Session 2 Inquiry Based Learning and Research Skills - June 14, 2011

  • Question Mark Man
    Question Mark Man

    Essential Questions

    1. What is Inquiry Based Learning?
    2. How can we help students effectively navigate the web for research?
    3. How do we balance guidance and freedom for our students?

  • Tasks

2.1 Opener: Changing Times
  • Read the following article: Changing Times - Newsweek Article
  • On the HOME Page of your virtual notebook post a summary of your impressions of the article. Connect those thoughts to your evolving view of a 21st century classroom, based on your initial thoughts, the articles you have read and the forum posts from last session.
  • Title your response "2.1:The 21st Century Classroom."

2.2 Creating new wiki pages:
Your wikispace can include an almost infinite number of pages. Wikipedia for instance is a wikispace with over 3 million pages and has been edited over a billion times. Creating new pages allows you to separate your lessons, units, classes and more. For this course you will create a different page for each session, as well as others such as the following:

  • On the home page of your virtual notebook there is a link that says New Page with an icon next to it (where it is will depend on the theme you have chosen for your wikispace). Click on New Page, then title your Page Name Classmates' Notebooks.


Note about Add Tags: This step is optional. Tags are a label you can attach to a page to make it easier to track or search for later.

  • Hit "Create." This will open your new page and will show the Edit Toolbar. Create a heading "Classmates' Notebooks." Keep this page open.

  • In a new window open the document Course Participantsfrom this Moodle site which contains the names, email addresses, and virtual notebook links of the participants in this course. You will be creating links to your 5 groupmates' notebooks in your Classmates' Notebooks page. Copy the notebook address of the first member of your assigned group
    • In your new page "Classmates' Notebooks" create a link to the virtual notebook of the page you copied. To do this:
    • From the Edit toolbar, select Link. Next Select the External Link tab, then name the link text (example: John Smith's notebook) and paste the Web Address (Example: then check the new window box. Finally select add link. (See below). Your link will appear as: John Smith's Notebook
Notebook Link
Notebook Link

    • Repeat this process for each member of your assigned group. You should have 5 notebooks linked on your page when you are done.
  • Of those 5 classmates, choose 2, and visit their notebooks to read their home pages. While in their homepage click on the Discussion tab and write a quick post to say hello.
  • Create another new page for this week and call it "Session 2." As we move through the course, you will create a new page for each session, and title it with that week's session number. This is where you will post each week's work. Title your new page "Session 2" and then hit save. Proceed to Task 2.3.



Windows program key combinations
• CTRL+C: Copy
• CTRL+X: Cut
• CTRL+V: Paste
• CTRL+Z: Undo
• CTRL+Y: Redo
• CTRL+B: Bold
• CTRL+U: Underline
• CTRL+I: Italic
• CTRL+P: Print
MAC program key combinations are the same as Windows but with the Command (CMD) key


account: a username and password that let you participate in the site as a whole — and a prerequisite for membership in any individual wiki

account name: see username

actions menu: the section of the side bar that includes the New Page, Recent Changes, Manage Wiki and Search options, plus the Make a New Wiki and Site Administration links in a Private Label site

anchor: an element that you place in a page that makes it possible to link directly to that part of the page

badges: a small graphic that you can put on other Web sites to advertise your wiki

content area: the part of your wiki page that is controlled by the Edit button

dashboard (my account): see My Account

dashboard (site administration): the page that provides a snapshot of your Private Label site usage

domain name (DNS): the address of your wiki or Private Label site

editor toolbar: the graphic list of your options when you're editing a page with the visual editor

embed: to place a piece of media or code into a wiki page

export: a copy of all the pages and files in your wiki, saved as HTML, wikitext, or a PDF

guest: anyone who is not logged in

join: to request membership in a wiki

K–12 wiki: a free, ad-free wiki available to educators, exclusively for use in primary and secondary education

locked: only editable by an organizer of the current wiki

logo: the graphic at the top left of the page; wikis begin with the default bonsai graphic, but that can be replaced with any graphic you choose

member: anyone who has been granted permission to join to a particular wiki (must already be an active user)

membership: the permission to participate in an individual wiki

My Account: the page that lets you manage your account information, including your email address, password, favorite wikis, and noltification preferences

My Wikis: a list of all the wikis of which you are a member

navigation bar (nav bar): the section of the side bar that provides the navigation for your wiki

organizer: the person (or people) who handles the administrative functions of a wiki

orphaned page: any page that has been edited, but that no other page links to

page: what you can see in a single browser window (plus scrolling up, down, or sideways) without following any links

page name: the title you set for a single page in a wiki

permissions: the settings that determine who can see and edit your wiki

private: only visible and editable to logged-in members of the wiki

Private Label site: a collection of wikis that share common rules of oversight and draw from a common user database

protected: visible to anyone, but only editable to logged-in members of the wiki

public: visible and editable to anyone

recycle bin: a tool that lets wiki organizers restore pages that were deleted from the wiki

RSS feed: a type of media that can be embedded into a wiki page to display constant, up-to-date information on frequently update Web sources like blogs or Twitter feeds
A feed is a specially formatted web page that lists a summary of each change on a site, sorted by date. Sometimes you'll see feeds called syndication, XML, or RSS - they're all the same thing.

