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Monday, February 18, 2013

Using teacher inquiry to integrate thinking, collaboration, differentiation AND e-learning

This is a guest post from Claire Amos. 

In 2011 I wrote a post entitled Using Teaching as inquiry to guide an elearning action plan, looking at how the inquiry cycle enables teachers to integrate e-learning in such a way that it focuses on the student needs over the e-learning tool itself. In 2012 I revised this model. The inquiry cycle continues to inform the elearning action plan, but this time with a focus on how thinking skills can be developed, using collaborative practices and differentiation, and how this can be supported through the integration of ICT in and beyond the classroom.

To aid the teacher in this enquiry, the following question frame has been developed. The teacher may to choose to this over a short period, semester or even over the course of a school year.

Stage One: Focussing Inquiry
What aspect of ‘thinking’ do I want to focus on?
Which class/group of students do I want focus on?
Thinking might include: 
  • divergent thinking 
  • creative thinking 
  • critical literacy 
  • digital literacy 
  • information literacy skills 
  • questioning skills 
Stage Two: Teaching and Learning Inquiry
What strategies (evidence-based) are most likely to help my students learn this?
In this teaching inquiry, the teacher uses evidence from research and from their own past practice and that of colleagues to plan teaching and learning opportunities aimed at achieving the outcomes prioritized in the focusing inquiry.
What are the collaborative and differentiation strategies that will best support thinking?
  • differentiation e.g. RAFT activities, tiered activities, student choice etc 
  • collaboration - co-construction of text, bus stop activities etc 
What are the specific ICT tools (or combination of ICT tools) and/or strategies that will best support the aspect of effective pedagogy I am focusing on:
  • Moodle - which specific resources and/or activities 
  • Google Apps 
  • Other tools and software 
Stage Three: Teaching and learning
Teaching and Learning takes place - ICT Strategies are implemented into the classroom
i.e A Google Site and Google Docs are used in and beyond the classroom to support differentiation and/or collaboration and learning activities that support specific aspects of thinking and developing key competencies.

Stage Four: Learning Inquiry
What happened as a result of the teaching, and what are the implications for future teaching?
In this learning inquiry, the teacher investigates the success of the teaching in terms of the prioritised outcomes, using a range of assessment approaches. They do this both while learning activities are in progress and also as longer-term sequences or units of work come to an end. They then analyse and interpret the information to consider what they should do next. i.e Have you increased/improved your pedagogy and developed strategies that support collaboration and differentiation through the use of specific ICT tools and strategies? Have you raised levels of thinking? How? Why? Why not?

Claire Amos is an establishing Deputy Principal at Hobsonville Point Secondary School in Auckland, New Zealand. She writes a blog called Teaching and eLearning and is also on Twitter.

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