National Week 2012

The time is now

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

With “Fake News” and media literacy so centrally on our minds, the time to collaborate is now!

The information landscape is so complex today that our students need our help learning how to navigate and thrive in the world of information abundance! More than ever, an inquiry based learning model is what our students need in schools to learn about and from information that is at our fingertips all the time. We can teach our students the content we know is important as determined by our national curriculum and standards through an inquiry approach. At the same time, we can meet our students in the middle by engaging their curiosities and interests making learning relevant and rigorous. Inquiry is the way we can accomplish both of these goals.

But don’t go it alone! Right in your very school and community you can find the supports you need to address these challenges for your students by using Guided Inquiry Design.

Have you heard the saying, none of us is as smart as all of us?
Or the amount we can do is based on the number of people we know?

Have a look at this diagram of social networks by DarwinPeacock, Maklaan [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

Imagine that you are one of the points in the diagram above. If it’s true that the amount we can do is based on the people we know, would you rather be the isolated dot way out in the outskirts? Or would you rather be in that deep blue center, where connecting to others is easy, and you can find people to answer your questions and help you accomplish things that are out of your own expertise or comfort zone? Today we have more opportunities to connect with more people through technology making this deep blue even more global and possible!

But you also don’t have to go too far. Your own school can be seen as a network of people with varying expertise. Often times our system of education is set up for teachers to stay in their own classrooms and teach their content in isolation, but we cannot afford to do that any more in the world of information abundance! We need more perspectives, varying expertise, and think partners to help us work through challenging ideas and issues to reach all of our students. We have a network of people right on our own campuses to support us. And the Guided Inquiry Design framework can help you to see the people in your school with a new lens.

Guided Inquiry Design has embedded teacher collaboration into our model. We have defined roles for the teacher, librarian and other members of your staff and community so that you have the support you need to address these difficult topics with your students.

The authors of Guided Inquiry Design value collaborations. Our team is a collaborative effort. The three authors bring three very different perspectives on education and research to the table. Dr Kuhlthau with her internationally renown research and expertise on the Information Search Process, Ann Caspari with her knowledge of informal learning environments, museum resources and education and my knowledge of literacy and curriculum and instruction, experience with coaching teachers and understanding of school administration. Without the three of us, Guided Inquiry Design would not be what it is. Without our three very different different perspectives, maybe it never would have been created at all. Because this is true, we also see how students benefit when teachers partner up to meet their learning needs through inquiry.

Partnering with your school librarian eases so many challenges that come when students are researching to construct new understandings! Librarians understand the research process, know the resources and can teach students mini-lessons on searching and information literacy, right at the point of need.

Partnering with another teacher is also an asset. We have examples in practice of how you can work together as a learning team using Guided Inquiry Design to reach higher level goals for your students through an inquiry approach.

Invite the folks you know who can help you become a better teacher in this age of information abundance- reach out to your fellow teachers, your school librarian and colleagues and join me for a deep dive workshop. Come together, and you will learn how Guided Inquiry Design is what your students need now in this information age to engage in the world today and be prepared for their bright but perhaps uncertain futures. You’ll leave with the tools to collaborate and design rich learning experiences for your students. I do hope to see you there!

Leslie Maniotes, NBCT, MEd, PhD

Author and Professional Developer for Guided Inquiry Design


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