Making Connections Between Inquiry and Technology

You’ve been handed a new notebook with Windows 8. The students have all been handed a cloud full of powerful tools called Office 365. There are all these new handheld devices being purchased by the school and being brought into class from students’ homes. Every half hour of the day you hear someone say, “There’s an app for that.” How can we harness all these new and powerful tools to support the needed inquiry approach and variety of ways needed by the student to express their learning?
Using the framework of Banchi & Bell’s “Simplifying Inquiry Instruction”, a hands-on day will be facilitated with plenty of opportunities to experiment with all these new tools being presented to schools. Differentiation will be provided based on self-declared skill levels. Please bring your SPS notebook and other devices (Smart phones, tablets, iPads, etc).

Powerpoint Presentation from Ignite 2014 (August 26th) PDF

Four Types of Inquiry

The Many Levels of Inquiry – Banchi & Bell – Science and Children, Oct 2008


Inquiry Cycle


Curriculum Inquiry

Contained in each Saskatchewan Curriculum Document

Inquiry Cycle

adapted from Daniels, H., & Harvey, S. (2009). Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Useful Links


  • New Classroom Sites- Coming Soon

Tools for the Day




      • Movie Maker

More Movie Maker Help:

    • YouTube Capture

YouTube Capture Basics

What Makes A Good Question?

Blogging with Students



August 26, 2014

Digital Backpack

SPS Digital Backpack

 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.


 Digital Backpack Support Documents (posters):

May 22, 2014

Visual Representations

Convey Ideas Through Visual Representations

Define: Why Visual Learning?

Discover: Power of Images

Design: Create

Define: Compare and Contrast

Discover: Visual Representation Tool Smackdown

There are many software programs, Web 2.0 tools, and apps that teachers can use to challenge and support visual learners.

Visual Search Engines – Visual learners may find visual search engines easier when researching information online.

  • InstaGrok – Collects educational content and displays it in the form of a cloud of related words, Offers variety of multimedia features to meet the unique learning needs of students; Users can adjust the level of difficulty of results; Search given out as Key facts, Websites, videos, images, quizzes, concepts; Save all of your information to a  journal-highlight text, make notes.
  • Oolone – Visual search engine that displays results as web preview; Scroll over the images to get a closer look at the site before actually selecting it; A quicker and more efficient way to search; Students can instantly recognize familiar sites and rule out unreliable sources.
  • Other Search Engines

Graphic Organizers and Timelines – Visual learners appreciate the concise visual representations.  These tools can be used by teachers to share information visually or by students to represent their learning.

  • Inspiration/Kidspiration (software) – Both are  great tools for teaching kids how to think, brainstorm, organize, analyze and write.
  • (Web 2.0 tool) – Enables users to create mind mapping and brainstorming diagrams online.
  • Coggle (Web 2.0 tool)-  A new, collaborative mind-mapping service that is very easy to use with just signing-in with your Google account and click the “+” icon to start your mind map. You can invite others to view and edit your mind maps by sending them an email through Coggle. All Coggle mind maps can be downloaded as PDFs or PNG image files.
  •  Popplet (app)- Helps students think and learn visually.
  • Timelines tools (Web 2.0 tools)


  • Glogster (Web 2.0 tool) – Glogs are interactive, multimedia posters.
  • Smore (Web 2.0 tool) – Online flyers


  • GoAnimate  (Web 2.0 tool)- Creating animated videos is a great way for visual learners to create projects.
  • PowToon (Web 2.0 tool)


Making Movies/Digital Storytelling

  • Photostory 3  (software)- A quick and easy way for visual learners to share their  new learning and they enjoy  creating documentaries and creating digital “books” of their stories.
  • Microsoft Movie Maker  (software)– Many visual learners think in “movies” and are very successful  creating movies for projects or to demonstrate what they’ve learned.
  • Pixie  (software) – Students can share their learning through  a combination of text, original artwork, voice narration, and images.
  • iMovie (app) – Makes movie-making fast!
  • Narrable – (Web 2.0 tool & app)



Video sharing sites provide teachers with educational video clips that can help visual learners grasp complex concepts.


Google Earth  –  Visual learners benefit from mapping out important locations and seeing (street view, images) historical settings, locations in a book, and places they are learning about.  Google Earth can help students visual landforms (i.e. river deltas), view changes on Earth and even visit the moon.

GeoGuessr – Let’s explore the world! GeoGuessr is a geography game which takes you on a journey around the world and challenges your ability to recognize your surroundings

World Wonders -Brings to life the wonders of the modern and ancient world


* Feedback and Feedforward

April 30, 2014

Leaving Tracks of your Thinking – Reading Digitally

One of the ways we can understand what are students are thinking as they read is to have them leave tracks of their thinking or annotate a text.  Sometimes we do this leaving tracks using sticky notes or highlighting tape, however when we are reading online, we can’t leave those tracks using these tools.  There are a number of digital tools which we can use to leave track when we are reading digital information.  Evernote and Diigo can perform this function if you want your students to sign up for their own profiles.  The other advantage to the online tools, is being able to access them from any computer anywhere.   If you want to have your students experience digital text annotation but don’t want to sign up for individual accounts, Adobe Acrobat also allows mark up of webpages if you convert the webpage to a PDF.   The following two videos will give some start up ‘how-to’ help for teachers and students.

How-to Make a PDF

How-to Annotate a PDF

Some other support materials to help your work can be found here.

December 2, 2013

Visual Representation

Creating and selecting strong visual images to represent your learning forms an important part of a student’s digital backpack.  All a student needs to create their own images is a camera and possibly some simple editing software.  Here are some tools for using when working with students to create, select and cite images.

Tool Links

Photo Editing

Editing and Sharing and Citing

Selecting and Citing


November 12, 2013

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