Final Reflection

Creating this blog and conducting the study based on the ILA has helped me develop a solid understand of inquiry-based learning. I now feel more confident in my ability to create and administer inquiry-based units of work and I am quite excited about where those units may take both me and my students. As a final reflection, I will revisit some of the questions I had about inquiry learning before I delved into the Information Learning Nexus world.

1. How prescribed should inquiry learning be? Should every student begin on the same set theme or, for example, could a book that has endless opportunities of themes to explore , related to a student’s individual interpretation, be the theme?

From my understanding of inquiry-based learning, the more broad the theme, the more opportunities there are for inquiry. A book could definitely be ‘the theme’ since every individual’s experience and understanding of the text will be unique. As a teacher, this is way more exciting since the learning process is more balanced and students and teachers simultaneously learn from each other. It would be really interesting to compare the different paths of students in relation to where their learning was taken after reading a particular book!

2. How is inquiry learning assessed? Does standardised assessment play a part?

Standardised assessment can form a part – students need to fulfil all the requirements/tasks to ‘tick all the boxes’, so to speak, but the boxes may simply be ‘the student has included a Pinterest board as part of their blog’ or ‘the issue of Creative Commons has been raised at least once by the student in their blog’.

3. Does inquiry learning suit group work or individual work best?

Either. It depends on the task. At some level however, in keeping with best practice, collaboration between peers and the wider community needs to be involved so that learning is extended and student have opportunities to reexamine their original ideas.



It is hard to recommend changes for the Youth, Popular Culture and Texts blogging task since I was a student who took part in the ILA and I very much enjoyed it. The blogging/reflection assignment was one of the only assignments I have ever completed more than a week before time. I did not include my own blogging reflection in the study for fear of my own bias in favour of the task which may or may not have caused me to interpret my reflection differently from the other participants.

Although the ILA motivated and engaged me as good inquiry learning should, some of the statements in the blogging reflections suggested that other students may not have been as inspired or motivated as I was throughout the inquiry unit. Overall, the participants made positive statements about their blogging experiences but concerns over blogging were still raised. By drawing on literature I will try to address participant concerns and suggest strategies for improving the inquiry unit to better suit the needs of the participants.


“Students are primarily motivated by the fact that their blog is being assessed and the audience mainly consists of their teacher and classmates. The staged nature of this interaction seems to conflict with the real purpose of an authentic blog”

Participant 4 raised some interesting concerns about the use of blogging in educational environments. Guided inquiry is not preparation solely for a test (Kuhlthau et al, 2007) and there is a fine line between increasing levels of support to ensure the success of the learning process and the danger of losing the key principles of the inquiry-based learning process (Reel and Davies, 2011). Overprescription of learning activities, or ‘staged’ learning, can indeed hinder a students’ motivation towards a task. The recognition of the need to guide the learning process as opposed to over, or under supporting learners during their learning process is important (Reel and Davies, 2011, p. 15) however it is just as important for educators to consider how inquiry learning may change at a university level. Already by secondary school teachers should be gradually releasing responsibility to students in preparation for them learning and working in an information society (Kuhlthau et al, 2007) so at a university level, why not give students the freedom to create completely unstaged blogs?

“difficult to assess using traditional methods”

Participant 4 raised the concern that blogs are difficult to assess and this question may also arise if unstaged blogs were to be accepted and valid for university assessment. Critics argue that scripted instruction emphasises lowerorder skills that are particularly easy to measure using standardised tests” (Sawyer, 2004, p. 12) yet there is frustration in the unstructured nature of information that can be encountered on the web (Crook, 2012, p. 69) that certainly raises some valid questions about how educators should go about assessing such unstructured information.

While educators and government policy are calling for cultural and scientific creativity to improve productivity, there is also a trend toward tighter intellectual property and copyright control (Kapitzke, 2009). “Giving copyright education a higher profile than it has currently in school media  centre programs would go some way toward mitigating compliance to cultural regulation by assisting copyright owners – such as school students – and content users to negotiate the complexities of the law to their benefit” (Kapitzke, 2009, p. 103). It could also provide a solid means of assessment and could be combined with the practice of unstaged blogging. The requirement that a blog contained an open themed topic adhering to Creative Commons Licensing could possibly be a way of addressing the complexities of Creative Commons while also providing a means of assessment. The ILA, in its nature, held within it the requirement that Creative Commons Licensing was understood but perhaps if Creative Commons was a set weekly theme, the free choice in what Creative Commons would be linked to would provide students with extra motivation.

