Inquiry Learning for the World!

medium_5557220801In a rapidly changing world, what are the pivotal issues, during the last ten years, that will continue to affect the global village without intentional action?

With this overarching question, grade eight and grade nine students have spent time this year following current events, reading related literature, and discussing key issues impacting the global community. The stage was set for an inquiry project that would provide student agency with relevant, real world applications.

They were introduced to a list of hot world issues at http://www.globalissues.com and began establishing a self directed area of focus for research related to a global issue of their choice, an issue that they were passionate about. After they selected their global issue, they began to focus on a particular country/geographical location and dug deeper. Students analyzed their research, brainstormed and  discussed in teams about possible real world solutions to help real world problems. Collaborative and authentic deep thinking.

What is an NGO (non-governmental organization)? If I created a NGO for my global issue, what would it look like? What would be some possible, realistic next steps that my NGO could take to promote change?

Students were introduced to the term NGO (non-governmental organization) and their fundamental principles of humanity and neutrality by this short video of the NGO’s in Afghanistan.

Students then focused on developing an NGO identity for their global issue. This involved developing a logo design, typography and developing a mission statement. Basic marketing fundamentals. They used Adobe Illustrator CS5 for this work.

How do I bring awareness to ‘my global issue’ so people are inspired to get involved and take some possible next steps?

Working with the Career and Technology Skills teacher, they used industry standard software to create their NGO productions. Grade eights used ‘Final Cut X,’ a professional editing program, to create a commercial that would bring awareness to their NGO’s issue. ‘Adobe InDesign,’ was used by grade nines to create an interactive e-book. Their production focused on educating the reader about their global issue; the history, what is currently being done, and the next steps. They used KeepVid.com and Flashkit.com to download media based content from the web to enhance their projects.

Here is an example of a final production. This is a grade eight student’s NGO commercial: Air Apocalypse.

Though simplified in this post, the process was complex with multiple considerations. While Humanities teachers supported researching and digital citizenship ethics, the Career and Technology Skills teacher worked with students on the ‘how to’ of software implementation, branding, and logo design. All teachers ensured student autonomy while providing on going feedback during the process. Considerable teacher collaboration was needed. Deep student learning resulted.

Consistent with a well designed inquiry process, with relevant real world applications,  we observed engaged students that created higher quality products. By facilitating learner autonomy, while providing on going feedback, students took ownership of the learning.  Teacher collaboration provided the means to ensure sufficient complexity with multiple connections. Inquiry learning for the world!
photo credit: cristianbernal.com via photopin cc

About Julie Milligan

I am a Canadian School Administrator on a professional fellowship in Macao; passionate about instructional design and intention. I am learning, leading and laughing from both sides of the world. Follow me @milliganjulie.
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