Inq-ITS is headed to The Beaver State

Inq-ITS is headed over the Cascade Mountains to visit Bend, Oregon for the 2015 Oregon Science Teachers Association Conference.  We will have the opportunity to meet up with teachers at McMenamins Old St Francis School on Friday evening.  Saturday we will enjoy the beautiful Central Oregon Community College campus as we meet with teachers at our exhibit table.  Saturday evening we would like to invite teachers to gather for a casual no-host happy hour at Greg’s Grill in The Old Mill District at 4:30.  We hope to see you there.  (@OrSciTchr) #OSTA15

Launching our new website!


Welcome to a New Generation of Teaching and Learning.

Inq-ITS is a science learning platform for middle school students with simulations for Physical, Life, and Earth Science – aligned with NGSS standards. Students show what they know and educators get real-time, actionable data they can use to tailor their class instruction or individual support; and a pop-up cartoon dinosaur provides automatic support right when it is needed.  Inq-ITS – an Inquiry Intelligent Tutoring System.

Congratulations are in order!

Janice Gobert has officially made the move to Rutgers University.  Janice (Ph.D., Cognitive Science, University of Toronto) is a Professor of Learning Sciences and Educational Psychology in the Graduate Department of Education at Rutgers University.

Before joining Rutgers, Janice was the Co-Director of the Learning Sciences and Technologies graduate program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (2005-2015), and a Senior Research Scientist at the Concord Consortium (1999-2005).


What makes Inq-ITS unique?

This morning I came across a quality post on PBS “This Scientist Learned By Doing Science and Your Students Can Too”  and a number of issues discussed in the article reminded me of the unique nature of Inq-ITS.

“But time and resource constraints, in addition to safety concerns, make authentic science inquiry difficult to model in the classroom.”  As a science teacher part of me wants to just give students access to all of my supplies and tell the students to have fun doing science.  Then I remember what I did as a high school chemistry student when my teacher left the room unsupervised and I realize that safety must remain paramount to fun inquiry experiences.  Inq-ITS gives teachers the opportunity to let students engage in individual authentic inquiry experiences so they can master the skills they will need in order to conduct quality authentic inquiry experiences in the classroom.

The author, Melanie Peffer, refers to four different means of solving this pain point: simulations, virtual labs, real-world data, and Problem Based Learning.  Sadly it seems that Melanie Peffer is unaware of Inq-ITS.  Melanie is not alone.  Inq-ITS is a valuable resource having received over 12 million in NSF and DOE grants to date.  Inq-ITS solves many point points for teachers including the ability to provide students individual inquiry opportunities, scaffolding, tutoring, and individual assessment in a timely manner.

In today’s ever-changing educational environment new tools are needed to close the achievement gap. The distinctive design behind Inq-ITS provides necessary resources for teachers’ instruction and assessment, and for students’ remediation and acceleration on critical NGSS skills.

Real-time Science Assessment and Tutoring

“Inq-ITS helps middle school students hone their authentic scientific inquiry skills. Simultaneously, educators get real-time, actionable data on their students’ performance so they can tailor instruction.”

Inq-ITS, reflects years of research into how students conduct inquiry, how they learn from it, and how to measure the practice of scientific inquiry. Inq-ITS challenges students to “show what they know” by demonstrating skills for every aspect of inquiry – hypothesizing, collecting data, analyzing data, and communicating findings.  A classroom dashboard enables teachers to monitor their students’ progress as they work so they can give them targeted help when they need it most. Inq-ITS also includes an automated helper who can jump-in with personalized help for the student if the teacher is not available, or if they are working at home.

Inq-ITS (Inquiry Intelligent Tutoring System) is an online educational environment for science. Students conduct inquiry using virtual lab simulations aligned with NGSS standards for Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth Science; the system hones students’ scientific inquiry skills and provides educators immediate formative metrics on their students for these skills. Unlike other online labs, Inq-ITS uses computer science-based algorithms that automatically assess and tutor students’ authentic inquiry skills including hypothesizing, experimenting, analyzing data, etc. Help is given by a pedagogical agent, a cartoon figure that provides support when it detects a student is off-track. The system generates reports for educators on each inquiry skill, summarizing individual student and classroom-wide performance. In brief, while students “show what they know”, educators get real-time, actionable data they can use to tailor their instruction.