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Thursday, October 6, 2011

What are inquiry web tools?

Inquiry based web tools are ones that empower the user to use the internet as the primary vehicle to investigate essential questions.

What are essential questions?

Essential questions are ones that provide insight and add meaning  into life’s enduring inquiries.

Click on these links for a discussion on essential or enduring Jewish questions.

According to Wiggins and McTighe*  essential questions have these three characteristics:

They are questions that:

1.     Go to the heart of the a discipline They can be found in the most historical (and controversial) issues and problems in a field of study. For example: Is history always biased? Does art reflect culture or help shape it? etc.

2.     Recur naturally: The same important questions get asked and re-asked throughout one's learning and in the history of the field. For example: What makes a great book great? Why must countries solve problems through war? Why is there hunger in the world?

3.     Raise other important questions: Such questions lead to other essential questions as well as to more specific subject and unit level questions. For example the question, in nature, do only the strong survive?, leads to other questions such as: What do we mean by "strong?" Are insects strong since they are survivors?

*Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J.(1998). Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

On the next post we will explore how Web Quest, a web-based inquiry tool, can empower students to investigate life’s enduring or essential questions.

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