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Driving Question to Facilitate Student Inquiry and Common Core… My Post From PBL World In Napa, CA

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June 24, 2013 By: Michael Gorman

Jun 19

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6/19/2013 9:45 PM  RssIcon

 Greeting from Napa, California and PBL World which is hosted by BIE (BUCK institute for Education). BIE is the leader in facilitating Project Based learning Professional Development throughout the world. Since I am a member of the BIE National Faculty  I am enjoying facilitating and networking with educators from across the world at this premier conference.  In this post I address the concept of “Driving Questions.”  I know it is a read you will enjoy and share. I have even included some amazing links, including some to the BUCK Institute (BIE). To ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Driving Questions: Uncovering Amazing Content Under Through Inquiry

I really like Diving Questions. In fact, I like them so much more then Essential Questions. You might ask why? I think it just might be my affection for the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. You may remember that in the revision the different levels were changed into action. In fact, I strongly believe that learning is a verb and is based on action. Take away the word “Question” and Driving is a verb loaded with action. The word “Essential” standing alone is only a word devoted to describing… a colorful but inactive adjective.

Another reason I am fond of “Driving Questions” is that they allow students to work together in the amazing process of divergent thinking. As students bring this process around to identify answers and ideas that finally converge, they are suddenly back on the path to even higher order divergent thinking. It is amazing to watch students become aware that answers can bring on even more questions. Seems to me that it is a lot like moving up Bloom’s Taxonomy. In fact I like to go beyond the inquiry cycle and think of it as the inquiry spiral. What a match for Common Core Learning!

Last,  I like “Driving Questions because there are so simple, that they can be difficult to construct. Let me explain. The Driving Question in Project Based learning is often the hardest concept to get across to teachers. Even after a workshop devoted to PBL… questions will come across my email asking for help in constructing and refining the Driving Question.

Why are driving questions so difficult? Perhaps it is the powerful and simple concept they ride upon in a world where teachers have been taught to use so much of their “educationese language” Educators must work at being aware of the important standards in their content area without blurting them out. It is at this point that educators come across that often talked about idea of of uncovering, not covering, the standards.  Educators are so often told to practice this methodology, but are seldom told how to do it.

This is the power of the Driving Question and its importance in PBL. The Driving Question must be simply stated so that students can uncover the content standards themselves. The Driving Question should not give away the contents standards which students may not really care about. It should engage the students and create wonderment through relevancy to their world. It should drive them to “uncover the standards.” Through carefully planned PBL the teacher then facilitates this learning experience. The added bonus of building important 21st century skills is a natural outcome. In order for students to “uncover the standards” they will need to communicate, collaborate, think critically, and provide creative thought.

Please feel free to explore the links below to even better understand the Driving Question. Also on the pages that follow you download the beginnings of my rubric for assessing your DQ. Any feedback you have would be appreciated. Enjoy the Tubric that was created from the awesome people at BIE. That’s right… it is a tube and a rubric designed to create Driving Question. You may even wish to look at the video.

Edutopia Links For DQ


cross-posted at 21centuryedtech.wordpress.com

Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education.  His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more at 21centuryedtech.wordpress.com.


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