Pinterest – “onerous” 

One of the set weekly blogging tasks of the ILA was for students to create a ‘Kids These Days’ Pinterest board. Personally I found this weekly task a lot of fun but Participant 3 described the activity as “onerous” in their blogging reflection. Somekh (2006, p. 123) suggests that people are likely to be highly motivated when they are engaged in play but “the real empowerment is that they access  a very wide range of information without it being controlled by parents or teachers”. The open ended structure of the inquiry process inevitably suggests open ended approaches to assessment (Reel & Davies, 2011, pp. 3-4). Perhaps changing the ILA’s assessment requirement of a ‘Kids These Days’ Pinterest board into a unstaged Pinterest board would have made the task more appealing to Participant 3?

“I favoured the digital narrative over dry-research pieces”

“I found it difficult to balance the academic content and referencing requirements with the desire for a more engaging conversational writing style” 

I find it very easy to empathise with Participant 3 in their favouring of digital narratives over dry-researched pieces and Participant 4’s concern over the ILA’s set weekly blog posts requiring formal academic structuring was also a concern of mine.  “Learners play an active part in structuring their own curriculum” (Somekh, 2006, p. 129) and university referencing rules tend to go against the grain of inquiry-based learning. “In the Web 2.0 world of user-led text cultures it is imperative for creativity and innovation within curriculums (Kapitzke, 2009, p. 95) and, although others may differ in opinion, sensory experience is a prime form of communication (Berg, 2005) that far surpasses the importance of formal referencing requirements in my opinion.

Curriculum must strike a balance between suiting the needs of the individual and the needs of society as a whole (Somekh, 2006). Requirements for such formal forms of writing, in my opinion, should not be the focus of blog tasks. Therefore, my final recommendation for the ILA would be that scholarly research-based tasks not be included in the blog. These tasks should be reserved for more formal platforms, such as the blogging reflection, or perhaps other online platforms that are less conversational in nature than blogs.



Berg, Gary. A. (2005). Communication and Media Theory. Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, 1, 342 – 344.

Crook, C. (2012). The ‘digital native’ in context: Tensions associated with importing Web 2.0 practices into the school setting. Oxford Review of Education. 38(1), 63-80

Kapitzke, Cushla (2009). Rethinking copyrights for the library through Creative Commons licensing. Library Trends 58 (1) pp.95-108.

Kuhlthau, Carol C. ; Maniotes, Leslie K. & Caspari, Ann K. (2007). Guided inquiry: learning in the 21st century, Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited

Reel, Debbie; and Davies, Helen. (2011). Enquiry-based Learning: the impact on post-graduate trainees. Teen Journal 3 (1) September [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 17 Oct 2012).

Sawyer, R Keith. (2004). Creative Teaching: Collaborative Discussion as Disciplined Improvisation. Educational Researcher, 33 (2), 12-20.

Somekh, Bridget. (2006). New ways of teaching and learning in the digital age: Implications for curriculum studies (pp. 119-129). In Schooling, Society and Curriculum. Taylor and Francis: UK.

Analysis of the ILA with the ISP

“A web log or a blog can be seen as enabling a cycle of action, reflection and feedback. This cycle is related to the pedagogical theories and practices of critical reflection and higher-order thinking”.                                  

Participant 1

ILA ISP Rainbow

As shown above, the stages of the blogging ILA can be expressed using my interpretation of Kuhlthau’s ISP model which links each stage of the model with the colours of the rainbow.

Kuhlthau describes the Initiation stage as a time filled with feelings of uncertainty and students feelings of uncertainty were expressed in their blogging reflections.  As Participant 1 described it, “the task, although seemingly uncomplicated and fun, contained within it various levels of skill, practice and competence”.

Students’ feelings of uncertainty continued into the Selection stage of the ILA. Participant 4 found “setting up WordPress” to be a challenge, as did Participant  1 who stated that the process “was not easy” and it “required a considerable amount of time to learn the features of this tool”. As Kuhlthau suggests, feelings of uncertainty begin to change to feelings of optimism during the Selection stage and the participants’ selection of blog templates would likely instigate such a change in feelings at this stage.

The Exploration stage, as described by Kuhlthau, can fill students with confusion, frustration and doubt. “The public nature of the assessment is both confronting and overwhelming” (Participant 1) and deciding “what to write about” (Participant 4) was quite challenging for some participants. The “pressure to feel knowledgeable” was a particular concern of Participant 4 that can be related to this stage of the ISP model.

Learners begin to experience clarity during the Formulation stage and will become more focused. As participant 4 stated, “opening your work up to the world can be both a liberating and daunting experience” but, according to Kuhlthau, once a student has reached the writing stage, their interest in the task will have increased.

During the Collection stage, a student’s sense of direction increases. As stated by Participant 4, “I expected to learn about what is popular with young people, but I now realise that this would be pointless as trends come and go and young people’s engagement with them can vary significantly”. Instead, other factors start to appear and students start to understand and develop “appreciation and respect” for such things as “the intellectual property rights of others” (Participant 2).

