Teacher-librarians Constructing Understanding through Inquiry is a strategic partnership between the Saskatchewan School Library Association (SSLA), a special subject council of the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, and the Ministry of Education. The intent is to develop supports for instruction to be used by educators, particularly teacher-librarians, as they strive to understand and actualize their role in an inquiry-based learning environment.
The partnership invited educators to participate in the live webinar series for Inquiry. I was honoured to share ways inquiry can be enriched through the use of technology, such as developing questions, information seeking, reflecting, documenting, assessing, and presenting learning.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Education’s renewed curricula emphasizes the development of an inquiry stance – the fostering of “inquiring habits of mind that lead to deeper understanding of their world and human experience” (Saskatchewan English Language Arts Curriculum 2009).
As curricula advocates a “shift from a transmission-oriented pedagogy to a more open, inquiry-based mode of teaching and learning” (Bruce and Bishop, 2002), the ideal learning environment must now be characterized as flexible and adaptive to the changing needs of the learners. The construction of learning must be communal and dynamic, welcoming and valuing each member’s experiences and perspectives. Learning, due to its non-linear structure and student focus, is “messy” as learners critically investigate their unique questions apply understandings to new situations, create new knowledge, share learnings, and participate ethically and productively, using diverse methods and media. This active search for meaning and understanding undergirds inquiry.
A digital backpack is mobile technology in backpack that includes detailed hardware, software, and instructional support materials to provide for project-based learning experiences in various formal and informal environments.
Simulations have the potential of providing students with an engaging and authentic opportunity to investigate, hypothesize, analyze and share data. Many of the Math and Science Curricula Outcomes can be demonstrated through the use of simulations.