The Inquiry Learning Forum
Inquiry Learning Forum -- Caitlin Donahue 17:34, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
The Inquiry Learning Forum is an online community of teachers and administrators that allows members to find and share lesson plans, discuss inquiry-based learning, watch videos of other teachers, and develop a personalized professional development plan.
ILF is based on the idea that inquiry based learning is a dynamic approach to education that allows students to explore their world by asking questions and making discoveries. Inquiry allows students to develop critical thinking skills as well as their ability to make careful observations and to reason. Inquiry based learning allows students to justify or deny existing knowledge, maybe even revising prior knowledge. This process makes students value the ability to ask the right questions over the ability to find the right answers.
How do I join?
Membership to ILF is FREE! Go to [[[ http://ilf.crlt.indiana.edu]]] to register. ILF was designed for teachers of K-12 math and science, but teachers of all content areas are invited to see the benefits of inquiry based learning. Resources and discussions for other disciplines will be making an appearance in ILF soon.
ILF is an online collaborative community of teachers that was designed by faculty and students at Indiana University, funded by the National Science Foundation. It is a research effort on building and sustaining "communities of practice". If you sign up to be a member, you sign up to be part of the research.
How does it work?
The opening page shows a "school" with a variety of "classrooms" that one can enter. These rooms are [] The Collaboratory: Allows teachers to share and work on lesson plans and other resources. Also allows for the Inquiry Circle, a facilitated discussion about using inquiry based learning in classrooms The Inquiry Lab: Contains professional development resources about inquiry based learning The ILF Library: Contains the lesson plans, web links, and other resources that teachers have contributed The ILF Lounge: A place strictly for discussion, where teachers can get to know one another as proponents of inquiry based learning and discuss ways of implementing it in today's classrooms View Classrooms: Contains videos that other teachers have uploaded that show examples of inquiry based learning in action The administrative portions of ILF are My Desk (the home screen), ILF News and ILF Office.
You can find a user guide on the website. 
-- Caitlin Donahue 17:49, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
Educational Implications -- Caitlin Donahue 18:09, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
Inquiry Learning Forum is just one more way in which teachers can communicate using the wonders of technology. Various research has found that creativity spurs from interaction with others as people share the buds of their growing ideas. As people share, they give others the power to take their creativity and run with it. That is exactly what we as teachers want for our students.
Teachers will be able to communicate, through discussion threads and video, about inquiry based learning. It is the most interactive way, despite people being scattered across the country, to effectively collaborate on improving our students' education. As teachers get used to interacting online with others, they will also become more computer literate in an age when it is absolutely necessary. In effect, the ILF project allows teachers to be inquiry based learners as they question and discuss the world around them in an effort to better education.