Inquiry Untethered

Attending Waterloo Goes Wireless was a pleasure for me not only because many of my favourite Waterloo Region DSB folks were there, but because it was the culmination of a PLP Network project for one on the Waterloo teams, the amazing Zodiyaks.  An excellent keynote from Royan Lee kicked off the day, with break out sessions to follow — all around the idea of exploring BYOD in classrooms.

I attended Anita Brooks Kirkland and Elaine MacKenzie’s session called Inquiry Untethered and was really grateful to hear some great tips for organizing inquiry using technology.   Check out this great site that they provided us, along with time to explore and produce during this session.

Some of the takeaways for me were:

  • using is a great idea for that first phase of Inquiry (the pre-search or exploring phase) as it curates content to build interest and background knowledge
  • Ontario students have access to Canada in Context, a great database available on UG2GO (Secondary) for Upper Grand DSB teachers and students.
  • Flickr searching becomes even better now that you can search “The Commons” for images from the public domain
  • Waterloo has done an incredible job providing resources for Inquiry on their Learning Commons website.  If you are interested in Inquiry based approaches check out their section on Developing Questions – you’ll want to check out the rest of the site too –  there is lots more of value there!



  1. Brenda
    Is this how they approach every project….sort of their template for giving some structure to inquiry. I could see gr8 benefits to that….because once my students understood how to go through the process they were much better at generating?s, tolerating uncertainity and taking ownership.
    Waterloo Goes Wireless sounds like it was the place to be!!!!


    • Hi Marsha,
      Yes, Waterloo Goes Wireless was a great way to spend a Saturday learning and yes, the inquiry model is repeated as a structure. It comes from a document that our teacher librarians are using in their focus on building a Learning Commons model in schools. I think it’s great too, and very helpful to those of us using PBL in the classroom.

      Here’s a wiki where you can download the document:

      Thanks for your comments!


  2. This was a great session. I walked away with a new tool and managed to create a research site for my grade 4 students’ habitat inquiry.
    We developed the questions together, built a list of digital resources and have just begun the step of exploring and compiling information. Using the Google site template definitely helps pull it all together and will continue to provide a structure for our learning.


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