sidebar: the section of your theme that houses the Actions menu and the nav bar

site administrator: the person (or people) who manages the global settings and functions of a Private Label site

tag: a label you can attach to a page or file to make it easier to track and manage

tag cloud: The tag cloud is a visual representation of all the tags in your wiki. The more a tag has been used, the more emphasis it gets in the cloud — so tags that you use a lot will be bigger and bolder than less-used tags.

templates, page: a special kind of wiki page that you can use a foundation to create new pages with the same content

templates, wiki: a designation assigned to a wiki in a Private Label site that lets you copy all of the pages, files, and settings (with the exception of individual page permissions) from one wiki into new wikis

theme: everything on the page outside the content area — that is, everything that stays the same when you’ve edited a page, and as you move from page to page within your wiki

user: anyone who has an active account on Wikispaces or, in the case of Wikispaces Private Label, on the Private Label site

User Creator: a tool that makes it easy to create user accounts in bulk (available to site admins on a Private Label site and organizers of K–12 wikis)

username: your unique account identifier on or your Private Label site; a username must be unique, 3–32 characters long, and contain only letters, numbers, hyphens, periods, and underscores

visitor: anyone who comes to a wiki, regardless of user status

visual editor: a word-processor–like interface that lets you see what your wiki page will look like as you edit it

wanted page: a blank wiki page that has never been edited, but that another page links to

widget: a piece of media (like a video, a calendar, or dozens of other media types) that can be embedded into a wiki page

wiki: a group of individual pages united by a single look and feel, sharing the same files and members, and built around a single common purpose (e.g., all the pages being used by one classroom)

wiki name: the name that appears in the header of your wiki (unless your wiki uses a custom logo)

wiki stylesheet: a document in CSS that controls special formatting in the content area of your wiki (requires knowledge of CSS to edit)

wikitext: a markup language that you can use to edit a wiki page, instead of using the visual editor

2.3 Internet Research

Use of the internet opens up a virtually limitless amount of research and resource opportunity. It also creates a number of potential pitfalls, most notably the possible distractions and misinformation available on the web for students to take advantage, or disadvantage, of. When using the internet to research, students must first be educated in smart and critical searching techniques, as well as ways in which to keep track of their research and credit the sources whose information they use.
  • Look at the two websites linked below. When you have looked through these websites answer the following questions in your Session 2 page. Title this section "2.3 Website Analysis"
Website #1
Website #2
    • What characteristics make these websites so convincing?
    • What evidence is available to prove that these websites are hoax sites?
    • What guidance can we give our students to help them avoid websites that contain inaccurate information?

Next, we've found a great, brief guide to internet researching that helps students to research in an efficient manner, as well as evaluate their sources as they research. It comes from the University of California, Berkeley:
Internet Research Guide
For the full description of the checklist items go to
Evaluating Web Pages

  • In order to keep this resource saved for future use, in your virtual notebook create a link (Evaluating Web Pages) in your Session 2 page under the heading "2.3 Website Analysis"
  • Summarize the usefulness of this guide for students in the "2.3 Website Analysis" heading.

  • Next, do a search for Inquiry Based Learning resources on your own. You might want to use some of the tips from the research guide, for example, limiting your results to only ".edu" sites. Find three sources on the topic of inquiry based learning that you think are reliable, and link them in your Session 2 page under the heading "2.3 Inquiry Based Learning Websites"
  • Briefly annotate each link: what does the site contain, how might it be useful in learning about inquiry based learning, etc.

2.4 Reflection: 3 Minute Pause
  • What is a 3-minute pause? Take a quick look at the overview and directions: 3 Minute Pause
  • Let's do a 3-Minute Pause. Return to your Session 2 page and complete a 3 minute pause on your understanding of Inquiry Based Learning. (summary, thoughts, and questions). Title this heading "2.4: 3 Minute Pause."

2.5 Essential Readings
Inquiry based learning allows for independent research, but it also allows for work we might traditionally assign in our classes. There is always room for teachers to make determinations of essential material that students must be exposed to about a given topic. These assignments might be given at the start of the study of a topic, somewhere along the way, or toward the end. In our look at inquiry based learning, we had you take your own look first, but we also have two essential readings for you:
  • Read the information on each of the following pages, then, in a different color, add to what you wrote for your 3 minute pause.
1. Site 1 Be sure to read all the way through, but you DO NOT need to complete the activities.
2. Site 2 Read the page you are sent to, then follow the link to the guiding principles and read those as well.

  • write at least 2 questions and at least 2 comments on inquiry based learning in your Session 2 page. Title this heading "2.5 Essential Readings"

2.6 Evaluating Student Work
  • Look at the following project created by students who were completing an inquiry-based project. Students were led through a series of lessons on the relationship between science and the courts, then allowed to explore an area of interest related to that topic. This project was completed over a four day period during a special summer program.
  • Evaluate and reflect on the students' work as an example of a culminating project at the end of an inquiry based unit. Your evaluations and reflections should be posted in your Session 2 page. Title this section of your page "2.6 Reflections on Student Work".

2.7 Forum Post
  • Post in the forum about inquiry based learning and your evolving view of a 21st century classroom, responding to the essential questions for this session, especially the question of how we effectively balance freedom and guidance with our students.

Dropbox: Simplify your life

Dropbox is a website designed to back up your files and for file sharing. If you work from more than one computer, you can access and work on files from any Internet-based computer. You can also use this service to send large files, and you can chose to share files with students or certain people. It is free to sign up for an account and download the program to sync up files.

Go here to watch a video on how it works, and then to sign up.