During the Presentation stage, the participants presented their blogs to their peers and began to receive feedback.  They also gave their peers feedback on their blogs during this stage. As Kuhlthau states, this stage can instigate feelings of satisfaction or disappointment since the participants’ posts were open to both praise and criticism. Receiving and giving feedback increases and consolidates students’ learning by since it provides them with opportunities to extend their learning beyond their initial judgements and made informed conclusions. As Participant 1 discovered “it is the creation of a community of learners that is important, not the tool through which the community is enacted”.

The Assessment stage insights feelings of accomplishment and it is during this stage that students have a greater sense of self-awareness and an awareness of how their achievements relate to the outside world. In response to the ILA, and in relation to the broader topic of Youth, Popular Culture and Texts, Participant came to the realisation that in order to connect to the students in their care they would “need to constantly keep abreast of popular culture texts”. As Participant 3 stated, “The most important thing is to engage students in their learning and popular culture is the most enjoyable way to do this”.


Using information from the Participant 1, Participant 2, Participant 3 and Participant 4 questionnaires, the data was tallied and presented graphically.


The following information relates to Question 1: What does the student know about blogging?

Participant Responses to Question 1 graph

As the above graph shows, students blogging reflections included more Fact Statements than Explanation or Conclusion statements and, generally, the blogging reflections included more Conclusion Statements than Explanation Statements.

Participant Statements about blogging graph

As the above pie chart shows, the majority of students’ statements about blogging were Fact Statements. This was followed by Conclusion Statements. Explanation Statements were used less frequently by students overall than Fact and Conclusion Statements.


The following information relates to Question 2: How interested in blogging is the student?

Participant Responses to Question 2 graph

As the above graph shows, student interest in blogging was found to be quite varied.

Participant 1 made more statements that related to their disinterest than to their interest which may suggest they are not really very interested in blogging. In keeping with the SLIM toolkit’s coding, it may be said that this participant had ‘not much’ of an interest in blogging.

Participant 2 had no statements that showed they were disinterested in blogging in their reflection. The fact that only made positive comments were made may suggest their interest in blogging is high. In keeping with the SLIM toolkit’s coding, this participant’s statements indicate the participant shows ‘a great deal’ of interest towards blogging.

Participant 3 showed an overall interest in blogging. This may indicate they are ‘quite a bit’ interested in blogging.

Participant 4 showed the same amount of interest as they did disinterest in blogging. The participant’s overall interest does not fit with the SLIM toolkit’s coding since a ‘balanced’ measure is not represented in the toolkit’s coding.

How interested in blogging were the participants grapg

The above pie chart represents the overall interest in blogging shared by all participants. The results show that more Interested Statements than Disinterested Statements appeared across all of the participants’ blogging reflections.


The following information relates to Question 3: How much does the student know about blogging?

Participant Responses to Question 3 graph

As the above graph shows, the four participants’ made more statements related to what they know about blogging (Know Statements) than what they need to learn (Need to Learn Statements).

Participant 1 only made Know Statements. It may be interpreted that this participant knows ‘a great deal’ about blogging.

Interestingly, participants 2, 3 and 4 shared the same ratio of Know Statements to Need to Learn Statements. The results may suggest that these participants know ‘quite a bit’ about blogging.


The following information relates to Question 4: What did the student find easy about blogging?

Easy comments table

The above table provides valuable insight into the overall components of the blogging task that students found easy including ICT, Writing, Commenting and Popular Culture.

What the participant found easy graph

The results, represented in the pie chart above, indicate that students found the ICT and Writing components to be the easiest parts of blogging.


The following information relates to Question 5: What did the student find hard about blogging?

Difficult to do table

The above table provides insight into the overall components of the blogging task that participants found difficult including ICT, Writing, Public Presence and Multi-modal Tasks.

What was Difficult About Blogging

It is interesting to note that although ICT and Writing were the easiest components of blogging, the above pie chart suggests that ICT and Writing were also the most difficult components of blogging for the participants.


The following information relates to Question 6: What did the students learn from the blogging project? 

Project table


The above table provides insight about what the participants learned from the blogging project. The grouped statements highlight the reoccurring themes that presented themselves.

Project pie chart


As the above pie chart shows, the participants made more statements relating to what they learned about Popular Culture, around the same amount of statements about Social Media as they did about Collaboration, and less statements about the skills they learned from the project.


To analyse each of the four participating students blogging reflections, I drew upon the Student Learning through Inquiry Measure (SLIM) toolkit (Todd, Kuhlthau and Heinstrom, 2005). Due to the timing of the study, only an adapted version of the toolkit’s third questionnaire was used. Rather than having students complete the questionnaire individually, information from each student’s 1000-word reflection was transferred over to the questionnaire. Transferring and ‘recreating’ student responses to fit with the format of the questionnaire provided a more consistent and useable framework from which data could be evaluated.

