Web tools to support inquiry-based learning

Suitable for teachers and students. [You will need to explore for yourself to work out which ones are best for your classroom environment.]

If you have an absolute, favourite web tool that you use to support inquiry-based learning, I’d love to hear from you. Click here to share your web tool and I will add it to the list below.

The inquiry phases referred to below come from:
Information skills in the school New South Wales Department of Education and Communities
Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School by Carol C Kuhlthau, Leslie K Maniotes and Anne K Caspari.

View the webinar on my review of the Guided Inquiry framework. The eight phase framework is based on Kuhlthau’s studies of the information search process of students and provides a model that helps you guide students through the discovery process of learning from a variety of sources of information.

[Last updated 21 April 2013]

Inquiry phase Title Description Web link
Open / Immerse
Bubbl.us Brainstorming and mind mapping tool https://bubbl.us/
Lino Sticky note – good for brainstorming http://en.linoit.com/
Mindmeister Online mind mapping software http://www.mindmeister.com/
Poll Everywhere K12 student response system – ask a question…get a response. http://www.polleverywhere.com/k12-student-response-system
Spiderscribe Online mind mapping and brainstorming tool http://www.spiderscribe.net/
Stixy Online bulletin board – also a collaborative sharing environment. http://www.stixy.com/
Stormboard Stormboard is an online brainstorming and collaboration platform. The name comes from a combination of brainstorm and whiteboard. http://stormboard.com/
TED-Ed Education talks that can be used as a stimulus to engage students in the inquiry process. http://ed.ted.com/
Text2MindMap Creates a mind map using text. http://www.text2mindmap.com/
Youtube Videos that can be used as a stimulus to engage students in the inquiry process. http://www.youtube.com/
Padlet (Wallwisher) Build a wall and then post notes. http://padlet.com/
Socrative Smart student response system that allows the teacher to interact with the students – quizzes, games, exercises. Good for pre-assessment, collecting background knowledge & reflection. http://socrative.com/
Compfight A Flickr search tool – an image search engine http://compfight.com/
DuckDuckGo Easy to use search tools for students. http://duckduckgo.com/
GoGooligans.com A safe search tool for ‘kids & teens’ – educational / academic search engine. http://www.lures.info/childrens_search/gogooligans.html
Infotopia A K-12 search engine. http://www.infotopia.info/
InstaGrok Presents your topic in an interactive visual display – interactive concept map format http://www.instagrok.com/
Kidtopia Search engine for elementary / primary students, especially suitable for PK-3. http://www.kidtopia.info/
Photobucket Photos and videos in copyright-friendly environment. http://beta.photobucket.com/
Quintura for kids Visual search engine http://quinturakids.com/
Search-cube Searches for images, videos and/or web pages and then presents it the links as a visual cube. http://search-cube.com
Simple Wikipedia An simple online encyclopedia – great to help students develop background knowledge. http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
SlimeKids Search engines for kids – top 20 engines / directories. http://www.slimekids.com/search-engines/
WikiSummarizer Presents search results as a visual map, a list or word cloud. http://www.wikisummarizer.com/
INFOhio Ohio Department of Education site to support teachers http://go.infohio.org/
The Knowledge Compass To help you ‘stay on track’ and not get lost along the way why not use the KNOWLEDGE COMPASS to help you ask the right questions http://knowledgecompass.weebly.com
Selecting / Organising
Compfight A Flickr search tool – an image search engine http://compfight.com/
Diigo Collete and organise anything – capture, store, tag, recall and share. http://www.diigo.com/
Evernote A space where you can capture your notes, web clips, files, images. Collect your information into the one single place. You can also share and collaborate. http://evernote.com/
Lino Sticky note http://en.linoit.com/
Netvibes A personalised publishing platform that can capture everything you want to share. http://www.netvibes.com/en
Pearltree This is a visual and collaborative space that lets you collect, organise and share information. http://www.pearltrees.com/
Photobucket Photos and videos in copyright-friendly environment. http://beta.photobucket.com/
Pics4Learning A safe, free image library for education. Teachers and students can use the copyright-friendly photos and images for classrooms, multimedia projects, web sites, videos, portfolios, or any other project in an educational setting. http://www.pics4learning.com/
Polldaddy Create surveys, polls, quizzes and collect the responses. http://polldaddy.com/
QR codes Provide easy access to information resources, pathfinders, websites and other tools that support your students’ learning and classroom programs. http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
ScoopIt Content curation that brings together a collection of website, articles, blogs, videos that are useful when exploring a topic. http://www.scoop.it/
sitehoover A place where you can store all your favourite web sites. http://www.sitehoover.com/en/
Spiderscribe Online mind mapping and brainstorming tool that lets you organise your ideas by connecting notes, files, etc. http://www.spiderscribe.net/
Stixy Online bulletin board – also a collaborative sharing environment. http://www.stixy.com/
