As a learning strategy, inquiry-based learning is all about learners constructing their own understanding and knowledge through asking questions. Unlike traditional learning methods that focus primarily on drills, memorization and rote learning, inquiry-based learning is essentially student-centered. It involves engaging students in various forms of hands-on activities that require them to use their communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.
Inquiry based learning is process oriented, meaning, what matters at the end are the methods and strategies students develop and use while learning. Inquiry based learning is therefore a learning framework, one that values students voice and agency.
There is a wide range of web tools students can use to boost their inquiry based learning. The collection below features some of my favourite picks. Check them out and share with us on our social media profiles if you have other suggestions to add to the list.
1. Digital Curation Tools
Knowing how to effectively curate and access online resources is an important part of inquiry-based learning. There are numerous tools that can help you bookmark any type of digital content (e.g., video, web pages, images, PDFs, etc) and save it to your library to access later on.
2. Free eBooks and Audiobooks
As an inquiry based learner, you are in constant search for new insights, data, and information to use in your learning projects. eBooks and audiobooks are some of the resources you will often have recourse to during your research. There are several online platforms that offer access to free eBooks and audiobooks. Examples include Internet Archive, LibriVox, Project Gutenberg, Open Library, among several others. Check best places to access free eBooks and audiobooks online to learn more.
3. Video Annotation Tools
Inquiry based learning requires different learning skills and video annotation is one of them. At the end of your inquiry based learning project, you can create explanatory videos with annotations to show others the conclusions of your research. Some of thevideo annotation tools to use in this regard include: Kapwing, WeVideo, Veed, and Flexclip. Check out best video annotation tools to learn more about these and other tools.
4. Presentation tools
Videos are not the only way to showcase the outcomes of your inquiry based learning, presentations are also as equally expressive. You can design professional looking slideshows using tools that are simple and easy. You can select from the numerous pre-designed slide templates, customize them the way you want, and share your final product with others. Some of my favourite presentation making tools include: Google Slides, PowerPoint, Haiku Deck, and Flipsnack. Check out best presentation making tools for teachers and students to learn more.
5. Concept Mapping Tools
Use concept maps to enhance your inquiry-based learning through visualizing complex concepts and uncovering interrelations among topics and ideas. As visual organizers, concept maps can also help you highlight similarities and differences between concepts, showcase the procedural steps taken to reach a solution, brainstorm ideas, and many more.
6. Research Tools
Inquiry based learning is a form of research. You, the learner, are engaged in researching a certain topic using your own research skills. In doing so, you will draw on a number of research tools some of which are content or discipline specific.
For instance, you might need to search for academic literature written on a certain topic in which case you will need academic search engines and peer review journals. You will also need to know how to properly cite and reference your materials using various citation generators and reference managers. Check out best research tools for teachers and students to discover the different tools and resources you can draw on when conducting your research.