An example of the adapted SLIM Questionnaire used to collect data:

blog relection sheet SLIM

In order to collect data for question 1 of the questionnaire, students’ blogging reflections were analysed for fact statements, explanation statements and conclusion statements. Each of these was highlighted in a different colour. Since each reflection varied in word count, the statement results will be represented in percentages.

Example of how fact (green), explanation (blue) and conclusion (pink) statements were highlighted in one participant’s blogging reflection:

Blog highlighting 2

To collect data for the second question, students relevant responses related to how interested they were in blogging were collected and tallied. If students had more statements relating to things that interested them over things they found disinteresting or frustrating about blogging, this transferred to either ‘quite a bit’ or ‘a great deal’ depending on the variation between the number of responses. If students had more statements about things they did not like over what they found interesting, this transferred to either ‘not much’ or ‘not at all’.

Examples of a range of  Interested (yellow) and Disinterested (red) statements from participants’ reflections:

Interst comment

Disinterest 2

Interest Vs Disinterest

Interest comment 2

Interest Vs Disinterest 2

Interest comment 4

Disinterest comment 3

Data related to question 3 was collected in the same way to question 2, i.e. the number of statements that related to what they knew over what they would like to know.

Examples of a range of Know (green) and Need to Learn (brown) statements from participants’ reflections:

I know comments

Need to know comments

Know Vs Need to Learn comments

To collect data for questions 4, 5 and 6, reoccurring themes were determined after relevant statements were transferred to the questionnaires.

The participants’ questionnaires showing the reflection statements used to determine the themes for questions 4, 5 and 6:

Participant 1 *

participant 1 pic

Participant 2 *

participant 2 pic

Participant 3 *

participant 3 pic

Participant 4 *

 participant 4 pic

* Please excuse the messy handwriting!

Description of the ILA

The Information Learning Activity I will be focusing on in my study comes from the Youth, Popular Culture and Texts course which forms part of the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) degree through the Queensland University of Technology. The course is run by distance education and four students from the course have chosen to participate in the study by allowing me to collect data from their final assignment from the course.

As part of the Youth, Popular Culture and Texts course, students have been asked to create a blog around the overall topic of Youth, Popular Culture and Texts. Some of the required weekly blog posts have been based on a set topic and others have allowed for students to choose their own blog topics. The main data collection of the study will come from students’ reflections of blogging. The 1000-word blogging reflections do not form part of the students’ blogs so students were not asked to publish their reflections online.

The study will provide insight into higher education students perceptions of blogging and how successfully blogging can be integrated into teaching and learning activities.

Choosing an ILA

I am torn between three ideas for my ILA. Initially I had hoped to collect data from a group of university students undertaking a Popular Culture course as part of their teacher training. Unfortunately, my first plan appears to have fallen through.

The focus of the ILA was to be in relation to the students creating Pinterest Boards to represent ‘kids these days’. As part of the Popular Culture course, each student was asked to provide a link to their Pinterest board via a blog they had created for the course. I had then planned to track the students’ next free-choice blog post to see if there were any similarities between what students posted.

Three questionnaires were made available to the students to complete at different stages of ILA. These questionnaires were put on the Google+ community page created for the course. These were made available the week prior to the commencement of the ILA. Since the students were studying the course by distance education, the idea of providing all questionnaires prior to the ILA was to allow the students to work through the questionnaires at their own pace. I did not want to put the questionnaires up too early however as I was worried the questionnaires would get forgotten.

The first questionnaire was to be completed prior to the creation of the Pinterest board. The second was designed to be given after the Pinterest boards had been created. The final questionnaire, I had hoped, would follow on a week later after the students had made their next blog post. Although a reminder was given, and the option for students to complete only the final questionnaire was given, only one student completed and returned the questionnaires. I have considered writing yet another reminder, but for those who completed the Pinterest activity on time (or early in some cases!), responding to the activity now, almost 3 weeks on, seems outdated.

So it now appears I am back at the initiation stage of the process but, like I said, I do have other ideas. Since each student has been asked to write a reflection about blogging, I am considering the idea of using students reflections, as opposed to questionnaires, to collect data about their blogging ‘experiences’. The submission for this reflection has just been extended so I am concerned about the time available to document and report on this ILA.

My third idea is to go without questionnaires or reflections and just evaluate the content in a range of the students blogs. By comparing different blogs, I could document the similarities and differences in the required blog posts that students were asked to make and also I could look for similarities in the free choice posts students made.

