Part 3… Sustained Inquiry: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources


Welcome to the third in a series of posts regarding Blending the PBL Gold Standards, I am very excited to share on PBL and Blended/eLearning as it relates to Sustained Inquiry. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I will look at each of PBLWork’s Gold Standards. I will provide a short explaination and some free resources examples! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

Part 3… Sustained Inquiry: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources by Michael Gorman at 21centuryedtech

As a teacher, it is very hard to not answer student questions. Yet, if we want students to own the inquiry, it is important to practice “answer restraint” in order to promote not just student answers… but more great student questions. As we all know, children are born with a natural inquiry  and those first five years are a gold mine of inquiry, questions, and wonderment! As children enter school they soon learn to stop asking questions, and instead look to the teacher for answers! PBL allows students to not only ask questions, but they also own this inquiry. As they own the inquiry not only do they find the answers… they also learn to ask even more questions that become deeper and facilitate authentic understanding.

Sustained Inquiry:  Need to Know(s) that allow students to uncover the standards.

In a world filled with so much instant information, it is important  to teach students to ask even more questions as they seek possible answers. So many times we talk about “lifelong learning” and its importance to personal adaptability in a rapidly changing society and workplace. It is developing student skills to ask good questions while seeking out more questions, and eventual answers, that are at the foundation of “life-long learning”! It is only when students own the inquiry that they also begin to own, direct, and self-regulate their own learning. At this point, learning becomes both passionate and authentic. The question remains, how do we as educators make it happen? Please take a moment to reflect on some of the major ideas and resources I have listed below. I am sure as you find answers, you will also begin to have even more questions. Embrace this idea, as it will lead to even more answers and even deeper understanding.  Enjoy the journey!

Resources for the Driving/Investigative Question and Challenges:  – I am including just a small set of resources that might help you develop student owned inquiry in PBL. There are only five, and as you read them think of ways you can take these ideas and blend them with technology. The most important part is framing a question so that it is open… but still constraining it so the question is certain to support the standards. This was my primary focus in finding resources. When we address the Gold Standard of Inquiry we will look even deeper at some student owned blended inquiry that helps answer the question. I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

  1. Discover QFT at The Right Question Institute (https://rightquestion.org/)  – QFT, known as Question Formation Protocol is a simple way of promoting inquiring through collaborative groups of students. It incorporates the simple steps below and will allow your students to own the inquiry process while reflecting on their questions. Pay special attention to the templates that are provided for you to bring students to the blended world. They are amazing and free.
  • Brainstorm Questions
  • Identify questions (open and closed)
  • Advantages of open and closed questions
  • Rewrite an open to closed and a closed to open
  • Prioritize
  • Investigate

2. Edutopia: Establish a Classroom Wonderwall  (https://www.edutopia.org/practice/i-wonder-questions-harnessing-power-inquiry) – How about constructing a class Wonderwall where students can post their wonders? These can be tied to the curriculum or provide the foundation for student owned inquiry research. Take a look at this wonderful article to incorporate the idea in the classroom. As you do this, how might you make this happen in the online and blended world. Think of Apps such as Padlet, Google Docs, or even you own LMS using a classroom discussion. It really can help build a culture of wonder.

3. AnswerGarden (https://answergarden.ch/) – This site is best described as a minimalist feedback tool that is easy to use in the classroom. A teacher can create an Answer Garden by entering a topic on the Create New Answer Garden-Page. From there you will be redirected to your newly created Answer Garden Website. Since no-one has posted an answer yet, your Answer Garden will still be empty. The next step is to share your Answer Garden URL. Use it live in the classroom, to pose a question, or place (embed) your Answer Garden on your classroom website. A Driving Question could be posted with a request that students post their Need to Knows. There are countless possibilities. All student feedback  is then represented in your Answer Garden. One neat feature is to be able to export the feedback into a Word Cloud using Wordle or Tagxedo! Imagine the possible reflection and discussion that can spark great research.

4. Miro Brainstorming Tools (https://miro.com/templates/brainstorming/) – Mind mapping tools help students working together in colaboration to inquire, brainstorm, and look for answers. Miro has some free capbilities that you might find useful. Some of the tools include KWL, 5W’s, and Mind Mapping to name a few. You might want to even look at examples and find a way to duplicate these in Google Draw or Docs. Remember, that as students brainstorm, questions get bigger, deeper, and more numerous. How might you allow these ideas to facilitate student owned inquiry in PBL?

Genius Hour Site – Teachers across the country are finding ways to put that Google 20% in their classroom, while still supporting standards and 21st-century skills. This site might just help you get started in providing students the opportunity to learn how to learn, while practicing self-regulation. Best of all, it supports that important voice and choice along with spiraling inquiry!  It really encourages that important Maker’s Culture of Innovation. You may visualize how this easily works in a blended environment. Think of Zoom interviews, online research, student virtual presentations, collaborative on-line production, and so much more. This is a great way to teach digital inquiry, research, web evaluation skills.

Reflection on Student Sustained Inquiry
Project Based Learning facilitates and activates that essential human desire to learn, investigate, and inquire. It fosters the ability to ask that open ended question that uncover the curriculum content. A PBL Unit facilitates the student owned process of inquiry while seeking knowledge, along with high level skills that will serve a lifetime of learning. T

Next Post: Authenticity and PBL… Sign Up Now!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

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