Googling “Saving Black Mountain”



Today, I tried searching online for a specific journal article, “Saving Black Mountain,” using just the three words of the title, utilising four different strategies.

Firstly, I went to Google and entered the three words: saving black mountain.  This search yielded over 28 million hits, with the first page shown below:


Although the first result featured the article I needed, when clicking the link, I could only access the first page, due to lack of JStor log-in, but it did give me useful bibliographical information to enable me to search elsewhere.

Other results on the first page sometimes referred to the article eg other ILN student blogs, but also contained completely irrelevant items, due to Google searching for documents containing the three words in the search, but not necessarily linked or related, such as below:


After refining my search, using double quotes, ie “saving black mountain,” the number of results narrowed to around 2,500, and seemed to exclude irrelevant documents.  The first page contained several links to the specific article from different databases and providers, which was more useful.

Thirdly, I entered Google Scholar, and immediately changed the settings to link to QUT, so I could see which results were available in full text from my university library – a very useful function!  As above, I started without using the double quotes, and found around 120,000 matches, starting with the article I wanted, but also including journal articles ranging in topic from the Black Robin, to the Rocky Mountain Divide, to water-saving irrigation practices.

Finally, using phrase searching, only 40 results appeared, including my desired article, as well as other articles which referred to the original article, as seen below:


I could also clearly see which articles were available through QUT, and gain direct access by clicking the links down the right-hand side of the page.

Clearly, when trying to find scholarly articles online, Google Scholar is the more effective and efficient search engine, especially when linked to an educational institution’s library service.  However, if exploring a topic, there are also many useful resources which are not scholarly articles, such as blogs and educational websites, so, in that instance, general Google would be more useful.  In addition, if specific titles, headings or topics of more than one word are known, phrase searching is far better than a basic search without the use of quotation marks.


Initial Reflection



I first came across inquiry learning several years ago, while relief teaching at an International Baccalaureate school in Perth. The students and teachers seemed so engaged in their learning.  Apart from student motivation, two aspects which particularly impressed me were the focus on students developing their own questions to explore,  and the creativity with which they presented and shared their personal discoveries.  Since then, I have been keen to learn more about inquiry learning, and am really pleased to be able to explore this pedagogy and process in this unit.

There appear to be many different models of inquiry learning, rooted in similar pedagogy.  They all appear to make learners more conscious of the information-seeking process itself, and encourage deep thinking and curiosity.  The focus is on the process, rather than the content.  This process aims to create meaning, relevance and personal interest, and develop skills for lifelong learning, as well as good citizenship.

I am hoping that, by the end of this unit, I will be confident to share my new learning with other members of staff, and start to work with some of them to plan and facilitate inquiry learning at my school.

Some initial questions:

1. Does inquiry learning need to occur within a whole school approach in order to work effectively?

2. Do weaker students need extra guidance and/or structure, or do they succeed by working at their own level, optimising their strengths and/or collaborating?

3. What kind of learning spaces best facilitate inquiry learning?