I must admit, there have been many challenges for me throughout this course. Not only has my ILA fallen through but I am now the only group member left in my group! I’m still here and battling on though but any ideas for my ILA would be very much appreciated! 🙂

Application of Information-Learning Theories

My ISP Rainbow

Based on Kuhlthau’s ISP model, I created the above ISP Rainbow to represent my own search process. I chose a rainbow not only because I thought it would be a more colourful and user friendly way of representing Kuhlthau’s model, but it represented the different stages of my own development in a similar way as the colours of the spectrum have been used to represent development in eastern cultures or from esoteric perspectives (Sharamon and Baginski, 2006).

The Initiation Phase provided the inspiration for my search and was the basis of my discoveries. It was here that my search process came into being.

The Selection Phase was where I started to form a basic understanding of my search topic.  At this stage I was receptive to new ideas and the information I selected guided my search.

The Exploration Phase allowed my learning to enter a stage of transformation. My initial ideas were challenged as I explored various sources of information and processed what I found.

The Formulation Phase allowed me develop a solid focus for my search. Feelings of confusion started to disappear and I knew in my heart I was on the right track.

During the Collection Phase I gathered as much information as I could and evaluated what I found. I started to develop a picture of what I was being shown. I began to communicate my ideas to others as I felt more confident in my understanding of the topic.

By the Presentation Phase I was able to synthesise what I had discovered during my search. It was here that everything came together as a whole. I could now present all of the ideas in harmonious balance.

The Assessment phase was the revelation phase for me. I finally realised what it all meant and how the process in itself related to inquiry learning. I began to form links between my search process and outside concepts. It was at this stage I developed my rainbow.


Sharamon, Shalila. & Baginski, Bodo J. (2006). The Chakra Handbook: From basic understanding to practical application. Motilal Banarsidass: Delhi.

Essay: Synthesis of Annotated Bibliography Sources

Everyone seems to agree that inquiry learning is the only way forward in educating and preparing students for our fast-paced, technology-driven world and there seems to be a consensus amongst researchers as to the importance of inquiry learning in higher education and teacher training. With technology playing such a huge part in many areas of modern life, it is no wonder the importance of ICT-based learning tools is often talked about in relation to inquiry learning. However, with the current digital divide that exists within local and global communities, it is also no wonder that ICT-based learning tools can be seen as a barrier to implementing inquiry learning curriculums in higher education.

Education does not take place in a vacuum and the societal and cultural changes should be reflected in the practices of institutional learning (Lonka, 2012). Current theory sees the learner, not the teacher, as the central creator of meaning and inquiry learning perpetuates engagement with subject matter on a deeper level. Inquiry learning promotes a more active and creative approach to learning (Reel & Davies, 2011). The self-engagement opportunities that ICT-based learning tools provide link positively with theories of inquiry learning. By being actively engaged with technology, learners discover how they learn. As Behrens (2008, p. 66) states, one of the most important parts of educating students is helping them “see HOW they learn”.

In their study that looked at university administrators perspectives on integrating inquiry pedagogy into curriculums, Justice et al (2009) discovered that, although there was an assumption of understanding of what inquiry meant, there was limited understanding amongst the university community of what was meant by inquiry as a pedagogy. Many of the administrators saw inquiry learning as something that would deter students from acquiring content knowledge in a subject area since they would need to spend time on “skill development” (p. 848). Also, many lecturers with excellent reputations felt deeply and personally affronted by arguments about the claimed superiority of inquiry.

So what is it that makes inquiry learning seem superior to more traditional and more scripted teaching methods and why, if it is so superior, is there still resistance to inquiry learning in higher education? Scripted instruction is opposed to constructivist, inquiry-based and dialogic teaching methods which promote higher-order thinking skills and it has been said that scripted instruction emphasises lower-order thinking skills which are easier to assess with standadised tests (Sawyer, 2004). Although the emphasis should obviously be on higher order thinking, concerns over how university lecturers will plan to assess inquiry curriculums may play a part in their resistance to inquiry learning.

The importance of ICT-based inquiry learning tools have also been seen to be causing resistance to inquiry learning in higher education. There are, however, contradictions for such claims, especially at a university level (Wilber, 2011). The digital divide has been seen to be “the single biggest problem facing education today” and anyone who was born before the days of the internet is considered to “speak an outdated language” (Prensky, in Yang et al, 2011, p. 22).  But Wilber (2011) speaks out against the view, especially in relation to university-aged students. Since the majority of university students were born in the 1980s, many have no memories of a life without digital technologies. In fact, university-aged students have actually invented many of the most popular and well-revered ICT tools of today, such as Facebook.

