone gain a shared language. Making this visible to students helps them think about how journeys of inquiry are both similar and different. It is really useful to display the cycle but only if it is referred to, analysed, played with and critiqued!<

After presenting this variety of models, Bart adds his own thoughts.  He writes:

As long as we are trying, we are getting it. This is a mindset that also applies well in the classroom.

And adds:

Often, inquiry learning models begin with some iteration of ‘formulating questions’, but I have found that that is not necessarily the best way to begin an inquiry.

Whether it speaks to my preferred learning modality or personality type, I find that making is a great way to start. The challenges that arise catalyze questions. The enjoyment of the process of making demands to be shared. Reflection on doing is inherently more motivating than reflecting on thinking.

I have found this idea, especially the idea of a make leading to questions, to be especially fruitful for me this summer.

Finally, Bart notes:

The challenge for teachers is to document and curate a constantly evolving authentic learning community!

This reminds me of Karen Fasimpaur’s “How I Got There” challenge on Youth Voices, which I have attempted to do myself over the past few weeks.

Anu Liljeström’s Learning Ecosystem

Anu Liljeström has done some eye-opening work with her elementary school students in Finland, and we’ve been lucky enough to have her participate and share in CLMOOC.  She’s co-authored academic articles on her work with a model she and her collaborators call design-oriented pedagogy.  Last week, she wrote a blog post about what she calls the “learning ecosystem” that she and her students developed.  Anu asked for critical feedback, and thus far I’ve been unable to muster any suggestions, mainly because I would probably die of happiness if I could do anything remotely as authentic and complex as what she and her students do!

Anu's diagram for the learning ecosystem, from the blog post linked above.  Image used with author's permission.
Anu’s diagram for the theoretical concept of the learning ecosystem, from the blog post linked above. Image used with author’s permission.
Anu's diagram for the learning ecosystem that emerged from her work with students, from the blog post linked above. Image used with author's permission.
Anu’s diagram for the learning ecosystem that emerged from her work with students, from the blog post linked above. Image used with author’s permission.

The idea that I want to incorporate next in my teaching practice is what Anu calls “extended school,” and especially what she calls “enthusiast culture.”  I think this could be especially powerful in my context, where parents who are not comfortable speaking English or who have less formal education may feel intimidated and excluded from participating in their children’s education.  By calling attention to and intentionally including family members as knowledgable practitioners with valuable expertise, we might be able to break down some of this exclusion.   This could also have the effect of beginning to de-center “school” as the source of knowledge and authority by positioning “school” as one of the nodes in a vast network of knowledge and learning.

Teachers Teaching Teachers, redux

I’ve mentioned the July 8 Teachers Teaching Teachers conversation on CLMOOC & inquiry that I had the good fortune to participate in, and I’d like to return to this conversation to elaborate on Julie Johnson’s idea about Learner Hubs.  She shares this at about the 11th minute in response to Paul Allison’s question about how CLMOOC Make Cycles influenced her teaching.  Julie describes teaming with four other teachers to provide a larger audience for her students; students create digital portfolios during Make Cycles and then group up with other students from the other classes (these are the “hubs”).  This could be a very useful framework for expanding students’ peer collaborations in a more manageable way.

Julie has also elaborated on these ideas on her blog.

Coming Attractions

In my next post, I’ll review the contributions of Mia Zamora, Sheri Edwards, and Kevin Hodgson.

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2 thoughts on “Make An Inquiry: Curation Attempt #1

  1. Reblogged this on What Else? 1DR and commented:
    Inquiry: I’m inquiring about Inquiry, and Michael Weller has many resources for this on his blog and in this blog post.

    I especially love the first graphic on inquiry — and his thoughts on it. I’ll be linking to the author’s work.

    Inquiry: How does it work in your classroom?

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