Peer feedback

Peer feedback to Claire Archibald (ProQuest):

Hi Claire,

Thanks for sharing your ProQuest adventures, I have found this page to be an informative and enjoyable blog post to read.

Your writing is clear, precise and descriptive and embedded with hyperlinks, sharing the fantastic information you have discovered. The comments section in amongst your searching is highly effective in taking your audience on the searching journey you have explored.Well done, on also presenting a clear annotated screenshot showing your audience key features you had previously discussed. I also like how in ProQuest your exact phrases are highlighted making it easier to skim and determine where the phrases searched appear in a resource. I too have found ProQuest to be very user friendly.

After reading just your ProQuest post (stand alone) I am left pondering a few questions (you may want to clarify). You have mentioned your ‘inquiry questions’ but nowhere on this blog post have you clearly explained what your inquiry questions are or what you are searching for. With this in mind my questions are:
-What are your inquiry questions?
– What content were you hoping to find in this ProQuest search?
– Did you find or use the thesaurus?
– Is the picture in your menu a photo of your dog? If so what is your dog’s name (it’s a really cute photo)?

Overall I have really enjoyed walking along in ProQuest with you and I think your metaphor/theme is very clever and gels well with inquiry learning.

All the best with the rest of your blog.

Kind Regards,
Jess Cross

Peer Feedback to  Kimberley Sakzewski (Google Scholar):

Hi Kimberley,

Thanks for sharing your inquiry journey, I have found your blog to a very interesting read.

Overall I think your writing is extremely eloquent, professional, well-crafted and clean. Your articulate language has been ever so helpful in clearly explaining what you are wanting to find and fantastic job in reminding your about your search intentions throughout your post. Your diagrams clearly show your advanced level of thinking and the way you have adapted your searches each time based on your past results and terms found is very well done (great job).

I only have two very minor recommendations. I had trouble reading your amazing diagrams on the screen (with magnification set at normal size) in order to read your informative diagrams I needed to zoom in to 150-175% on my screen (with my glasses on), if possible if there is a way of making your diagrams bigger it would be less strain on the eyes for the reader. The other tiny issue I had was with your search evidence graphic I was left wondering what search string did you use (cut off by the search engine) and what did you find in the articles (which parts of your questions was the evidence contributing to?). Still on the topic of your evidence graphics the way you used colour was very clever giving the reader not choice but to focus on the white sections, fantastic framing/composition of your evidence.

Before reading your post I had never heard of the word dendrogram , thanks for teaching me something new.

Overall you have done an outstanding job, good luck for the rest of semester.
Kind Regards
Jess Cross

A strange but true side note: I really enjoyed reading your blog post, I adored the words you have carefully selected to paint images (after the mention of tiers and bubbling my mind instantly though of cakes).




Expert Searching through Social Media

My searching practice/training is almost finished, after practicing my searching one last time in  the environment of two social media locations. After this search I will continue to use what I have learnt in my searching blogs, using the  strategic searching techniques will help me to be quicker and more efficient in my searching that I have ever been before. 

The places where I will formally finish my searching training is in Facebook and Google+, two social media platforms. Once at the social media sites I will be searching for evidence based on the question :

 How is inquiry-based learning and game-based learning being utilised in classrooms worldwide?

I begin my search in social media with a social media site I use daily, Facebook. To date I have practiced my use of searching in speech marks on Facebook (only within pages). Through testing searching with speech marks last week I have discovered that  interestingly enough it works, I could not believe what a different speech marking made when searching for a direct phrase in Facebook. This is the first time I have ever used Facebook to search information. I start off broad with a search for anything to do with inquiry learning: 

When undertaking my first search I was left wondering how does the Facebook search work?

Facebook questions buzzing everywhere. Image by author (2016). 


from my initial observation I noticed that it is very different and unlike the search engines I had searched previously. After googling how does Facebook search work I found a result that lead me an introduction page about Facebook search, from reading through this page I now understand Facebook uses a number of different factors about its users when providing information for a search. 

After a practice search it was time to focus my search towards finding information around the topic of inquiry-based learning and game-based learning.

The first search I typed in:

Facebook search field. Image by author (2016). 

From this search I found one relevant item a post from a page called Bedo Planet an organisation that offer ESTEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) educational programs (summer camps) through learning techniques of inquiry learning, game-based learning, project-based learning and collaborative group learning for students in Egypt, Giza.

Bedo Planet post. Image by author (2016). 

After seeing this post I went to their page to investigate if they had posted examples of the game-based or inquiry-based learning experiences,  when I typed in inquiry learning and game based learning together and separately as individual terms but unfortunately nothing came up apart from this post. 

Next I though I would try a different string of words, I was pleasantly surprised by the results :

gaming and inquiry learning new.jpg
Facebook search two. Image by author (2016). 

I was extremely happy to find an Australian version of an inquiry-based learning experience based on the topic of gaming, this type of example was something I was looking for in my last post and I was pleased I finally found something.

After have great luck in my second round of Facebook search I continued to search Facebook typing in different combinations of terms. Unfortunately I did not find any other useful results in my searches. Needing to move onto something new after searching and finding little relevant information I decided it was time to investigate a different social media platform, Google +. 