The truth is no one can keep up with ICT-based technologies and that in itself adds weight to the importance of inquiry learning pedagogies. Only by teaching students how to learn can we begin to prepare them for tomorrows technologies. As Schank and Cleary (in Beyers, 2009, p. 218) suggest, “we must look to concepts that relate to today’s world, one where there’s so much to know that it is likely that students will have to direct their own education out of practical necessity”.

Teachers need to know, not only how to use Web 2.0 tools for personal purposes, they need to know how to use them to support and enhance their students’ learning (Jimoyiannis et al, 2013). Web 2.0 is a term for Web-based technologies, including blogs, wikis, media-sharing sites, podcasting, content aggregators, social networks and social bookmarking sites. Not only do these tools allow learners to be active, central creators of meaning, they also extend learning spaces beyond the walls of classrooms, bridging learning instruction spaces across school, home and wider communities. It has also been found that when teachers themselves experiment with ICT-based inquiry learning tools, their own critical thinking, motivation, engagement and creativity improves (Yang et al, 2012).

Integrating emerging technologies into inquiry learning curriculums, especially in teacher training, not only assists to bridge the so-called digital divide, it also assists in helping teachers discover how they themselves learn. When teachers understand how they learn, they will be more likely to assist their students in making the same discoveries related to their learning. When you take away the barriers to learning, learning just happens. When learning just happens, our fast paced technology driven world seems more exciting than it does daunting.


Behrens, Susan. (2008). The Journey towards a Teaching Philosophy. Research & Teaching in Development Education, 25 (1), 64-69.

Beyers, R.N. (2009). A Five Dimensional Model for Educating the Net Generation. Educational Technology & Society, 12 (4), 218-227.

Jimoyiannis, Athanassios; Tsiotakis, Panagiotis; Roussinos, Dimitrios; and Siorenta, Anastasia. (2013). Preparing teachers to integrate Web 2.0 in school practice: Toward a framework for Pedagogy 2.0. Australian Journal of Education Technology, 29 (2), 248-267.

Justice, Christopher; Rice, James; Roy, Dale; Hudspith, Bod; and Jenkins, Herb.(2009). Inquiry-based learning in higher education: administrators’ perspectives on integrating inquiry pedagogy into the curriculum. Higher Education, 58, 841-855.

Lonka, Kirsti. (2012). Engaging Learning Environments for the Future: The 2012 Elizabeth Stone Lecture. In The Road to Information Literacy: Librarians as Facilitators of Learning, pp. 15-28. De Gruyter: Berlin.

Reel, Debbie; and Davies, Helen. (2011). Enquiry-based Learning: the impact on post-graduate trainees. Teen Journal 3 (1) September [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 17 Oct 2012).

Sawyer, R Keith. (2004). Creative Teaching: Collaborative Discussion as Disciplined Improvisation. Educational Researcher, 33 (2), 12-20.

Wilber, Dana, J. (2011). College Students and New Literacy Practices [Chapter 20]. In Handbook of New Literacies. Taylor and Francis: USA.

Yang, Chien-Hui; Tzuo, Pei-Wen; Higgins, Heidi; and Tan, Clarence Puay Yon. (2012). Information And Communication Technology As A Pedagogical Tool In Teacher Preparation And Higher Education. Journal of College Teaching and Training, 9 (4), 327-338.

Yang, Chien-Hui; Tzuo, Pei Wen; and Komara, Cecile. (2011). Using Webquest As A Universal Design For Learning Tool to Enhance Teaching And Learning In Teacher Preparation Programs. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 8 (3), 21-29.

Annotated Bibliography

Behrens, Susan. (2008). The Journey towards a Teaching Philosophy. Research & Teaching in Development Education, 25 (1), 64-69.

This article provides some thoughtful insight into inquiry learning through the eyes if a Ph.D holding teacher who has gone into the teaching profession without having a background in education. The aim of the article is for the writer to develop a teaching philosophy, something she had not previously constructed in a written sense. While looking for further research to back up her ideas, she comes to the conclusion that her philosophy of teaching includes inquiry-based learning. The author outlines how she uses inquiry-based learning, providing insight into different approaches that other teachers could draw upon.

This article is a less ‘run of the mill’ resource for looking at inquiry learning. It differs from other articles in that it provides a view of inquiry-learning by a teacher in higher education who has little to no formal training in pedagogic theory pre-inquiry learning. It also looks at the perspective of inquiry learning from a personal/practice perspective, less focused on scholarly evidence as a means of backing her claim for holding an inquiry-learning-based teaching philosophy. The article appeals to me as it is an inquiry-learning-based approach to explaining inquiry-learning.

Beyers, R.N. (2009). A Five Dimensional Model for Educating the Net Generation. Educational Technology & Society, 12 (4), 218-227.

