Facilitators and teachers discuss teaching as inquiry through a blended e-learning lens.
I think it’s really great that the teachers are using teacher inquiry through e-learning. It’s been part of our appraisal system for the last two years. Last year we were doing it through literacy and now it’s strengthening their own knowledge of e-learning as well.
So at the end of Term 1 I was given the opportunity to sit down with each of the teachers and help them develop an inquiry goal. So we looked at their achievement data, and looked at what they felt were the strongest learning needs for their priority learners, and created a target group. Once we did that we looked at some different digital technologies that we could use to support those learners with that specific learning need and then talked about the whole inquiry process. So what we did, we did the focussing inquiry where we identified the students and the learning need and then we went into the teaching inquiry where we were looking at which intervention, which BeL tool or technology would support that learning need, and then the teachers went through a process of reflecting on the impact that that was having, collecting evidence along the way. And one of the things that we did was to provide critical friendship for the staff around their BeL inquiry.
So my BeL inquiry was related to my literacy target group who were below in comparison to the national standards. Di was my critical friend, and we were in regular contact with each other through online meetings. Di was looking at my reflections online and giving me feedback, and then I was able to go back through and reply to her, which was great.
Some of those meetings took place face-to-face and some of those meetings took place virtually, through Google Hangouts, through Skype, and we had an ongoing dialogue in the Google doc where their inquiries were recorded.
By framing my needs and my goals within the inquiry, the whole inquiry, I’m able to revisit that document, have a look at the feedback, and just continually reflect on it. I’m getting far better at it I think. I’m trying to get a cross-section of the children, so whenever I introduce a new tool, for instance bubbl.us , then I’ll take a sample of that so that I remember it, and then I can evaluate on that, and maybe make a goal for the next one. The inquiry document is a living document, that’s the way I see it. I can access it at any time and that’s really powerful too. When I have a moment I can just quickly put something in there and say, 'Oh well good, this is what we’ve done, this is what we’ve tried this week, it hasn’t worked so well, or it’s going to work well, or we’ve got this sort of issue with it'. So it’s a very personal living document for me that helps in my reflections and where I’m going.
Next term, in my inquiry, the children will be using a specific learning tool for each individual goal in writing, and then the writing will go on their blog. This way I can track it, and you know, track their progress, and it’s fantastic to be able to also just be at home and go on and check what they’re up to.
Using the teaching as inquiry as your basis really helps you focus and keep your focus just on one target group. Once you’ve built up a knowledge of one programme, start adding more, and share with your colleagues, and get back onto the Virtual Learning Network and share ideas and find more ideas. But just little steps.