Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is NexGen Inquiry?

    NexGen Inquiry is an interactive, web-based platform for teachers to organize student-centered scientific inquiry and engineering design investigations. Built by teachers for teachers, NexGen Inquiry is the result of over a decade of work with students and science educators at the Van Andel Education Institute in Grand Rapids, MI.

    NexGen Inquiry provides access to four related tools to support creating a classroom where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive.

    These tools include the...

    • Templates:  Organized into two parts, the Templates Library provides lessons utilizing VAEI instructional models for you to use right away.  Simply copy the lesson to place it in your My Templates area where you can use it as is or make changes to meet your instructional needs.
    • Classroom:  Easily manage student, small group and class investigations using NexGen Inquiry's web-based student journaling platform.  Students have the ability to work individually or can collaborate on a common investigation journal as they add text, images, tables, charts, graphs, embedded video and file attachments.
    • Teacher Community: Our interactive forums are designed for you to ask questions, share ideas, explore best practices, and collaborate with fellow K-12 teachers and VAEI staff to support your inquiry-based instruction.
    • Resource Library - Access instructional scaffolds, classroom implementation materials, and professional development videos to support your integration of NexGen Inquiry into your classroom practice as a whole.

    Watch this video for a sense of how these tools come together to help create classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive!

  • How much does NexGen Inquiry cost?

    Teacher licenses are $48 per year. There are no per student costs.

    Annual teacher licenses provide access to the Teaching and Learning Platform for one teacher and all of the teacher's students. Teacher licenses include full access to lesson Templates, the web-based Classroom, Teacher Community and Resource Library described above.

    Additional details, including an introductory price of $42 for 15 months, are available on our plans and pricing page.

    Purchase order instructions for schools and districts interested in purchasing multiple teacher licenses are available by clicking here.

  • Do you offer a free trial?

    Absolutely! Our free, 90-day trial provides full access to NexGen Inquiry for you and your students.

    Start your free trial by creating your teacher account on our plans and pricing page.

  • How does the NexGen Inquiry Teacher Classroom and Student Journal work together?

    The platform is built from the ground up to support Van Andel Education Institute’s Community of Scientific Practice instructional models

    A quick summary of the platform workflow helps illustrate how the Classroom works with Student Journals.

    1. Teachers create their account and define Classrooms to support your unique needs. Students are enrolled when they enter a unique Classroom code provided by the teacher.  Students can also be added by teachers by entering student names.
    2. Web-based journal workspaces are created for each student upon being added to a teacher's Classroom.
    3. Teachers use or modify investigation templates available in the Template Library or can create their own Templates to assign directly to student’s journals. Once assigned, students work individually or collaboratively within secure web-based journals to complete assigned investigations.
    4. Teachers have the ability to review student work at any time to provide feedback or guidance directly within the Journal interface. Teachers can also display individual or group work to allow students to present work from their journals from a classroom projector.
    5. Teachers can provide grade-based comments and scores on student investigations at the completion of a lesson or lesson sequence.
  • What professional development resources are available to support my use of the platform?

    Teacher resources and materials are included to guide and support efforts to quickly and easily integrate the platform into your instructional practice.

    Professional development resources include:

    • Quick Start Guides – An overview of platform tools, the Teacher Community and hints for use with students.
    • Template Wizard - Each section of the Template Wizard provides a short video designed to quickly guide teachers through the process of creating a NexGen Inquiry investigation template for use with students.
    • Three Free PD Courses – These media-rich courses provide an introduction to VAEI instructional models and  lessons designed using the instructional model from both a student and teacher perspective and an introduction to a process to transform lessons using the Community of Scientific Practice and QPOE2®.  Teachers that complete each course can also earn free Credly digital badges to include in their professional development records.
  • Does NexGen Inquiry support my school district’s science or engineering education standards and objectives?

    Absolutely. NexGen Inquiry and VAEI's research-based instructional models provide opportunities to enhance the delivery and learning of curriculum to meet your science and engineering standards.

  • Do I have to replace my curriculum or lesson plans to use the tools?

    No. We have specifically designed NexGen Inquiry to support investigations and projects within all science and engineering curriculums.

  • What are the technology requirements to use NexGen Inquiry?

    All you need is a personal computer, laptop, or tablet with a browser and Internet access. The cloud-based platform is available 24x7 using all modern web browsers. All data is secured using industry standards for secure cloud-based infrastructure.

  • Do students need an e-mail account to use NexGen Inquiry?

    No. Students without e-mail addresses can be quickly added directly within the Teacher Classroom. After adding students to the classroom roster, you simply distribute user names and passwords to students for them to access their Student Journals within the platform.

  • Is there an app that I need for my mobile device or tablet?

    No. NexGen Inquiry is a web-based application designed to function in all major browsers.

  • Who can I contact to learn more?

    Please contact us via e-mail with your questions or requests for additional information.