We have been teaching about Inquiry-based learning (IBL) a while and practicing it ourselves. Students in teacher education at the University of Agder have experienced IBL themselves and some try to put it into practice. We have developed four short videos visualizing what IBL entails in the classroom practice. An article based on the development of these videos has been submitted to the online journal NorDiNA. The title is: Designing Videos on Inquiry-Based Learning for use in Teacher Education – Investigating and Exploring Design Principles the Design Principles. Those who wish to use theory on IBL and references to previous research for their own work, please download (and reference) the following document.
Juggling is fun, it’s a nice break, you can do it anywhere, and at any level. If you do not have juggling balls, you can easily make them yourself. See the video below or search YouTube for more examples. Some use rice, others flour. We experienced that making juggling balls from (old) tennis balls is the easiest and gives the best result.
Now you can start juggling. First a video for young kids and thereafter more technical video on how to learn juggling.
Juggling, just like training any physical activity, changes the brain. Read The Art of Changing the Brain or Juggling Boosts the Brain (Nature, 2004). We do not wish to spoil the game, but there is mathematics in juggling. See Math is in the air.
An outdoor workout or boot-camp is a good alternative for the gym, especially in times of corona. Research claims that being physically active every day, has a positive influence on your brain and on cognitive work. Many physical breaks have a larger effect than one workout. Read for example Mike Kuczala’s book The Kinestetic Classroom. Training together is more motivating and more fun. For younger kids exercise should be a game. There are may ways to be active outdoors. Here two suggestions, a video and a program in visualized in pictures. See also the blog about Juggling.
Hedy is a programming language and a new way to learn a programming language. You will learn the programming language Hedy in a similar way to learning a normal second language; gradually. This means errors in the syntax are allowed at the start. You will start with simple expressions and will learn the syntax (grammar) step by step. There is no need to install something to start programming with Hedy, you can just start in your browser. Hedy prepares you to program in Python later on. Python is a general-purpose coding language, which means that it can be used wider than in web development.
Hedy is text based, unlike Scratch and Logo which are graphical. All three programs have their strengths and weaknesses. You will learn the basic concepts of programming, such as variables and conditional statements (e.g. if-then-else) much easier and earlier in Hedy then in Scratch.
Hedy is being developed now and has a limited set of levels up till now, but it is very easy to get started. Scratch as a programming language encourages more creativity, but can also be frustrating in the beginning. Hedy is much more structured and scaffolded. Different pupils may prefer different approaches to learn programming. As a teacher is is valuable to know the options.
The following video explains why Hedy was developed.
The website FarandWide offers blogs maps on a wide variety of topics. Although the website is targeting US citizens who wish to travel, there are interesting topics that may be used by curious person. Particularly interesting are the many sets of maps available: geographical, social, political, historic, current social issues etc.
Recently a set of 75 maps were published with data on European countries that may be of interest when travelling. Most maps show when the data were gathered, though with some maps this information is missing. Though this can be a good exercise for students to look at data and information on the web critically.
Two examples of Maps that made us laugh and could be inspiration for students to search for or make their own maps.
Actionbound is software that makes it easy to create Scavenger Hunts for your students. The students use an App on their telephone to use the ‘bound’ you have created. Actionbound is based on maps and uses GPS. You can create missions which are tasks and quizzes that require an answer. As a teacher creating a ‘bound’ you can upload audio, video, and pictures. You decide how students can send in their results on missions. Different formats can be chosen: sound, video, picture, text. You can also define how students should respond on quiz questions: in text, numbers, with a slider etc.
[Actionbound is availbale in English and in German. Both missions, which are open tasks, as well as quizzes offer good options to design for inquiry skills. It is very easy to see implementation of interdisciplinary bounds. Any combination is possible: mathematics, physics, biology, language teaching, history, geography, arts etc. Outdoor learning and kinesthetics are incorporated in the use of Actionbound. Actionbound can be a good alternative for learning in class during the corona pandemic. The App can be used from grade 4 onwards.
The developer software can be tested for free. When you start using the program in your school you need a license to publish your ‘bounds’ and to monitor the results. The App for students is free.
Wheel of Names and Spin the Wheel – are two similar programs that enable you to make your own wheel of fortune. When students get the task to make their own wheel within certain boundaries, they can explore what type of words should be used to generate in a specific context.
This can vary from extending vocabulary (adjectives, adverbs, interjections …) that can thereafter be applied in text writing, a rap, a poem etc., to creating several wheels with a group of students, whereby the words on the wheels should result in phrases that make sense or are (grammatically) correct. It can be an interesting inquiry and discussion what words make correct sentences and what does ‘correct’ mean to different students?
The programs could also be used as a pilot test before students create physical cardboard wheels.
|Requirements||Wheel Decide – BrowserSpin the Wheel- Browser & iPhone, iPad (iOS 9.0 or later), Google Play/Android