This article discusses the importance of re-directing teachers attitudes towards school to a less teacher-centred and more student-centred approach. With the world at our virtual fingertips, the idea of learning and knowing everything is impossible. For this reason, learning needs to be self-directed and an educators role is to guide learners to search out information that is relevant to them, leaving them to make their own conclusions, constructing their own understandings. A proposed five-dimensional conceptual model – related to survival strategies, knowledge and comprehension, spacial orientation, time, and global vision – provides the framework for which educators can use to evaluate their own and their students learning and the model was designed to help raise awareness of the possible similarities that exist between the teacher and the net generation in their class.

The model provides interesting insight into how different approaches to learning can help to extend learning beyond the confines of classroom walls and curriculums. It is a useful model to help understand not only the importance of inquiry learning but also its effects.

Jimoyiannis, Athanassios; Tsiotakis, Panagiotis; Roussinos, Dimitrios; and Siorenta, Anastasia. (2013). Preparing teachers to integrate Web 2.0 in school practice: Toward a framework for Pedagogy 2.0. Australian Journal of Education Technology, 29 (2), 248-267.

Although social media and Web 2.0 were not designed for educational purposes, the article discusses the importance of using these technologies in teacher training. Recent research has found Web 2.0 and social media  promote self-directed learning, provide opportunities for sharing content and assist in the development of lifelong learning skills. The article argues that for reasons such as these, along with students’ readiness to adopt Web 2.0 practices, Web 2.0 should be drawn into education. The article also highlights the importance of not using Web 2.0 in isolation from other technologies and used the TPACK model as a framework for ICT integration in educational settings. Drawing on a study of primary and secondary teachers experiences of participating in a program designed with Web 2.0 and the TPACK model in mind, the article found teachers had positive perceptions of the educational benefits of Web 2.0 but they saw were curriculum and infrastructure restrictions as possible hinderances to their Web 2.0 use.

The proposed Web 2.0 integration framework used in the study provides a good foundation for teachers and curriculum designers wanting to combine Web 2.0 and other technologies in education so it is a particularly useful resource for my Annotated Bibliography.

Justice, Christopher; Rice, James; Roy, Dale; Hudspith, Bod; and Jenkins, Herb.(2009). Inquiry-based learning in higher education: administrators’ perspectives on integrating inquiry pedagogy into the curriculum. Higher Education, 58, 841-855.

Using interviews and theoretical frameworks, this article discusses the importance of inquiry-based learning in higher education. The article focuses on one university in particular and looks at the challenges they experienced when they introduced inquiry learning and how they overcame these challenges. Through interviews the authors found that there was a lack of understanding of inquiry learning in relation to inquiry as pedagogy and they found that this created challenges for the university in terms of finding appropriate and willing instructors. Interest in inquiry-based courses was also found to drop in the first year of implementation and the study found that building interest in such courses can take time. Despite the challenges, the benefits of introducing inquiry learning into curriculums were found to be many. The authors suggest that encouraging academics to enter into the debate, along with ensuring administrators remain vigilant in their support for inquiry learning, is the key to making inquiry learning work in universities.

This article was chosen for my Annotated Bibliography because it helps explain the challenges university students face in gaining access to inquiry-based learning from a wider perspective. It is an interesting to note that many of the challenges that exist in getting inquiry learning into universities are in fact the same kinds of challenges that exist within schools.

Lonka, Kirsti. (2012). Engaging Learning Environments for the Future: The 2012 Elizabeth Stone Lecture. In The Road to Information Literacy: Librarians as Facilitators of Learning, pp. 15-28. De Gruyter: Berlin.

This article looks at a variety of studies based on modern theories of learning as a means to discuss the design of physical learning environments. The article emphasises that we are in a time of great change in learning theory and practice and that current curriculums and learning environments are being challenged by the development of new technologies. Since universities have followed a fairly constant approach to learning for centuries, the article urges universities to take on more inquiry-based systems that help foster productive participation in collaborative learning and knowledge-creation. The article proposes  that games, simulations, social media and other engaging, experiential and creative learning methods now need to be included in the design of learning environments.

Not only does the article provide solid foundations for design, it also emphasising the importance of collaboration in the development of new theories. By linking theory and practice through the evaluation of other studies, the article is a valid and noteworthy source of information for those involved in teacher training.

Reel, Debbie; and Davies, Helen. (2011). Enquiry-based Learning: the impact on post-graduate trainees. Teen Journal 3 (1) September [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 17 Oct 2012).

