When does the sharing phase of inquiry learning take place?
This is related to time. At what point during the inquiry learning process do students share about their learning. Obviously, most of the sharing will come at the end of the process as the student shares with an audience about their new knowledge. However, it would be valuable for students to share at various points throughout the process as well. (One teacher has set up a Google Docs survey form so that students can easily report about their learning as they go through the process.) We are not only trying to expand the funds of knowledge about the focus of the research. We are also seeking to expand the understanding of the process of research. Therefore it would be helpful to share in a metacognitive way with small groups of students.
Another aspect of sharing, that is related to time, is the idea that the products that students share will become increasingly more complex as the school years go by. In Focus on Inquiry (2004, p. 32-35), suggestions are given for the expectations for those new to inquiry all the way to those who are very experienced with inquiry. For the newcomers to inquiry, the teacher has more control and gives a lot of direction. However, as students learn the process, they have more and more choice with topics and ways to present them. The Galileo Learning Network provides this rubric with increasing complexity as students develop their inquiry skills. (http://galileo.org/research/publications/rubric.pdf)
For my Twitter workshop, I could not have given it until I knew a lot about how Twitter worked. I guess learning about Twitter was like an independent inquiry project for me. At one site about how to do inquiry learning, this question was asked: "When is it time to report? Since learners are dealing with self-directed questions that have highly personal value, they should report when they are satisfied with the answer." By that measure, I reached the point of being satisfied with the answer. (Maybe my question was: Does Twitter have value for me as a teacher?) Then it was time for me to share my learning with others.
Where does the sharing phase of inquiry learning take place?
If the sharing is taking place in a physical setting ( a classroom, an auditorium), logistics must be part of the consideration in planning the sharing. Teachers will usually be the ones to take care of this. I have set up many heritage fairs and science fairs in my classroom. I would need to set up for the traffic flow through the room. I also needed to prep the students to stand up to give their brief speech about their project since our room usually became very noisy during these fairs.
If the sharing is taking place online, then technology becomes part of the scenario. For example, when I watched some of the Skype session that the Grade 1 Moose Jaw teacher, Kathy Cassidy, shared with the teacher in the States, there was a lack of audio clarity. This is a technical issue.
When I shared my learning about Twitter with the students in my Twitter workshop, we were in a computer lab. This was an ideal setting since I wanted all of them to create Twitter accounts right away. Sometimes the venue for sharing will change from one presentation to the next. Students and teachers will need to be flexible about making each location work for them.
The next blog post deals with the Why and How of the sharing phase of the inquiry learning process. (Click here.)
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