Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Inquiry drives Learning

David Truss is the Vice Principal and Lead Administrator of the Inquiry Hub in Vancouver, British Columbia. We interviewed Dave about the design of the Inquiry Hub back in April, 2012. The Inquiry Hub opened this September so we interviewed Dave again to follow their journey.

They are working on scaffolding and planning this first year where they give learners autonomy on what they want to do. The most powerful piece is that they built in more reflection as it relates to inquiry.

The structure of the Inquiry Hub is around topics. In the morning, the teachers and learners start off with a topical workshop. Then the learners work on online courses guided by their teachers. In the afternoon they work on their inquiry project individually and/or collaboratively. Dave shared a topic that took a life of its own: The Green Inquiry Project where Shauna, Sophia, and Hannah wrote and received a wildlife grant as part of their environmental sustainability group.

Their project focuses on the development of a garden to produce organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs.  The aim of the project is to connect youth with the land by providing an opportunity to plant, grow and harvest their own food. Students will learn about the environment and agriculture by cultivating their own produce, a hands-on experience, rather than simply reading about it. In addition, the garden offers a place for students to interact and learn with each other and with partner groups. Partner groups may include the resident daycare, alternative education programs, and community residents, for example, senior citizens. On April 26th, the community came together and they built the garden together.

This is just one example how inquiry builds ideas that can involve communities. The Inquiry Hub is a school that realizes how community is important -- that inquiry drives learning. They have started portfolios using Dropbox. Year 2, they plan to update their vision around portfolios and how they collect and reflect on evidence of learning.

Dave shared seven key aspects that can help transform any classroom into a more engaging, and student empowered learning space. See the introductory post: http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/7-ways-to-transform-your-classroom/

"7 Key Inquiry Hub Aspects"

  1. Inquiry (Give Learners Voice)  Students seek and  explore their own questions
  2. Voice (Give Learners a Voice) Provide students with meaningful opportunities to share.
  3. Audience (Give Learners an Audience) Student work is shared with more than teachers and peers.
  4. Community (Give learners a community to collaborate with) Collaboration with teachers and peers with global and local communities.
  5. Leadership (Give learners opportunities to lead) Students as lead learners in our school and in our world.
  6. Play (Give learners opportunities to play) School as a learning sandbox
  7. Networks (Give learners digitally connected space to learn)  Connected learning in both physical and digital spaces.