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Today is less of a presentation, with us “telling” you what inquiry should be in your classrooms, and more of a conversation. With that in mind, we have four talking points that we hope inspire us to think a bit more critically about what we mean when we say “inquiry based learning.”
So, what is “inquiry” to you? We invite all of us to write down our own definition of what inquiry is, and perhaps a short example of what we might call inquiry from our own experience. We’ll be getting to these in a bit on real-world examples.
We’ll also be adding these to our blog from this presentation, and hope it fosters further thought long after our conversation today has ended.
Our, both Craig’s and Sharon’s, sense of what “inquiry” is has been informed by the work of the American philosopher and educator John Dewey. And it is to him we initially turn.
Avoid:
--A “problem for problem’s sake” or “busy work” where the purpose is to convey instruction in some topic. –A  textbook or “created” question created for the learner for an extrinsic award? (A grade, for example)
So, some of your definitions today include:
The themes identified emerged out of a three-year evaluation of an NSF project in which advanced students in SMET disciplines were placed in high school classrooms (called the GK-12 Fellowship Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign:  see http://gk12.ncsa.uiuc.edu/publication.html)
What we began to see repeatedly across classrooms was this sense of problem solving extending beyond typical subject areasà “If you partition a problem along discipline lines, your solution can be wrong,” Dr. Peggy Miller, UIUC Prof.
On one level, we can think of how technology can help us grasp the pedagogy of inquiry. The Inquiry Page is one tool that helps us do that.
How does Inquiry pages work?
See: www.inquiry.uiuc.edu for this framework.
Other content standards often refer to disciplinary processes often akin to inquiry
“Inquiry” is found threaded thematically in the Illinois standards. But what does that mean in terms of the curriculum? There is not one, fixed answer to this question, but we do have examples of how some teachers have interpreted the standards, inquiry, and technology in the very situated nature of their classrooms.