Inquiry-based Learning

Daniel Pink asks what drives us. Sir Ken Robinson asked us to inspire creativity in our students. The latest in education is asking us to teach our students to create their own questions, do their own research, and form their own conclusions with their learning. Why? The world is a collaborative, communicative place and it is the world of online tools that has made it this way. Our students' workplaces will be places with teams at tables, not individuals in cubicles. They will be asked to be innovative and create the next tool, not to push bureaucratic paper. We must teach them how to think on their own without being told what to do. We need to teach them to be autonomous learners. Only one who can guide his own learning can effectively contribute to a team.

Genius Hour is one-hour per week over one quarter of the year and the project I'd recommend starting with when teaching students how to find answers on their own.

When students publish work online, they see what they're doing as authentic. Find some tips, tricks, and ideas about student blogging, designing websites, and podcasting in your classroom.

Once students learn how to research with Genius Hour and then publish their works, they are ready for a larger project. 20% asks them to find a topic they'll dedicate themselves to for 8 weeks or longer.

Topics can't always be student choice. When teachers have a specific topic they want to teach but still want inquiry-based methods surrounding it, consider PBL.