Using teaching as inquiry to guide an eLearning action plan

My name is Claire Amos and I am the Director of eLearning at Epsom Girls Grammar School in Auckland, New Zealand. I lead our ICT Professional Development contract, which means I get to split my time between teaching (High School English) and leading eLearning professional development for our teaching staff.

This year I am working with our teaching staff to develop their own eLearning action plans, using a teaching as inquiry cycle to inform their planning.

‘Teaching as Inquiry’ is an inquiry cycle designed to support effective pedagogy, which is part of our New Zealand Curriculum. The Teaching as Inquiry cycle is made up of four stages:

  1. Focusing Inquiry – What is important (and therefore worth spending time on), given where my students are at? This focusing inquiry establishes a baseline and a direction. The teacher uses all available information to determine what their students have already learned and what they need to learn next.
  2. Teaching Inquiry – What strategies (evidence-based) are most likely to help my students learn this? In this teaching inquiry, the teacher uses evidence from research and from their own past practice and that of colleagues to plan teaching and learning opportunities aimed at achieving the outcomes prioritized in the focusing inquiry.
  3. Teaching and learning
  4. Learning Inquiry – What happened as a result of the teaching, and what are the implications for future teaching? In this learning inquiry, the teacher investigates the success of the teaching in terms of the prioritized outcomes, using a range of assessment approaches. They do this both while learning activities are in progress and also as longer-term sequences or units of work come to an end. They then analyze and interpret the information to consider what they should do next. (Source: NZC)

When Teaching as Inquiry is used to inform an eLearning Action Plan, the most important thing is that the teacher begins with the student’s learning needs (not the eLearning tool or strategy). The four stages stay the same, but the following questions are also asked:

  1. Focusing Inquiry – What is the desired student learning outcome?
  2. Teaching Inquiry – What eLearning tools and strategies will we use to support students achieving the desired student learning outcome?
  3. Teaching and Learning – What are we going to do and when are we going to do it?
  4. Learning Inquiry – What are we hoping to be the results and how will we measure the success of our eLearning tools and strategies?

Below is my EDtalk, where I do my best to explain how we are using Teaching as Inquiry to inform an eLearning Action Plan.

Applications for Education:
I guess the aim of all of this, is that teachers integrate eLearning in a meaningful, strategic and effective way; ensuring that the student (not the technology) remains the focus and the priority in and beyond the classroom.

Other EDtalks you might like to check out:
CrockettUnderstanding the Digital Generation
Derek Wenmoth –
Ten Trends Episode 1: The Smart Web
Ewan McIntosh – ePortfolios; just good ‘old fashioned’ sharing

Claire Amos is the Director of eLearning at Epsom Girls Grammar School in Auckland, New Zealand. She is also the facilitator of the ICTs in English community on English Online. She writes a blog called Teaching and eLearning and is also on Twitter.


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