Prior to my university experience at the Queensland University of Technology I did not know that Google+ existed, as I have only become a user of a handful of Google+ plus communities this year I am still quite new to the platform.  The first thing I noticed when I conducted my first Google + search was how much more organised the results are Facebook’s results, Google + provide the results in organised sections depending on whether the result is a page, post or a collection. Into the search engine goes: “inquiry learning” AND “game-based learning”.

Google+ collections and communities search one. Image by author (2016).
inquiru posting google.PNG
Google+ posts search. Image by author (2016). 

For my next search I have slightly altered my search string :

“inquiry learning” AND games

From this search I gained another two relevant resources to add to my growing collection of information about game-based and inquiry learning. 

Google+  a video post search two. Image by author (2016). 


Google+ post graphic search two. Image by author (2016). 

Before starting this search I thought the social media search would be challenging, time consuming and frustrating. After completing searching in social media tools I feel happy with my searching effort and yes it was time consuming clicking on all sorts of links to assess the value of resources however it was not as stressful and as difficult as I believed it to be. I can see the benefit in using social media as a search tool, in using social media I was able to locate resources such as videos and graphics (that were not present in academic databases or Google Scholar).

The highlight of my social media searching was finding  the information on Bell Primary School’s fantastic learning experience utilised in a grade 3/4 classroom in formats of a Facebook post, website and a video a video discussing the same topic from different perspectives (stakeholders) about an Australian Inquiry project focused on games and the creation of games.

In the future I plan on using social media again for professional learning and academic purposes as there is information within the social media platforms that is useful and are not typically found in journals . Like with Google I was unaware that social media can be used to find academic-based resources. 

After this final search I am left wondering: 

What is gamification and how does it differ from game-based learning?

Is game-based learning a type of inquiry-based learning? 

Do inquiry-based contests,competitions or festivals exist ?

What methods are used to share, celebrate and showcase students’ inquiry projects within their school community, local community or in the global community?

+A Education

Police Line / Police Tape

. Police line/police tape. Webster, T. (2008). Creative Commons 2.0, some rights reserved.

 I arrive at a scene similar to the location I was previously , both databases , both places for finding academic evidence. This time I am not investigating a topic that is new I am pulling out an unanswered mystery from the Google Scholar case. Last time I examined this area of study I had great success in finding many clues, I am hoping  this time I will also have similar success. The mystery I am trying to solve in +A Education is:

How is inquiry-based learning and game-based learning being utilised in Australian primary schools?

Before examining the scene I prepare myself by identifying the keywords and finding synonyms for my keywords  within the my mystery I want to solve.I firstly look in the thesaurus offered by +A Education(in the advanced search section) strangely none of my keywords feature in this thesaurus. To find synonyms  I scan over my detective notes from Google scholar to brainstorm possible synonyms for my keywords, my key words and synonyms are  :

My keywords and related terms. Image by author (2016). 


To examine what +A Education has to offer in terms of game-based learning and inquiry-learning I perform a simple search to survey the environment. 

To my surprise this was the result of the simple search:

Table one +A Education search. Image by author (2016). 

I was a little disheartened with the result, but at least the one result I did find was relevant and provided me with new information and new terms, possibly for +A Education ‘inquiry-based learning’ and ‘game-based learning’ were terms that were too specific. With this in mind I attempted to broaden my search with terms that gave me many results in Google Scholar:

Table 2 +A.  Image by author (2016).

What I learnt from undertaking this result that from search engine to search engine results can be unpredictable, what may give lots of results in one database or search engine does not grantee lots of results in another tool. With this new insight I was willing not to give up and tried to broaden my results again by not being too specific about the types of game learning I was after :

+A table three. Image by author (2016). 

 In in the program there was an explanation about what Valerie Shute (one of the developers of the the game the Physics Playground) would be discussing (written in a style very much like a journal article). To explain ‘stealth assessment’ Shute(2015) discussed the use of a game called Physics Playground in this game students were required to draw coloured objects (levers, pulleys etc.) to apply Newtonian mechanisms to get a ball to a balloon. To give you an idea of what the game looks like here is a YouTube clip I found, after viewing this clip I believe that this would be a highly engaging way to experience physics and to display students’ knowledge of physics concepts in an interesting, fun and different way.

. Physics Playground. Mattysmall.(2013). Standard YouTube License.

Shute (2015) went onto explain how digital games can support learning (mentioning the same theories explored in my Google Scholar search) but interestingly this was the first time in my game-based investigation that I had explored assessment in experiences with game-based learning and inquiry based learning. Shute’s (2015)recommended method of assessment was called stealth assessment, she defined as being evidence-based the assessment woven invisibly into the game play and gaming environment ( unfortunately the write up was quite short leaving me wanting to find more information about stealth assessment). 

In my findings I came across a few articles discussing gaming in various disciplines through differing game styles.

