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Jennifer Schlie-Reed (YouTube)

Excerpted from an article by Heather Wolpert-Gawron
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-heck-inquiry-based-learning-heather-wolpert-gawron

Inquiry-based learning is more than asking a student what he or she wants to know. It’s about triggering curiosity. And activating a student’s curiosity is, I would argue, a far more important and complex goal than the objective of mere information delivery.

Nevertheless, despite its complexity, inquiry-based learning can be somehow easier on teachers, too. True, it’s seemingly easier because it transfers some responsibilities from teachers to students, but it’s really easier because releasing authority engages students.

In all honesty, however, what inquiry-based teachers do isn’t easy at all; it’s just hidden, and some people confuse the two. By hiding a teacher’s strings (the strategies used to investigate inquiry), teachers encourage inquiry, and the students develop their own skills as content-area experts.

Triggering inquiry is about learning something new, and triggering curiosity is no small feat. It takes modeling enthusiasm; and learning something new generates our own enthusiasm, even if it’s something new about the content we’ve covered for years.

In terms of your content area, imagine a classroom where different kids are presenting their findings on a single, simple aspect of the content. You’d have a classroom that, overall, learns deeper and wider than ever before.

In terms of student achievement, the power of their question should help drive the research, the writing, and the presentation. It should help motivate them to become experts in their self-described field. And the more often a student gets a taste of what it feels like to be an expert, in however small a concept, the more they will want that feeling later on in life.

It all starts with finding your own enthusiasm, your own excitement, and your own curiosity. Trigger yours and you’ll be heading towards a classroom built on inquiry.

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Learning analytics, educational data mining, formative assessment - all recent buzz words in educational research. In principle, the idea is to find theoretical frameworks, models, procedures, and smart tools to collect, aggregate, analyze, reason on and visualize large scale educational data. LEA’s BOX is a research and development project funded by the European Commission. The project aims at (a) making educational assessment and appraisal more goal-oriented, proactive, and beneficial for students, and (b) at enabling formative support of teachers and other educational stakeholders on a solid basis of a wide range of information about learners. That means, LEA’s BOX is a learning analytics toolbox that is intended to enable educators to perform competence-centered, multi-source learning analytics. More info at http://www.leas-box.eu!

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