The article discusses approaches to teaching and learning at a post-graduate level and looks at the implications of enquiry based learning on their own development. By conducting a study that involved Early Childhood teachers making a documentary about Early Childhood teaching, the authors were able to gain insight into the effect of enquiry-based learning on the teachers’ self-efficacy, motivation and overall feelings toward enquiry learning. Because a lot of the educators had to ‘unlearn’ their patterns of learning, many were adversely affected by the enquiry learning approach, particularly in terms of their motivation to the task. Many of the participants did not see their efforts as accomplishments and this was seen to go against the guiding principles of enquiry learning that accomplishments should raise self-efficacy. It was noted however that the task encouraged deeper levels of learning and skill development which was a positive aspect.

Since the article provides a more balanced view by including both the positive and negative issues surrounding enquiry learning in higher education rather than just the positive effects that many other articles state, I found the article to be an interesting and valuable resource for my Annotated Bibliography.

Sawyer, R Keith. (2004). Creative Teaching: Collaborative Discussion as Disciplined Improvisation. Educational Researcher, 33 (2), 12-20.

Traditional lecture-oriented methods of teaching, which are often still used in higher education, are challenged in this article. The author compares the “performance metaphor” with the “improvisation metaphor” as a way to explain the limitations of lecture-oriented methods of teaching. The performance metaphor is comparable with an actor performing on stage. Although engaging to some degree, the practice is quite planned and scripted with a focus on the individual rather than the collective. The improvisation metaphor, in contrast, is creative teaching within broad structures and frameworks and allows learning to be directed by what presents itself at different times. As the article argues, adhering to the improvisation metaphor has the power to push learning forward.

The improvisation metaphor is a metaphor for inquiry learning. Although slightly off-mark with its use of primary classroom observations to advocate the improvisation metaphor, this article appealed to me above all others. To me, this article encapsulates the importance of inquiry learning ‘in a nutshell’.

Wilber, Dana, J. (2011). College Students and New Literacy Practices [Chapter 20]. In Handbook of New Literacies. Taylor and Francis: USA.

This article focuses on the importance of exploring new ideas, concepts, situations and literature as a means to understand the impact and implications of new literacy practices on college students. Although some of the new literacy practices of today may be obsolete in the near future, the article still argues the importance of their use in college environments today. The author highlights that the majority of studies do not allow for deeper understandings of the implications of new literacies since they focus of comparing new literacy practices with traditional practices. Aspects such as hyperlinks within new literacy texts are often left out of studies so their role in college students ability to judge such things as the validity of sources of information is not yet understood.

The article references a great deal of current literature on the topic of new literacies in higher education and provides solid grounding for its suggestions of tools to be used in higher education to support higher-order thinking.

Yang, Chien-Hui; Tzuo, Pei-Wen; Higgins, Heidi; and Tan, Clarence Puay Yon. (2012). Information And Communication Technology As A Pedagogical Tool In Teacher Preparation And Higher Education. Journal of College Teaching and Training, 9 (4), 327-338.

This article looks at three questions regarding WebQuest as a tool for education: is WebQuest a useful tool to enhance teacher’s critical thinking, motivation and engagement and creativity? Does the use of WebQuest in teacher preparation foster stronger desires for teacher to integrate ICT in teaching? And does WebQuest foster content-specific learning in teacher preparation? The study answers these questions by looking at teachers’ favourable responses to using WebQuest in their classrooms and studying the affects of WebQuest as an inquiry-based teaching tool in a Master’s degree teacher preparation course at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The study found that after receiving WebQuest training, teachers were more likely to integrate ICT in their teaching.

By providing concrete evidence as apposed to only theoretical reasons why WebQuest is effective ICT-based inquiry learning tool, the article provides some interesting insight into why ICT-based inquiry learning tools should be considered when designing education curriculums. For this reason, the article was deemed relevant for the Annotated Bibliography.

Yang, Chien-Hui; Tzuo, Pei Wen; and Komara, Cecile. (2011). Using Webquest As A Universal Design For Learning Tool to Enhance Teaching And Learning In Teacher Preparation Programs. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 8 (3), 21-29.

This article is what one may call a follow up study on the previous article in my Annotated Bibliography. Involving many of the same authors, the article takes the idea of using WebQuest in teacher preparation courses to another level. Although the article recaps much of the content covered previously, including the level to which WebQuest can enhance teachers’ higher order thinking, engagement and creativity, it looks further into the benefits of WebQuest by examining how it accommodates for students with diverse learning needs. With a study based in Singapore, the authors found that the majority of teachers found WebQuest beneficial in addressing the diverse learning needs of students and they concluded that WebQuest looked promising for use in special education and teacher preparation.

This article was chosen because it provides further evidence that WebQuest is an effective teaching tool. Often in the case of academic studies results conflict from study to study. Providing further ‘proof’ that WebQuest is an effective inquiry-based learning tool adds more weight to the idea that other ICT-based teaching tools are effective and should be included in inquiry learning curriculums.