The first was an article by Paterson (2012) titled ‘Learning history with augmented reality‘. Peterson (2012) discussed augmented reality by providing the example of a game he had used on a high school history class called Reliving the Revolution (an exploration game involving the history of the American Revolution ). In this paper I was happy to see familiar names of games (such as Dow Day and Quest Atlantis) and natural ways augmented reality could enrich students’ history learning experiences through access of mapping, images of historical sites then and now and the possibility of augmented reality games acting as virtual tour guides.

The other article I found by Gough (2010) also included a placed-based activity, instead of being in the discipline of history, this paper explored maths concepts through using an inquiry activity called ‘maths trails’. From what I read basically a maths trail is like a treasure hunt  searching for mathematics in an everyday location. From a quick search on Google I located a local example of a maths trail for the Queen Victoria Museum(Davis, Thomsett & Zhao, n.d) (just up the road from where I live) aimed for students in years 3-4. 

After finding exciting and new material in my last search it is time again for another search:

Table four +A Education searching. Image created by author (2016).

Initially in this search I was hoping to find examples of how inquiry-based learning and game-based learning is being used in primary schools, but after a couple of searches just using the two key terms about gaming and inquiry I realised that any information I gained was valuable due to the limited amount of results in the +A Education database. For this reason I focused on just searching for information about game-based learning and inquiry learning broadly. From searching +A Education I learnt that there were a greater number of secondary school examples than primary school examples. 

The information I did gain from searching +A Education is new and different from my Google Scholar search providing me with a broad range of examples of how inquiry-based learning and game-based learning can be used in the classroom (in many disciplines). From this experience I would use +A Education again, bearing in mind that finding the information wanted may take time and persistence.

At the end of this search  my new questions I have are:

How is inquiry-based learning and game-based learning being utilised in classrooms worldwide?

How is stealth assessment used in game-based  inquiry learning?

What is a teacher’s or teacher-librarian’s role in developing and implementing  game-based and inquiry-based learning experiences ?

Finally I leave you with a quote I read in my  +A Education search from Chee (2014) I believe this quote in essence summaries why game-based education and inquiry learning naturally integrate to create engaging experiences:

“Although games have content, they are not about their content. Rather, they concern doing, making decisions, solving problems, and interacting: with other players as well as with objects in the immersive game world. Content, including the storyline, in a game facilitates and serves acting, deciding, problem solving, and interaction.” (Chee, 2014, p.67)



Gough, J. (2010). Make a DIY mathematics trail. Vinculum, 47(2), 15-17.

Paterson, C. (2012). Learning history with augment reality. Teaching History, 46 (3), 23- 29. 





ProQuest Education searching

I have visited the site of ProQuest Education before, the times I have visited I have briefly looked and found some artefacts to use as evidence to support my theories, ideas or opinions about mysteries. This time at this site I will attempt to have a harder look, using searching skills that I have been practicing and learning about. Slowly I am gaining more understanding and confidence in my abilities to search strategically by using advanced techniques of searching.  To begin solving another mystery, I open my case and pull out my tools needed to search my new mystery thoroughly. 

Murder bag: a forensics kit used by detectives attending crime scenes © Museum of London

 Murder bag: a forensics kit used by detectives attending crime scenes © Museum of London. Debatty, R. (2015).. Creative Commons 2.0 , some rights reserved.

The mystery I hope to investigate and uncover at the site of ProQuest is:

How can inquiry-based learning be implemented in the primary English curriculum?

To begin I went into the advance search option and found the thesaurus, the thesaurus screen had a few thesauri to choose from:

ProQuest’s many thesaurus, I choose ERIC and ProQuest.Image by author (2016). 

As I have used databases previously at University to find evidence for assignments I knew that ERIC was an educational based  database, in knowing this I decided that I would first use the ERIC thesaurus to see what phrases and words would emerge when I typed in my keywords.

I identified my keywords to be inquiry-based learning, primary and English curriculum. Due to ProQuest being an American database I was required to consider if my keywords had different names meaning the same thing in American language. Luckily for me, I had spent 4 months studying in American University as part of my undergraduate study and therefore I was exposed different phrases American’s used in their educational field. From my prior knowledge I knew that English would not mention words around the subject of English rather it would most likely give phrases about  language of English. To find other words  related to the subject of English I needed to type in the term language arts (as this is what the subject English is called in America), typing in language provided me with the results I was after. 

Language Arts ERIC. Image by author (2016).

Typing the phrase of language arts into the thesaurus brought up lots of results to understand all of the rich information the thesaurus was offering me I decided to create a diagram to track my results. 


ERIC language arts diagram. Image by author (2016).

I continued to use the ERIC thesaurus for inquiry-based learning and primary (using the word elementary instead). I found a fantastic amount of related words and phrases that I will use in my searching of the ProQuest database. 

Next I was interested to see how the ProQuest thesaurus would compare with ERIC’s thesaurus, firstly I searched language arts. 

ProQuest language arts thesaurus. Image by author (2016). 

Interestingly I received different words and related terms compared to the ERIC thesaurus. I delved in deeper viewing what the ProQuest thesaurus had to offer. My main finding was that ProQuest’s thesaurus had less terms than the ERIC (educational based) it was broader, not solely focusing on education (business writing how does this relate to language arts?). 

ProQuest language arts thesaurus diagram. Image by author (2016).

