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Supporting inquiry learning using Blogger and Scribd

Tags: Effective pedagogy | Social sciences | Blogging | Publishing | Social media | Primary | Upper primary |

Students at Hinuera School in Matamata used Blogger and Scribd to support inquiry-focused learning.

The inquiry focus

To develop a plan for an alternative lunch eating area for students, the Enviroschools Action Learning Cycle  was used as the basis for a guided student inquiry. 

Teaching and learning – The inquiry cycle

Open questions

The inquiry was undertaken as part of a Senior Syndicate unit underpinned by the theme, "Me and my Environment".

Identify the current situation

Students brainstormed positive and negative aspects of the existing lunch eating area. This helped establish what the issues were to focus on.

Collecting evidence

The students took stock of what there was in the lunch eating area. They used the digital camera to photograph areas they believed were important, and those they deemed to be significant hazards. Students put their photos into PowerPoint presentations and uploaded them to the class blog via Scribd. 

Explore alternatives

The easy access to photos via the class blog, supported students while they were drafting their own ideas and developing designs for a new and improved lunch eating area. The teacher planned for students and others to use the comment feature at the bottom of the blog page to create an online discussion about the photos.

After their investigations and discussions the students created designs of what they wanted the eating area to look like. Reasons for the specific features they had put into their designs were included.

Students' design

As they presented their designs to the class, further discussions took place. The ideas that the class considered to be significant were selected and incorporated into a final design. Images of the students’ work as well as the brainstorming process were compiled using the online tool MovieMaker. A student added a voiceover explaining what the class had done and outlined the features of the final design.

Take action 

The class designs were shared with the rest of the school at an end of term assembly, and submitted to the BOT and Principal be incorporated into the planning stages for the final designs.

The school’s Enviro Group was set to support the next stages of the design process.

Teacher reflection on learning outcomes

  • Students developed a deeper understanding of the inquiry model. By working through the process they were able to identify, modify, and develop a new idea.
  • Using tools (PowerPoint, Scribd, and the class blog) provided a way of sharing and hosting information relevant to the experience.
  • Including the students in selecting tools gives them an understanding of their purpose and ownership of the process.