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The Process and Stance of Inquiry in a Digital World [15:46]


I have been on a journey for many years to understand the nature of inquiry and the skills and strategies that are required for individuals to engage in deep and relevant learning. I "retired" as a library educator in July 2018, but I spent the next year engaged in my own inquiry process to probe deeply into the demands of inquiry-based learning for today's students. I read widely in educational theory and practice, library professional practice, content curriculum standards, social and emotional learning, and critical thinking. I constructed new understandings for myself, and hopefully the library field, by re-envisioning the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum (ESIFC), a PK-12 continuum of the information and inquiry skills required for in-depth learning (

Stripling, Toerien: Inquiry in a Digital World FOSIL Image

Since the ESIFC was published in April 2019, I have continued to push my own thinking about inquiry. Imagine my delight when I connected with Darryl Toerien, Head of Library and Archives at Oakham School in the United Kingdom, who is engaged in the same in-depth exploration of inquiry. Darryl is the originator of FOSIL (Framework of Skills for Inquiry Learning), which was originally modeled after the Stripling Model of Inquiry ( Darryl is thinking about the confluence of "inquiry as a stance" (an excitement for learning about the world) and "inquiry as a process" (a process with a continuum of skills). I am wrestling with the same issue.Together, we are asking important questions and pushing each other to greater understanding of what inquiry could and should look like in schools in the United States and across the world.

Questions to Consider

As you watch the video, think about how you might inform your own practice with some of the ideas/challenges we discuss:

  • How will you help your students develop the inquiry skills to overcome the challenges they face in the digital environment: the overwhelming quantity of information, the growing volume of misinformation and poor-quality information, and the seductive distractions of that environment?
  • What skills will you prioritize in your own teaching?
  • If you want your students to develop inquiry as a stance so that they are excited and motivated to find out about the world, how can you lead your school into developing a school-wide inquiry stance? Where and with whom will you start?

I hope you enjoy my conversation with Darryl Toerien and join us in exploring the possibilities and complexities of inquiry.

MLA Citation

Stripling, Barbara K. "The Process and Stance of Inquiry in a Digital World [15:46]." School Library Connection, October 2020,

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Entry ID: 2254856