Inquiry Learning

Reflective Thoughts

Having now finished researching my initial questions,  I have a better understanding of inquiry learning. However, true to inquiry learning style, I now have more questions then when I started! Before I discuss my new questions, I will outline my information search and examine it according Carol Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP).

ISP reflection:
Initiation:
I was unsure what to expect before undertaking this assignment. I had apprehensive thoughts about how successful my search techniques would be. I was also worried by the sheer amount of information available to me, and whether or not I’d be able to sort through it all.

Selection:
The topic, inquiry learning, was selected for me. However, the specifics of the searches were left up to me and I was starting to feel more optimistic towards the task. The initial questions I soon developed were certainly good starting points.

Exploration:
Engaging with the numerous resources available regarding my search topics overwhelmed me again. I was sure I’d never find information that was relevant and reliable. However, I continued to explore, and things certainly became clearer once I had a better understanding of how to apply expert searching techniques.

Formulation:
After some exploration, I was able to begin to formulate answers to my questions. The information I stumbled across soon become more and more relevant, and I was starting to feel like my searches had more purpose and direction.

Collection:
I soon set about collecting my resources in one place, in this case Pinterest, to allow me to refer to them as frequently as needed. I found myself spiraling down further and further into resources that were appropriate for my research, thus providing more and more useful information.

Presentation:
I presented my collected information in the form of a response to one of my questions. I selected the most interesting question to me, however I know that I could have answered all 3 if time (and word count) permitted.

Commentary on my journey:
Throughout my journey, I have discovered that the information surrounding inquiry learning is vast and vague. By having my initial questions, I was able to sift through the numerous resources available to me, often refining my search multiple times before locating the exact information I needed. I learned how to use expert searching techniques effectively, and the value of using databases that provide access to academic pieces of writing.

Although I have enjoyed using Google Scholar, A+ Education, ProQuest Education, and Social Media to find information, I have no doubt that I shall continue to return to Google as my starting point. The amazing number of results that include a combination of academic and non-academic resources make it an invaluable search tool and hard to go past.

New questions:
The new questions I have regarding inquiry learning are numerous, however I have listed the 3 that I believe to be my next best starting point:

  1. Does inquiry learning significantly differ between primary students, secondary students, tertiary students, and mature aged students?
  2. How much of an impact does ICT have on inquiry learning and is it absolutely necessary to incorporate it? Are there any negative side effects to incorporating ICTs, if so, what are they?
  3. Is it best to incorporate different learning disciplines to create authentic units of inquiry? If so, how can we collaborate effectively to achieve this, while still meeting the needs as outlined by the Australian Curriculum?

Final words:
I have thoroughly enjoyed this process, and believe that inquiry learning is only becoming more popular in teaching circles, and will, with a little luck, become the most popular way of teaching in the near future. I will certainly be endeavoring to include as much inquiry into my students’ learning experiences as possible.

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