Using the ProQuest thesaurus, I searched and mapped out the terms elementary students and inquiry based learning.

If I had the choice over which thesauri I would use again when investigating information in the field of education I would use ERIC’s thesaurus due to the greater volume of related terms with educational relevance.If I was broadly searching without an educational focus in mind the ProQuest thesaurus would be more useful due to ProQuest being a multi-disciplined database.  

   From using both of the thesauri, I found the thesauri to be an extremely useful tool,  using the both of the thesauri caused me to question and reflect on what areas of English instruction do I want to investigate. I realised that English is a broad subject and decided that I will attempt to investigate my question I created before using the thesauri to determine how much information is on ProQuest about English ( Language Arts) and inquiry-based learning. I will use my  terms I collated from the use of the thesauri later in my searching to refine and narrow my search. 

To begin my search, I click onto the education subject area offered by ProQuest as my question is most related to the field of education, possibly later in my search I may use the generic ProQuest to see how results differ.  I type into the education ProQuest database the broad terms “inquiry learning”, and “language arts”. 

elementary table 1 proquest.PNG
Searching ProQuest table 1. Image by author (2016). 

The most useful pieces of information I could find in this search was from a one page feature titled ‘inquiry into action: A model for learning‘ (Oehlkers & Ruple, 2007) and a journal article from Moreillon (2014) titled ‘hand in hand‘. The feature was about a class of fifth graders studying an inquiry learning project on the topic of pizza explaining how the students undertook authentic practices of reading, writing, listening and speaking . Moreillon’s (2014) article provided a different focus, rather than focusing on a particular unit case study, Moreillon discussed the need to integrate the teaching reading skills and the teaching of inquiry learning. The article was from a teacher -librarian’s perspective discussing the need for teacher-librarians alongside the with language art’s teacher to directly showcase that the reading/comprehension strategies obtained in reading classes need to be applied when undertaking inquiry learning. 

I am hoping in my next search to find examples of how inquiry learning is being integrated into students’ writing experiences. 

Searching ProQuest 2. Image by author (2016). 

Only four out of the 19 resources I skimmed had possible relevance around the topic of inquiry learning and student writing, exploring the possibility of integrating writing and inquiry at three different levels of education, Kindergarten, Middle School and Graduate study.

The first Kindergarten article (Snyders & Bahnson, 2014) only presented half of the article in ProQuest (the first half of the article was missing which was a little frustrating) and Google Scholar did not have a version of the text. Well the half that I read  discussed exploring writer identity in Kindergartners through undertaking ‘text inquiry’ (‘text inquiry was never explained in the article and I am still puzzled as to what the process of  text inquiry involves).The second article (Pataray-Ching & Labbo, 2006) I discovered about Kindergarten and inquiry-based writing discussed a second language learner in a Reggio Emilia school who undertook an inquiry learning project on the English language. The student became very proficient in her English  through practicing writing and speaking through play-based learning at home and school, I found this article and case study just fascinating to read. 

Again I found another article (Assaf, 2014) about using inquiry-based learning for supporting multilingual learners, this time it was about middle school students using English learning to undertake what the author described as inquiry-based writing ( there was no definition or examples given to this term, what this term means is unknown to me). The article discussed how the teacher in this situation provided the multilingual students with great opportunity to learn through participating in reading and writing workshops and inquiry learning projects. 

The last article (Stremmel, 2014)I found that was possibly relevant in exploring inquiry learning and writing was about a Native American graduate learning about an inquiry topic of her interest through using narrative inquiry.This type of inquiry involved learning through stories/storytelling and listening to the narratives of other people, and reflecting and exploring experiences in the world by examining social, cultural and institutional narratives. I could see great potential for this type of inquiry in the history classroom and the English classroom. 

Searching ProQuest searches 3 and 4. Image by author (2016). 

I did not have any luck finding anymore relevant information, this lead to frustration. In undertaking inquiry around the topic of language arts (and writing) and inquiry learning I discovered that there is much literature around literacy, science and inquiry, but there is little information/ research on the potential of using inquiry-based learning in creative writing.

Although I had many issues with my searching in ProQuest (finding relevant information difficulties) I found the database  easy to use and I liked the fact that it highlighted the keywords searched and where they appeared in the resource making the process of skimming much easier and quicker. Another  positive feature of the ProQuest databas was the thesaurus, it was also easy to use and generated many words that I myself would not have thought of. 

After this search I am left wondering:

How can students’ inquiries be used in creative or journal writing?

What challenges and successes do second language learners face when undertaking inquiry learning?

Is narrative inquiry used often in the history classroom?

What is text inquiry? 

 The next place  I will be visiting to solve another mystery is the Australian Database +A, here I will be reopening the case ‘ the integration of game-based learning and inquiry-based learning’ this time focusing on locating examples from Australian classrooms, see you there.  


Synders, C., & Bahnson.(2014).  ‘I wish we could make books all day!’An observational study of kindergarten children during writing workshop. Early Childhood Education, 42(6),  405-414. 



Google Scholar search

Games Based Learning - Scrabble

Games Based learning- Scrabble (Watson, 2011). Creative Commons 2.0 some rights reserved. 

