Trajectories of inquiry learning

Littleton, Karen and Kerawalla, Lucinda (2012). Trajectories of inquiry learning. In: Littleton, Karen; Scanlon, Eileen and Sharples, Mike eds. Orchestrating Inquiry Learning. Oxford: Routledge, pp. 31–47.



In this chapter we present extracts drawn from analyses of an extended technology-mediated scientific inquiry learning activity concerning micro-climates undertaken by 11-12 year olds, as part of the Personal Inquiry project to both exemplify and explore how progressive ‘connection building’ is accomplished multi-modally over time through a multiplicity of semiotic resources. Such progressive connection building is not, as we shall see, a narrow and unidirectional process. Rather, the effective co-construction of mutual, cohesive understandings makes use of multiple representations and interactions and involves revisiting and (re)negotiating ideas and understandings.

The metaphor of ‘orchestration’ sits at the heart of our exploration as this metaphor draws attention to the subtle interweaving of activities, ideas and resources and the ways in which a teacher may make (what are often moment-by-moment) shifts between what is fore-grounded and what is back-grounded in an on-going inquiry. It also captures the sense in which a teacher, or more knowledgeable other, encourages, and works with, learners’ contributions in the context and pursuit of overall goals as part of a longer trajectory of meaning-making.

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