How can technology be used with inquiry-based learning?
Technology can be an important part of inquiry-based learning, since so much of today's information technology is aimed at answering questions and providing up-to-date information. New technologies like CD-ROMs and the Internet are also interactive, which helps engage students in inquiry.
As mentioned above, multiple sources of information -- books, magazines, the Internet, and other technologies -- are an important part of an inquiry classroom.
When students have questions that the teacher cannot answer or that require the gathering of multiple points of view or types of data, use of technology can be crucial. In good inquiry-learning classrooms, technology is available to help students develop their information-processing and analysis skills. In their work, students will often use the Internet or CD-ROM programs to find information that they need.
In Part 1 of this video clip, students teleconference with astronomers and other scientists through a multimedia, collaborative program called "Passport to Knowledge." In Part 2, Eileen Bendixsen, a teacher at Beers Street Middle School in Hazlet, New Jersey, talks about the program and how it helps her classes do science inquiry.
Teachers focus not so much on how to use a particular technology but on the underlying skills that allow students to learn to adapt to new technologies and transfer existing skills from one type of technology to another.