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Feed Students’ Curiosities with Personal Digital Inquiry

Posted by Jill Backman on Jun 12, 2019 12:27:09 PM

Meaningful uses of technology can change how you teach and how your students learn. But many teachers struggle with finding ways to incorporate digital tools and texts into their instruction in a way that is focused while also inspiring curiosity. Thankfully, Julie Coiro has created a framework called Personal Digital Inquiry (PDI) that will help you integrate purposeful uses of technology into a classroom culture that values inquiry and deep learning.

In an era where personalized learning has often come to be associated with isolated one-to-one device technology, we thirst for this personal, constructivist, collaborative approach to digital inquiry.” – From the Foreword by Stephanie Harvey

What is PDI?

PDI was developed by Julie Coiro whose years of experience and workshops with educators led her to create this framework and subsequent book coming this summer called From Curiosity to Deep Learning: Personal Digital Inquiry in Grades, K–5. Julie co-authored this book along with Elizabeth Dobler and Karen Pelekis, who implemented PDI in their classrooms and contributed their success stories. But what is PDI? Here’s how the authors define it:

  • Personal emphasizes the significance of the personal relationship between teachers and students, and the role that students have in the learning process.
  • Digital reflects the important role that digital texts and tools have come to play in both learning and teaching with inquiry.
  • Inquiry lies at the core of PDI, because learners grow and change with opportunities to identify problems, generate personal wonderings, and engage in collaborative dialogue, making learning relevant and lasting.

By using PDI, teachers can foster curiosity with a range of digital tools and resources that will create a dynamic classroom for both teachers and students.

Digital Inquiry_v2_AB-1

A Teacher’s Reflection

Below is an excerpt from Karen’s story about her experience using PDI in her classroom.

Over the years, I have explored different ways to teach my students. As digital tools became available, I wanted to see how I could incorporate them. Having few computer skills, I was fortunate to be able to collaborate with creative, supportive colleagues. We started by enriching a unit on the continents by having students work with partners to study videos. My first graders felt like they were traveling around the world. They were also able to learn more, because the videos provided information they could understand but was too hard for them to read independently in books. As a result, they were inspired to draw, write, and read more about geography. Meaningful uses of technology changed how I taught and how my students learned.

Implementing PDI experiences means carefully building a culture of inquiry in your classroom community and intentionally aligning your teaching with meaningful goals for learning and participation while guiding students to pursue their own inquiries.

From Curiosity to Deep Learning will be out this summer. Stay tuned to and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @StenhousePub to keep up-to-date!

Topics: Classroom practice, Content Areas