Before investigating my question with Google Scholar I found this page, tips from Google explaining how to use Google Scholar.I felt I need a little bit of information about this search engine  due to only having used Google Scholar once or twice when completing academic work.

Prior to investigating Google Scholar I pulled out my notepad and examined evidence gained from my Google search. When I was searching Google I came across the article Exploring affect and inquiry in open-ended game-based learning environments (Sabourin, Rowe, Mott & Lester, 2011). This article was about using inquiry-based learning alongside of game-based learning, this idea intrigued me,and after reading the article I wanted to learn more about this blend of learning. I have decided I will attempt to uncover more about this strand (of inquiry learning and game-based learning) in this search. Let’s pull out the notepad and let the hunting for evidence begin.

Ready for some answers. Image by author, 2016). Creative Commons 2.0

The question I will be exploring is:

  • How can inquiry-based learning be utlised in game-based learning?

Before beginning my search I  identified my keywords to be:


Terms. Created by author (2016). 


I  also created a chart with synonyms/related terms of each term in order to use the OR operator in my searches. 


Terms mind map. Created by author (2016). 

I began by using the two terms “inquiry-based learning” and “game-based learning” to see what Google Scholar has for me in terms of answering my question from using these phrases.

blue table.PNG

The first Scholar table. (Image by author, 2016).

Barb, Thomas, Dodge and Carteaux (2005) and Kebritchi (2008), discussed and used the game Quest Atlantis as there evidence to explain how inquiry learning can be utilised in game-based learning environments. Quest Atlantis is a computer game whereby students explore virtual worlds, meet new people, participate in activities and solve quests (problems in the virtual world related to social or environmental concerns impact the community in their virtual environment). After reading about this game I was interested to learn more about what the game looks like. Through searching on Google I found a YouTube video that presented a trailer of the game. 

. What is Quest Atlantis? Caldwell, S. (2012) Standard YouTube Licence.

Besides learning about Quest Atlantis, from reviewing the articles that appeared in my first search I found information about other games that have been trialed in schools and universities. Science was the main subject area that the inquiry-based games were implemented in. In the literature there was a common theme amongst the science inquiry-based games, all of the games involved the students to take on the role of scientist or doctor to solve medical and environmental issues. In role students solved these problems by searching the virtual world for clues, and information helping them to form conclusions to the mysteries presented.

One of the science games involving students as problem solvers was the chemistry game called Legends of Alkhimia, this game was designed for high school students. As explained by Chee and Tan(2012) the Legends of Alkhimia provides students with authentic opportunities to mix different chemical combinations and to test chemicals with different equipment in a virtual lab. Below is a video of Chee explaining Legends of Alkhimia.

 Legends_of_Alkhimia.mp4. Cysnie. (2011). Standard YouTube Licence. 

From my first search string I have learnt inquiry-based learning within game-based learning typically involves the use of digital technologies, narrative centred learning, learning through interactions  and exploration within a virtual environment, collaboration, role play and sometimes augmented reality. I am excited to continue searching for more information around this topic, from reading researchers experiences of implementing and trialing games into learning as a means for students to inquire has been fascinating. It is clear from the papers I have read that integrating inquiry-based learning and game-based learning motivates students(Squire, & Jan, 2007; Tuzun, Yilmaz-Soyln, Karakus, & Inal, 2009), provides differentiation(Squire, 2003), engages students in authentic problem solving situations (that could happen in their real lives) (Warren, Dondilinger, McLeod, & Bigenho, 2012; Lester, Spires, Niefeld, & Minouge, 2014Tuzun, Yilmaz-Soyln, Karakus, & Inal, 2009Chee and Tan, 2012; Squire, 2010) and places students in the centre of their learning.



 The second Scholar table. (Image by author, 2016). 

In the second search string studies involving students in playing the game Crystal Island (a science/health mystery game about uncovering what is causing ill health on the island) appeared twice on the first page of results. Curious in knowing if this game was used in more studies in this set of results I decided to alter my search string to include Crystal Island

Into Google Scholar I typed the following search string:

(“inquiry-based learning” OR “web-based inquiry”) AND (“game-based learning” OR “serious games”) AND “Crystal Island”

Crystal Island search. Image by author (2016). 

As previously suspected, Sabourin, Mott, Lester and Rowe and the game Crystal Island have most definitely contributed substantially to the study of inquiry-based learning and game-based learning.Conducting a search on Crystal Island has demonstrated to me that Crystal Island is an important artefact that researchers have used to discuss and explore the integration of inquiry-based learning and game-based learning.

Again it was time for another search in attempt to narrow my search to focus on inquiry-based and game-based learning in the primary school. 

Google Scholar searching table 3. Image created by author (2016). 

Thankfully, Google Scholar has a way to state which languages you want the results in,  it was easy to change (simply going into the settings in Google Scholar and setting the language for English only), and in my next search I would only receive results only in English.  

English only, Google Scholar. Image by author (2016). 


With my settings fixed it was time to see if Google Scholar could give me more clues to examine. 

Google Scholar table 4. Image by author (2016). 


