Inquiry Academy

Posted by SIMON on Jan 12, 2015





In my last think piece I asked how you would improve Khan Academy. In this think piece Michael Pershan suggests some ways to make Khan Academy more effective and I thought his ideas were spot on, I never really saw Khan Academy as an improvement to the already vast amount of resources we have (books, articles on the internet, interactive maths websites etc.) and like I said in my last think piece, It could have been so much more.

Go back a year from today when I was wrestling with the idea of going into teaching and I would have told you that Khan Academy was spot on, a great resource (albeit, one that I have never actually used) teaching to me back then was simple, it was a live version of Khan Academy, explain the method, get students to practice the method over and over and then move on to the next topic, easy! Enter LIDA (Learning in a digital age module)

Fast forward to today and the biggest difference in my opinion is that teaching is most definitely not simple, it is not a finished complete polished product, it should be forever adapting to keep up with modern trends, societal changes and advancing technologies and it is not good enough to simply record old fashioned teaching methods, stick them on a computer screen and say “okay it’s on the internet so it must be modern!”.

Inquiry maths is a perfect example of how we should be looking at more modern methods of teaching maths, it is not simply taking the old turning it into 1s and 0s displaying it on a computer screen and being complacent with it, it is challenging how we teach. It is trying to develop useful life skills that are becoming more and more essential to modern life and that is what I consider modern mathematics. While it took me a few attempts to fully understand what Ander Blair was describing in the article and really trying to visualise what he is describing (I still need to do more investigation on what exactly enquiry maths is, see it in action) I was impressed and started to question how I will teach next year, because it is not simple, and the truthful answer at this point of time? I don’t know.

It is clear there is much more research to be done, every week I seem to discover another brilliant idea like Inquiry maths, what I do know is that I must be adaptable, I must not fall into the same trap that I believe Khan Academy has and just be complacent with outdated methods, I must challenge the norm and help students be prepared for the modern world and not only practice models like Andrew Blair’s Inquiry maths, but build upon them.

The next step I believe is finding a way to create an interactive inquiry tool, the nature of Inquiry maths is that students are responsible for the direction of the lessons, so how could we create an online Inquiry Academy that students can use in their own time without hindering the concept of Inquiry maths?

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