EnquiryBlogger: blogging for Learning Power & Authentic Enquiry

We just gave this talk on EnquiryBlogger at the annual Open U.’s CALRG 2012 conference.

Further reading:

Ferguson, R., Buckingham Shum, S. and Deakin Crick, R. (2011). EnquiryBlogger: using widgets to support awareness and reflection in a PLE Setting. 1st Workshop on Awareness and Reflection in Personal Learning Environments. PLE Conference 2011, 11-13 July, Southampton, UK. Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/30598

Ferguson, R. and Buckingham Shum, S. (2012). Social Learning Analytics: Five Approaches. Proc. 2nd Int. Conf. Learning Analytics & Knowledge, (29 Apr-2 May, Vancouver, BC). ACM Press: New York. Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/32910

Buckingham Shum, S. and Deakin Crick, R. (2012). Learning Dispositions and Transferable Competencies: Pedagogy, Modelling and Learning Analytics. Proc. 2nd Int. Conf. Learning Analytics & Knowledge. (29 Apr-2 May, 2012, Vancouver, BC). ACM Press: New York. Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/32823

Institute for Inquiry

This is how the Institute for Inquiry describes the enquiry process — in language  very similar to our ideas about authentic enquiry…

Good science education requires both learning scientific concepts and developing scientific thinking skills. Inquiry is an approach to learning that involves a process of exploring the natural or material world, and that leads to asking questions, making discoveries, and testing those discoveries in the search for new understanding. Inquiry, as it relates to science education, should mirror as closely as possible the enterprise of doing real science.

The inquiry process is driven by one’s own curiosity, wonder, interest, or passion to understand an observation or to solve a problem.

The process begins when the learner notices something that intrigues, surprises, or stimulates a question—something that is new, or something that may not make sense in relationship to the learner’s previous experience or current understanding.

The next step is to take action—through continued observing, raising questions, making predictions, testing hypotheses, and creating conceptual models.

The learner must find her or his own pathway through this process. It is rarely a linear progression, but rather more of a back-and-forth, or cyclical, series of events.

As the process unfolds, more observations and questions emerge, providing for deeper interaction with the phenomena—and greater potential for further development of understanding.

Along the way, the inquirer collects and records data, makes representations of results and explanations, and draws upon other resources such as books, videos, and the expertise or insights of others.

Making meaning from the experience requires reflection, conversation, comparison of findings with others, interpretation of data and observations, and the application of new conceptions to other contexts. All of these serve to help the learner construct an improved mental framework of the world.

Effective teachers rely on many different ways of teaching science. At the Institute for Inquiry® we focus on inquiry learning, a powerful tool in learning science and in keeping wonder and curiosity alive in the classroom.

An Enquiry ‘Product’ from the Social Experiment Day in July 2010

Last July we held a social experiment. Thirteen professional educators came together to undertake their own authentic enquiry. We all went up to Brandon Hill and had to select an object, artefact or place which was of interest to us.  We worked through the nine processes of authentic enquiry and on day two, each person had to present their new knowledge and reflect on their learning.  This slide show was Tim Small’s enquiry product.

Tim slides

Learning Futures Collaborative Learning Event

Here’s what we hope to achieve in our collaborative learning event on March 8th.

You  bring a story of change from your Learning Futures work, with evidence of student learning and engagement. Your  story will be selected to re-present an aspect of the Learning Futures approach, ideally School as Basecamp or School as Learning Commons.  We are interested in YOUR learning about your students’ learning and engagement through these Learning Futures approaches.

You may use powerpoint, video or flip charts and please  bring some evidence from students work to ground it in the classroom.  Please let Vicki know if you need anything special.

Please see the sheet below for a summary of the four themes and the main findings from last year’s evaluation study which unpack these from the perspective of student experience. You can use these to help decide what story of change to bring.

As you  present your story and the evidence of student learning, your colleagues will  identify key themes or ideas or principles which they think are important to your story, and write these on ‘post its’ – blue for ideas which relate to school as learning commons, pink for school as basecamp and yellow for  anything else.  After each presentation we discuss these in groups of three and identify any additional ideas for the ‘post it’ pool.

At the end of the presentations, the whole group does  a fishbone exercise to organise and group the ideas which have been generated, and look for overarching themes. These  should then provide some material for discussions about quality in the Learning Futures approaches.

Learning Futures Approaches

Extended Learning Relationships: The 21st century heralds the possibility of a system redesign that can genuinely respond to the needs of learners and the demands for anytime/anywhere learning, collaborative and independent learning, and personalised learning.

Enquiry-Based Learning: Enquiry-based learning is a key component of the Learning Futures model. Its premise is that how students learn is as important as what they learn, because learning is a skill they can carry with them for their entire lives.

School as ‘Learning Commons’: During the first year of Learning Futures, students have begun using school as a ‘base camp’ for enquiries that take them into the community, thereby expanding their learning relationships. At the same time, the number of people with a shared interest in the life of the school is growing and relationships within school are becoming less hierarchical.

School as ‘Base Camp’: A genuine 21st century school should be a base camp rather than a single destination – a place where students meet to explore learning opportunities that take them into their communities, onto the web, and to local businesses and employers. It should also be a hub that creates connections with families, and with learning partners beyond school.

Research from Learning Futures 2009/10 uncovered the following learning design principles which map onto the four main approaches

A Language for learning: a rich language for learning through which we can talk about ourselves as learners and develop and own our own learning story.

Authenticity: the personal involvement of the learner in selecting a focus for their enquiry which has meaning and relevance to them in their lives beyond the classroom.

Active engagement: the production of discourse, products or performances that have relevance to learners beyond school and require more active engagement than simply repetition, retrieval of information and memorisation of facts or rules.

Enquiry: the co-construction of knowledge through disciplined enquiry which involves building on a prior knowledge base, striving for in-depth understanding and expressing findings through elaborated communication.

Coaching and Mentoring: learning relationships which are facilitative and empower the learner to take responsibility for their own learning over time.

Authentic assessment: both formative and summative which moves seamlessly between the personal and the public and is meaningful and real to the learner, their subject matter and their community.

Authentic Enquiry meets Theory U

Mark was at the Authentic Enquiry Design Principles workshop and came up with this visual description of the thinking and learning capabilities.  Eight steps become five stages of a journey and meet Theory U in a natural context.  And you wouldn’t complete the journey if it wasn’t your motivation/commitment/choice. And you would emerge from the valley a little different and stronger than you went in.  Authentic Enquiry as a Valley

Photo (Valley near Mt Kawaikini Kauai Hawaii)is by Simon Tong
(http://si.smugmug.com/)  and is Creative Commons Licensed.