From my final search two resources that are worth mentioning for their content. Firstly, the journal article titled ‘the effects of online collaborative elementary maths program using team-based games to improve student math achievement, attitude and motivation’ by Bitter, Puglisi, Gorges and Kaur Uppal (2016) showcased how inquiry-based learning and game-based learning can be used in mathematics to motivate students, improve achievement and create competition and collaboration.  Bitter, Puglisi, Gorges and Kaur Uppal (2016)used a computer game structured with inquiry and discovery learning theory embedded in the game. The mathematics game created was called  Sokiom, the authors went on to explain the game-based learning experience allows for students to play independently at their own pace, receive immediate feedback and instruction when needed (through video tutorials) and  to play and practice mathematics collaboratively with others  (Bitter, Puglisi, Gorges and Kaur Uppal , 2016).  

The second resource I found in my search was a chapter titled ‘wherever you go, there you are: Place-based augmented reality games for learning by Squire, Jan, Wagler and Martin (2007). This fantastic chapter shared studies from three different games created for or by students living in Wisconsin, Madison.

Game one discussed was Mad City Murder( a environmental science game involving solving the mystery of a murder involving environmental toxins in a Lake) I had read about  previously, it was still really interesting to read about it again.

The second game Dow Day and the third game the Greenbush Game I had not came across in my previous searches. Dow Day was a game created for history students (from the content and tasks I suspect high school students). The students/players undertook the roles of journalists seeking information to form inquiry questions and to write a newspaper article about the riots at a University (in Madison, Wisconsin) in 1967.

Gagnon, D. (2010). Dow Day Intro. Standard YouTube Licence. 

The final game, the Greenbush Game was produced by fifth graders (with a lot of help from the community, historians,and their teacher) after a year long inquiry project on the neighbourhood Greenbush. The students in their year long project collected information about historical significance of the neighbourhood Greenbush through field trips, interviews and gathering of artefacts. The students (with a lot of help from the community, historians,and their teacher) used all of the information gathered to create a augmented reality game and a website with a cultural tour of the neighbourhood. The augmented reality game involves using a handheld device in the Greenbush area (the players in the game are asked to redesign Greenbush for the future). 

Google Scholar has provided me with lots of interesting resources around the topic of game-based learning and inquiry-based learning. The resources I have found have helped to provide answers to my question through providing lots of examples how inquiry-based learning and game-based learning integrate in various levels of education and discipline areas. From my Google Scholar search I am left with more questions: 

  1. How is inquiry-based learning and game-based learning being utilised in Australian primary schools?
  2. Can inquiry-based learning be integrated into sport-based games, puzzles and invention games?
  3. How can inquiry-based learning be implemented in the primary English curriculum?

My investigation time at Google Scholar is up, time to move on to a new scene, examining new evidence, and a new mystery. 


Kebritchi, M. (2008). Examining the pedagogical foundations of modern educational computer games. Computers & Education, 51(4), 1729-1743.

Warren, S. J., Dondlinger, M. J., McLeod, J., & Bigenho, C. (2012). Opening The Door: An evaluation of the efficacy of a problem-based learning game.Computers & Education, 58(1), 397-412.


Google Searching


 Google_logo.(Stokes S., and Glaak, 2006). Creative Commons 2.0, some rights reserved.

My current relationship with Google

To begin my journey as a trial and error searcher to expert search, I start in an environment rich with information, Google. I am fairly familiar with Google, I use it a couple of times a week to look up the news, check the weather, find recipes, look up random facts and to learn about something unknown to me, I use Google for leisure rather than for academic purposes.

I perceive Google in the same way  I view the photograph above, yes learning occurs when undertaking a Google search and through constructing a Lego Google but the learning I attribute to Google and Lego Google is that it is full of play,  enjoyment, leisure,and colourful moments rather than being a serious and formal activity/learning experience. Using Google to find information for an academic purpose feels strange and unusual to me as I have always just relied on books, university library catalogues, databases, magazines and computer software throughout my schooling and higher education. The reason as to why I do not use Google to support or find information for academic purposes is due to the fact that anyone can publish anything on the internet without the information being edited or published (like a book).  

Not knowing what I am about to uncover is daunting,who knows what I will find and whether I will use Google with Boolean operators again for an academic purpose. Lets pull out the magnifying glass and start searching, let the investigation begin. 

Magnifying glass 1/5

. Magnifying glass 1/5. (Lester, J. , 2012).. Creative Commons 2.0, some rights reserved

Lets get to the bottom of this question

I have chosen to focus on one of my three questions for this search. The question I have selected is :

What challenges do students face when undertaking inquiry learning?

To begin I asked myself the question what are my keywords to form my search, the keywords I came up with were:key words

From deciding on my keywords I went straight to Google and typed each keyword in separated by an AND operator.

a tahle
Table of first search string. Image created by author (2016). 

