I am a great proponent of attending Twitter chats to stretch my thinking and engage in professional development. There are times when I find myself highly engaged in some chats while other times I simply lurk and listen to the engaging conversations. Whichever mood I’m in, I always leave with valuable resources and nuggets of information that challenge my thinking. On my journey to reintroduce inquiry learning into my classroom, I found two Twitter chats that may prove useful – #inquirychat and #geniushour.
I attended my first #inquirychat on Thursday evening and left with mixed opinions. I’m used to fast-paced chats such as #bcedchat and #edchat, and I found Thursday’s experience very different from my normal encounters – slow, sometimes awkward, but in some respects more meaningful. I’m the type of person who needs time to process ideas that challenge my thinking, and need time to craft thoughtful responses to questions. Thursday’s chat offered time for me to reflect on the questions before sharing my thoughts.
One disadvantage of the chat was that there were only six people contributing to the conversations and most of them were looking at inquiry through the lens of the middle and high-school experience. Another disadvantage was the cultural differences between members of the chat. Most of the participants were from the U.S. and much of the chat centered on the difficulties of adopting inquiry learning methods in an environment that places so much emphasis on standardized testing.
In spite of the limited number of participants, there were several useful pieces of information I picked up. The topic of service-learning came up in the chat several times and this topic fits in nicely with one of the options in the framework I plan to develop during this learning project. I appreciated this tweet from @MlleLofthouse because it reminds me to engage my learners in thinking centered around real-life problem/solutions:
Points That Stretched My Thinking:
- Inquiry can motivate learners when it involves real life learning such as service learning
- ‘Hands-on’ learning opportunities often make the best inquiry learning projects
- Simulations are great ways to engage learners in skill and content building exercises
- Game-based learning and simulation-based learning lend themselves well to inquiry learning