National Writing Project

Group Conversations Around Images, Documents, and Videos

By: Jason Shiroff
Date: December 7, 2009

Summary: Denver Writing Project technology liaison Jason Shiroff discusses the deliberate inquiry process he uses with his students when introducing new technology tools—in this case, a wiki—in his classroom. Listen, watch, and even comment on this VoiceThread presentation.


Denver Writing Project technology liaison Jason Shiroff employs an inquiry process with his fourth and fifth grade students as they learn to use a wiki to support their work. Shiroff presented the resources he developed as part of his classroom wiki work at the NWP Spring Meeting and Annual Meeting. The following VoiceThread piece is an online virtual version of that presentation.


The inquiry process is at the heart of all the technology tools I use with my students. . . . The first step is the play step. And I believe that play is an essential step for students learning new technologies. This step gives students free rein to explore the new tools without having "serious" work to accomplish. This stage allows for students' natural curiosity to take over and test the limits of the technology in a really low-risk setting. And I found out that when I skipped this step or moved through it too quickly, I noticed students will still want to play when I actually want them to do the serious work.

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