Using this search string  I did find snippets ( small paragraphs) of information about possible problems students have in inquiry learning within the journal articles: Addressing the challenges of inquiry-based learning through technology and curriculum design’ by Edelson, Gordon and Pea (nd) and  The impact of inquiry-based learning on the academic achievement of middle school students (Witt & Ulmer, 2010) and  a proceedings document of an annual meeting report of NARST exploring What makes inquiry so hard? (And why is it worth it?) authored by Trautmann, MaKinster and Avery (2004). Having a look on the second page of results I found the article Powerful learning: Studies show deep understanding derives from collaborative methods (Barron, Darling-Hammond, 2008) and Edutopia article also had some useful insight on possible student problems that the other resources did not mention In this google search I also found another research report with similar findings to the other journals titled Challenges to implementing inquiry: in the senior science classroom (Johnson, 2005). 

To ensure I would receive information about problems students faced when undertaking learning I decided to use speech marks on the words ‘student’ and ‘challenges’ hoping for a greater number of results about challenges students face. 

table 2222
Table of the second search string. Created by author (2016). 

 From this search string the first useful result I found was a PowerPoint that has a slide on student challenges in inquiry learning this resource was displayed first in my Google results.  The next useful resource I located was a section out of a Google book explaining certain challenges students may have when undertaking inquiry learning, it appeared useful so I placed it into my Google library (to further investigate later on), this appeared third in my search results. The other result that provided some useful information was a journal article from about using inquiry learning in a university setting (Lessons Learned: The McMaster Inquiry Story from Innovation to Institutionalization (Cuneo, Harnish, Roy & Vajoczki, 2012) this resource was fifth on the Google results.

To move forward in my searching efforts I decided to determine synonyms for my key terms that I could use in an OR operator. 

The synonyms of my keywords. Image created by author (2016). 

With my synonyms identified I was ready for my next search. 

searrcj 3
Search string three. Image created by author (2016).


In this search I found slides from a presentation called Designing inquiry-based learning experiences by Ernst (2012) and a word document of a journal article titled Incorporating Internet resources into classroom practice: Pedagogical perspectives and strategies of secondary-school subject teachers by Ruthven, Hennessy and Deaney (2005).

At this stage I decided I will search one last time by attempting to use the NOT operator to eliminate results that have been undesirable in the third search string. I was extremely surprised how little results there was, I had really narrowed down my search.

the actual table 4
Search string four. Image created by author (2016). 

The useful result was a PowerPoint which has 2 informative slides on obstacles students may face when undertaking inquiry learning. The PowerPoint is titled Inquiry-based learning: What, why, & how? NAU Faculty (Ernst, 2012) and is the same presentation from the previous search string.

My thoughts and feeling of Google after attempting to expert search 

My thoughts about Google have slightly changed since embarking on my Google searching due to a number of surprises Google presented in my searching. Firstly, I was shocked to receive journal articles in my searches as prior to undertaking this searching in Google I did not know that people placed journal articles on Google. Prior to undertaking my searching I had the impression that the types of information I would gain would include anecdotal information about teachers experiences with student difficulties with inquiry learning and blogs about challenges students have had in inquiry learning, in my search I did not come across any information in these forms. The final element of my Google search that surprised me was how I was able to get from 245,000 results to 3 results by using the Boolean operators. 

first search 2.0
Screenshot one. Created by author (2016). 


last search 2.0
The final screenshot. Created by author (2016). 

 Would I use Google again for academic purposes? Possibly, it is a search engine that is easy to use and is very quick,  but it gives you information overload. I have discovered from this searching experience that Google is not always going to give you the information you want, there will always useful and useless information in a search (Van Halsema, 2014), for this reason it can be frustrating and time consuming.

After my searching in Google I am left pondering more questions: 

  • What is blended learning?
  • How is blended learning related to inquiry learning?
  • How can inquiry-based learning be utlised in game-based learning?
  • What is computer-based scaffolding?
  • How is problem solving taught and scaffolded in inquiry learning?

 Where to next? Time to interrogate another suspect, Google’s academic relative Google Scholar. 


Ruthven, K., Hennessy, S., & Deaney, R. (2005). Incorporating Internet resources into classroom practice: Pedagogical perspectives and strategies of secondary-school subjects teachers. Computers & Education, 44(1),  1-34. 

Overcoming the mystery of searching

9465922016_4f2212991b_oLadies Detective Bag 2 (Brindley, 2012) . Creative Commons 2.0 some rights reserved.

Detective thoughts

I have pulled out the  searching tools out of my detective’s case ready to begin investigating. To be honest, I do not remember being shown how to properly use these special searching tools, in my searching during investigations I am using the tools how I think they should be used, wishing and hoping for the best outcome. I know there are better ways to search but I do not know what they are and how to conduct them. I am excited yet daunted as to how much learning I need to do in this area. Through practicing my searching skills using different tools hopefully by the end of my searching training I can search at an advanced level and will know how to strategically use my searching tools effectively to get to the bottom of any mysteries I face. 

My searching abilities as a learner

Much like my detective persona as a learner I am uneducated about how to use search tools and skills in a strategic manner. To date when searching for information I have relied on the one and only method I know. This method involves me identifying keywords, typing them into the search engine . When my first words/phrases/question does not give me the answer I was hoping I would just keep on typing in new combinations until I got the information I wanted. As you can imagine sometimes it takes a long time to get the information I desire using this strategy of trial and error. 

Where to next?

