This article focuses on the potential of free tools, particularly inquiry tools for influencing participation in twenty-first-century learning in science, as well as influencing the development of communities around tools. Two examples are presented: one on the development of an open source tool for structured inquiry learning that can bridge the formal/informal spaces for inquiry learning. This is contrasted with an example of the use of free tools and community development for observation of scientific phenomena supported by open educational resources (OER) with a citizen science perspective. The article provides an assessment of how the availability of the resources has a potential for shaping the communities using OER for science learning and a discussion of the means of supporting inquiry.
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