The Inquiry Learning Forum (ILF) was an online community of K-12 educators and university students working together to share, improve, reflect, and create learner- centered classrooms.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project was online for almost decade and supported thousands or pre-service and in-service teachers in developing a richer capacity to implement inquiry-based learning methods. While developed initially for Indiana math and science teachers, the ILF was open to all teachers, school administrators, university faculty, and pre-service education students interested in inquiry-based teaching and learning, free of charge. There were resources available for all grades and content areas.
The ILF was designed around a school metaphor. When members enter the ILF they had the option of visiting several “rooms” that are typical of a school building. Within these spaces teachers could obtain or share lesson plans, view video examples of fellow teachers, engage in online discussions, and work online with groups focused around a particular topic or idea. The goal in sharing classrooms was not to present a practice to emulate, but rather to provide a vehicle for discussing teaching practice and advancing community and individual reflection and understanding. Through observation, discussion, and reflection, each participant can find his or her own path to continued professional growth and development.
Linked here are a number of the articles published around the challenges and opportunities of building online community for teachers.
- Designing and Building an On-line Community: The Struggle to Support Sociability in the Inquiry Learning Forum
- Designing System Dualities: Characterizing a Web-Supported Professional Development Community
- Using Activity Theory to Conceptualize Online Community and Using Online Community to Conceptualize Activity Theory
About Sasha A. Barab PhD
Sasha Barab is a Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, where he co-founded and serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Games and Impact.
Dr. Barab is an internationally recognized Learning Scientist who holds the Pinnacle West Chair of Education, and who has researched, designed, and published extensively on the challenges and opportunities of using games for impact.