In the next string of posts I am going to share my learning and practice of using new searching strategies including Boolean,truncation,wildcard and proximity. In my searching adventure I will unveil what these terms are and how to use them. To begin my journey from a trial an error searcher to an advanced searcher I will start practicing the searching skills on the most popular search engine in the world ‘Google’

Initial Post

Inquiry learning is a bit of a mystery to me, I have very little experience and exposure of what inquiry planning, teaching, models and theories look like. Due to my lack of exposure and experience in this field of expertise, I am starting my journey in this blogging series (which is all about expanding my inquiry knowledge and understanding) wondering if my current perceptions of what is inquiry learning are misconceptions, or do they align with the accepted understanding of inquiry learning? My current teaching context is that I am a first year teacher (currently relief teaching in primary schools) and to date in this position I have seen little inquiry learning in action. My current understanding about what constitutes inquiry learning derives from my understanding of the concept after coming across the terms ‘inquiry learning’ in educational literature (textbooks, the curriculum and journals).

My Current beliefs on inquiry learning

To uncover my current beliefs on inquiry learning I brainstormed using GoConqr, the mind map below is what came out of my brainstorming session (see Image 1), the brainstorming helped me to surface my current beliefs. 

pngImage 1. My mind map on inquiry learning (image created using GoConqr, image by author, 2016).

From my current exposure to inquiry learning I understand it to be how I imagine a detective undertakes an investigation, as both appear to involve undertaking similar structural processes.

Both the detective and a person participating in inquiry learning start their journey by stumbling across an unknown, a mystery and from this mystery and gaps of knowledge are identified and questions are formed.

Detectives and inquiry learners search for evidence to locate answers to their questions that are currently mysteries. In their search, detectives and inquiry learners use a range of tools and resources to source evidence in order to form arguments, opinions and facts. Detectives and inquiry learners gather their evidence from tools and resources sourcing their information from human resources, data and samples, objects, the environment, documents, texts, tests/experiments, observation and through creating sketches and models.   Through searching for evidence detectives and inquiry learners can either find information that can lead to drawing conclusions aiding them to solve a mystery, or they can find little or no relevant information leaving questions unanswered and the mystery unsolved.

Once detectives and inquiry learners are satisfied with the amount of evidence collected; both parties embark on piecing the evidence from their searching together to create a product and/or a conclusion showcasing and reflecting on what they have discovered, what is now known, what is still unknown and possibly what new questions have arisen to explore in a new inquiry or investigation. Sometimes the product is shared with others displaying the inquiry learner’s or detective’s journey, understandings and conclusions. This sharing invites others to learn about, respond to and interpret the mystery and conclusions found. The product displaying the evidence and conclusions can be presented in various forms and could be anything from a simple conversation, to a written report, a poster, an oral presentation (speech), a monologue script or lyrics of a song.

Just call me Detective Cross

When I am piecing together unknown information or undertaking research for the purpose of putting my own curiosities at ease or to complete an assigned learning task (an assignment), I always have the idea of being a detective in my thoughts. I am unsure why, but I find the thought of being an information detective (searching for clues, following evidence trails) excites me. Rather than seeing the job of searching through 20 journal articles to find useful information an adieus task, I seek pleasure in the task, thinking ‘what clues will I find in this pile of possible evidence to uncrack my mysteries today?’ Therefore, in this blogging journey I have decided I am Detective Cross; unveiling mysteries and fine tuning my detective skills.

What do I want to know about inquiry learning?

In my time teaching, I have come across the scenario whereby primary teachers have set their students research projects (in the disciplines of history and geography) requiring the students to address and research questions and topics their teachers have chosen. The students have then been given time to search on the internet for information in relation to the topics and to answer the relevant question/s. During this period of the learning experience I have always made time to check in with students to see how they are progressing and where they are collecting their information from.

What I have discovered from checking in with students is that many experience different issues with using the internet and using the information they find. The issues vary from students simply typing their search terms into Google Images, copying the images related to the topic or question and then only using these images in information product (PowerPoint presentation), or relying on only one website for all of their information or not knowing where to find the information they require on webpages. The most common issue I have found that students find challenging is placing information into their own words.

When being in the presence of students who face these issues I have always found myself feeling frustrated and helpless, this is due to not knowing how to help students, how to overcome these researching issues and not knowing how to guide students in retrieving and using information. Due to my lack of understanding about how to assist students with issues they face during the inquiry process I want to explore and identify the common challenges primary students have when undertaking inquiry learning and how I as a teacher can help students overcome these challenges. Therefore, two key questions I will be exploring in this blog are:

  • What challenges do students face when undertaking inquiry learning?
  • How can I as a teacher assist students in overcoming challenges in inquiry learning?

Another area I would like to learn more about in the field of inquiry learning is how to assess and measure student knowledge, progress and understanding throughout inquiry learning experiences. From this gap of knowledge, I pose my third question for investigation to be:

  • What methods of assessment are available for teachers to undertake diagnostic, formative and summative assessment in inquiry learning experiences?

I have packed my detective’s case ready to unveil my mysteries around inquiry learning. Although I might examine items that lead to dead ends or more questions I am excited for the evidence and answers I might uncover.