Survey Monkey Design your surveys, collect the responses and analyse the results. http://www.surveymonkey.com/
Padlet (Wallwisher) Build a wall and then post your note taking, sort and organise. http://padlet.com/
Create / Share
Animoto Create simple video slide shows – add pictures, text, select music and create. http://animoto.com/
Audacity Audio recording and editing program that lets you mix, record and edit sounds. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
AudioBoo Allows you to record and share audio. http://audioboo.fm/
Blabberize Take a picture and make it talk! Tell a story, share an idea, read a poem…. http://blabberize.com/
Blogger A Google tool for creating blogs. http://www.blogger.com
Bookbuilder Use this site to create, share, publish, and read digital books that engage and support diverse learners according to their individual needs, interests, and skills. http://bookbuilder.cast.org/
easel.ly Create and share visual ideas online – infographic tool. http://www.easel.ly/
Glogster Create interactive posters – online multimedia posters with text, photos, videos, graphics, sound,drawings and more. http://edu.glogster.com/
infogr.am Create interactive charts and infographics http://www.infogr.am/
Jing Create images and videos of what you see on your computer screen and then share. http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html
Learnist Share by curating the web. You can use videos, blogs, books, docs, images or anything on the web to explain anything. http://learni.st/
Livebinders Collect your resources, organise them and present them. http://www.livebinders.com/
PB Works Previously PBwiki – wiki platform. http://www.pbworks.com/
Photo Peach Create an audio slideshow. http://photopeach.com/
Piktochart Create engaging presentations from data and information – infographic tool http://piktochart.com/
Pixorial Rather than spending valuable classroom time learning a complicated video editing program, you and your students can now get straight to the project. Whether you want to film your lectures, create exciting presentations, or encourage your students’ creativity by having them shoot, edit and share their own videos, it’s all possible using this super-simple platform http://www.pixorial.com/
Pixton Pixton introduces the world to Click-n-Drag Comics™, a revolutionary new patented technology that gives anyone the power to create amazing comics on the web. Browse the subject area examples to see the potential. http://www.pixton.com/schools/overview
Podbean Podcast hosting. http://www.podbean.com/
Posterous This is a blogging platform. https://posterous.com/
Prezi A dynamic presentation tool that helps you organise, present and share your ideas – zoom out for the overview and zoom in for the detail. http://prezi.com/
Scribe Store documents – doc, ppt, pdf, xls, etc. and share them with others. http://www.scribd.com/
Smilebox Teacher’s Toolbox The Smilebox Teacher’s Toolbox program is a teacher’s digital companion for creative classroom communication. Teacher’s Toolbox gives teachers at all grade levels an easy and creative way to safely share photos, videos, and classroom updates to students and parents. http://media.smilebox.com/teachers/welcome
Stormboard Stormboard is an online brainstorming and collaboration platform. The name comes from a combination of brainstorm and whiteboard. Add ideas, photos and videos to a shared online whiteboard. http://stormboard.com/
Storyboard generator A creative studio space to explore storytelling and the moving image. Students can explore the moving image and create their own digital stories to share with others. http://generator.acmi.net.au/storyboard
Tagul Tagul is a web service that enables you to create gorgeous tag clouds and embed them on your web page.Includes different shapes to match your words. http://tagul.com/
Twiddla Twiddla is a real-time online collaboration tool. Its beauty is in its simplicity and accessibility: no plug-ins or downloads, no need to work around complex firewalls, no advanced scheduling. It’s available 24-7 and the only requirement is a computer with an internet connection and a web browser. http://www.twiddla.com/
Vimeo Share your videos. http://vimeo.com/
Voki A talking voice character, either computer-generated or your own voice. [Also has a lesson plan database.] http://www.voki.com/
Weebly for education An easy way to create a website. http://education.weebly.com/
Wikispaces A space where you can share work and ideas, pictures and links, videos and media. Can save building a web site. http://www.wikispaces.com/
Wordle Create word visuals using the text you enter – suggested as a form of infographic. http://www.wordle.net/
WordPress Blogging platform https://wordpress.com/
xtranormal Animated, narrated movie maker http://www.xtranormal.com/
Edmodo Secure social network for classroom and teacher use. Collaborate and share content and ideas. http://www.edmodo.com/
Penzu classroom A classroom journal that you can share with your students. http://penzu.com/content/products/classroom
Socrative Smart student response system that allows the teacher to interact with the students – quizzes, games, exercises. Good for post-assessment, reflection and check for understanding. http://socrative.com/
VoiceThread A collaborative, multimedia slideshow that hosts images, videos and documents and allows others to leave comments (voice, text, audio file or video). http://voicethread.com/

Additional resources
Great mind mapping apps for iPad
Scoop.it! — Web tools to support inquiry based learning
The best of teachers’ web tools by Med Karbach
Web-based version of Bloom’s Taxonomy (30+ digital tools)