Web tools to support inquiry-based learning

Suitable for teachers and students.

You will need to explore the inquiry learning phases and web tools listed below 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.

In 2012, Karen Bonanno was granted permission by the authors of Guided Inquiry Design:A Framework for Inquiry in Your School, Carol Kuhlthau, Leslie Maniotes and Ann Caspari, to develop a scope and sequence tying the five kinds of learning to the inquiry skills and general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. More information about this scope and sequence can be found at F-10 Inquiry Skills Scope and Sequence & F-10 Core Skills and Tools.

[Last updated 27 February 2015]

Inquiry phase Title Description Web link
Open / ImmerseDefining Bubbl.us Brainstorming and mind mapping tool https://bubbl.us/
eduCanon An online learning environment to build and share interactive video lessons http://www.educanon.com/
Lino Sticky note – good for brainstorming http://en.linoit.com/
Mindmeister Online mind mapping software http://www.mindmeister.com/
National Geographic – Video Videos to stimulate interest – geography, archaeology, natural science, environmental & historical conservation. http://video.nationalgeographic.com.au/
Poll Everywhere K12 student response system – ask a question…get a response. http://www.polleverywhere.com/k12-student-response-system
Popplet Capture and organise your ideas. Use as a mind-map, capture facts, thoughts and images and create relationships between them. http://popplet.com/
Spiderscribe Online mind mapping and brainstorming tool http://www.spiderscribe.net/
Stoodle Free online collaborative whiteboard. http://stoodle.ck12.org/
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/
ExploreLocating Bibme Fully automated bibliography maker that auto-fills for book, magazine, newspaper, website, journal, film entries and more. http://www.bibme.org/
Compfight A Flickr search tool – an image search engine http://compfight.com/
DuckDuckGo Easy to use search tools for students. http://duckduckgo.com/
EasyBib EasyBib is an intuitive information literacy platform that provides citation, note taking, and research tools that are easy-to-use. http://easybib.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/
Mashpedia A video encyclopedia which combines the power of YouTube and Wikipedia. http://www.mashpedia.com/
Noodle Tools Express Grab quick citations in MLA, APA or Chicago format http://www.noodletools.com/login.php
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/
Identify Defining Questioning Toolkit Help students develop powerful questioning strategies and techniques. http://www.fno.org/nov97/toolkit.html
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
Gather Selecting Bibme Fully automated bibliography maker that auto-fills for book, magazine, newspaper, website, journal, film entries and more. http://www.bibme.org/
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/
EasyBib EasyBib is an intuitive information literacy platform that provides citation, note taking, and research tools that are easy-to-use. http://easybib.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/
Kaboompics A collection of good quality photos offered for free to bloggers, website owners, small businesses, freelancers & social media ninjas http://kaboompics.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/
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 / ShareOrganising / Presenting 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/
Canva Easy drop-and-drag infographic creator. Also, Canva has other simple, drag-and-drop, graphic design  features well worth exploring. https://www.canva.com/create/infographics/
easel.ly Create and share visual ideas online – infographic tool. http://www.easel.ly/
Easy Sketch Pro Schools edition Create whiteboard animations and cartoon videos.  Easy Sketch Pro
Flipboard Create your personal magazine and share stories, videos and photos. https://flipboard.com/
Glogster Create interactive posters – online multimedia posters with text, photos, videos, graphics, sound,drawings and more. http://edu.glogster.com/
GoAnimate for Schools Make animated videos in the classroom. Powerful tools – drops and drag. https://goanimate4schools.com/public_index
Haiku Deck Presentation software for iPad and Web. https://www.haikudeck.com/
infogr.am Create interactive charts and infographics http://www.infogr.am/
Issuu Digital publishing platform. http://issuu.com/
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/
morgueFile Photographs freely contributed by many artists to be used in creative projects. To acknowledge the artist’s accomplishments, please credit the photographer. http://www.morguefile.com/archive
Ocenaudio A cross-platform, easy to use, fast and functional audio editor. It is the ideal software for people who need to edit and analyze audio files without complications. http://www.ocenaudio.com.br/
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/
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/
PosterMaker App Design posters, flyers, and signs using your iPhone or iPad! No complicated, expensive desktop publishing software required — with just a few taps, you can create beautiful, ready-to-print PDFs. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/id423574589?mt=8
PresentationTube A desktop application & online platform for recording & sharing video presentations. Add narration to your PowerPoint presentations. http://presentationtube.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
Smore for educators Creat flyers, posters and newsletters. https://www.smore.com/educators
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/
EvaluateAssessing Edmodo Secure social network for classroom and teacher use. Collaborate and share content and ideas. http://www.edmodo.com/
iRubric A comprehensive rubric development, assessment and sharing tool. Monitor student learning outcomes. http://www.rcampus.com/indexrubric.cfm
Kaizena Add voice comments, text comments and resource links to student work. Syncs with Google Drive. https://kaizena.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/
Stoodle Free online collaborative whiteboard. http://stoodle.ck12.org/
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)