INN533 – Final Reflection

From the beginning of this unit Zaana’s enthusiasm has kept me motivated. Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 9.18.26 PMAt first I was quite overwhelmed by the prospect of having to complete five assignments. The challenge of constant assessment, as well as full time work, worried me. If it hadn’t been for the unlimited support and feedback Zaana gave us through Blackboard, Facebook and Twitter, I don’t think I would have been as positive. I also thoroughly enjoyed working in a group for the final proposal and report and having the opportunity to meet fellow students face to face.

What I am now delighted to say is that I have come out the other end with my eyes wide open to the world of information organisation and retrieval. What a user experience meant to be before, I now appreciate from a totally different perspective. An example of this, and at the same time my highlight of the unit, was my user experience with the website Trip Advisor (for Assignment 1). The user-generated content (comments and ratings) assisted me, to an extent that I had never imagined possible, in planning and preparing for my future overseas trip to South America. Imagine what this type of feedback could do to assist users in a school library.

I am also extremely interested to learn more about the implementation of RDA (as SCIS is in the initial stages of implementing it) and the impact it could have on school libraries. While at the same time I am interested in the concepts of tagging and folksonomy. The rules and standards of information organisation also opened my eyes to a new world. I was already familiar with the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme, but am currently in the process of replacing it with a classification scheme created around the concept of tagging and folksonomy. At this point I cannot imagine what the final product will look like, but I do intend to gather feedback from the students to find out how they believe tagging could assist them in finding and organising school library resources. Stay tuned!!

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INN533 The Future of Information Organisation

Throughout this unit, my experiences with user-generated content (UGC) to gather Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 11.17.39 AMinformation (especially using Trip Advisor) has opened my eyes to a world of personal organisation, communication and sharing that I never thought possible. The term ‘folksonomy’ has now become a regular expression in my vocabulary, in that ‘people use their own vocabulary and add explicit meaning which may come from an inferred understanding of the information/object’ (Vander Wal, 2007, cited in Pirmann, 2012). Basically, it reflects a natural language.

In addition, I was impressed with how Spiteri (2012) used the term ‘social discovery system’ to describe a visually engaging Web 2.0 interface with built-in social networking (Serials Solutions, 2012). This being an online platform that supports UGC (ratings, reviews, tagging etc) whereby library users can:

  • establish a social space where they can share and discuss ideas/interests
  • connect via the catalogue
  • make recommendations, and
  • classify items with their own tags (reflective of their language and needs)

(Spiteri, 2012)

I love this idea of an online platform space that has the potential to transform a library catalogue from a static inventory to a social space where people can interact with collections and each other as they would in a physical library. One that is designed to encourage user contribution and participation. A vision I can see for my school library catalogue that reflects the information needs and terminology of the users, rather than the library staff.

Although, I am aware that problems may arise through the use of this ‘social discovery system’. The uncontrolled nature of the UGC could turn out to be essentially chaotic. An imprecision and/or ambiguity of the content could emerge, for example, as users apply the same tag in different ways. This is something that well developed controlled vocabularies and name authorities have effectively perfected in the past.

I agree with Mathes (2004) in that ‘transforming the creation of explicit metadata for resources from an isolated, professional activity into a shared, communicative activity by users is an important development that should be explored and considered for future systems development’. I hope to transform the user experiences in my library by creating a ‘social discovery system’ that involves these users of information more actively through the use of UGC.

Mathes, A. (2004). Folksonomies – cooperative classification and communication through shared metadata. Retrieved from http://www.adammathes.com/academic/computer-mediated-communication/folksonomies.html

Pirmann, C. (2012). Tags in the catalogue: Insights from a usability study of LibraryThing for Libraries, Library Trends, 61(1), 234-147. Retrieved from: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/library_trends/v061/61.1.pirmann.html

Spiteri, L. F. & Tarulli, L.(2012). Social Discovery Systems in Public Libraries: If We Build Them, Will They Come? Library Trends 61(1), 132-147. Retrieved from: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/library_trends/v061/61.1.spiteri.html

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INN533 Classification

Classification is a major tool in the organisation of a school library. It needs to be Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 2.18.14 PMassumed that it will be maintained and kept current and that its editors will respond to the changing needs of collections and to changes in technology (Broughton, 2004).

In saying this, I strongly agree with Shirky (2005) in that popular classification schemes, such as Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and Library of Congress Classification (LCC) have become outdated and irrelevant to the youth of today due to technological advances in the electronic world. Google, for example, has no shelf and no file system. Because of this, Shirky (2005) believes categorisation now requires ‘mind reading’ and ‘fortune telling’, in that it forces categorisers to guess what their users are thinking, and to make predictions about the future.

In an online world, the only globally unique identification (ID) for anything to point to is the uniform resource locator (URL) (Shirky, 2005). It is now becoming popular for users to tag URL’s, in ways that make them more valuable, all without requiring hierarchical organisation schemes like DDC or LCC.  Tagging is the words or phrases users attach to a link that assist them in grouping related URL’s together. Unlike DDC, there are no fixed sets of categories. By forgoing formal classification schemes, tags enable a huge amount of user-produced organisational value at vanishingly small cost (Shirky, 2005). Systems employing free form tagging that are encouraging users to organise information in their own ways are supremely responsive to users needs and vocabularies, and involve users of information actively in organisational systems (Mathes, 2004).

I agree with Shirky (2005) and Mathes (2004) in that an explosion in free form labeling of links, followed by all sorts of ways of grabbing value from those labels, is what is happening now. Take Del.ici.ous or Flickr for example. You can keep track of URL’s or images for yourself, you can share globally and others can view what you’re doing, and that is only the beginning. We are moving away from binary categorisation and into this probabilistic world (Shirky, 2005). It’s all about the users, not the system.

I am hoping to employ a tagging system in my primary school library in the near future.

References

Broughton, Vanda, (2004). Managing Classification. In Vanda Broughton. Essential classification, (pp.284 – 293). New York: Schuman.

Mathes, A. (2004). Folksonomies – cooperative classification and communication through shared metadata. Retrieved from http://www.adammathes.com/academic/computer-mediated-communication/folksonomies.html

Shirky, C. (2005). Ontology is overrated: categories, links and tags. Retrieved from http://www.shirky.com/writings/ontology_overrated.html

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INN533 Resource Description

Reflect upon what I think are the key factors in considering how I will Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 10.03.17 PMstructure bibliographic resource description and the standards I will use when creating my database.

Resource description and access in today’s libraries should be designed to meet fundamental user tasks in a way that produces well-formed, interconnected metadata for the digital environment (Tillett, 2011).

The users of my database will primarily be elementary school students, therefore the key factors in considering how I will structure bibliographic resource description and the standards I will use are:

  • To thoroughly get to know my users
  • Use SCIS (Schools Catalogue Information Service) which is implementing the new Resource Description and Access (RDA) cataloguing standards
  • Broaden the range of resource formats to be catalogued to include electronic and digital technologies (some which have no physical presence other than a link to a computer file)
  • Create records that are understandable and convenient to the user
  • Use copy cataloguing as well as original cataloguing
  • Use RDA standards to ensure consistency within and across the database catalogue with the intention of making information discovery easier for users

My overall goal: to improve users search results and the way these results are displayed

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using RDA over AACR2?

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 9.22.31 PM

What the move to RDA means in regard to the evolution of information management

The move to RDA will mean that all library resource description and access will move towards a web presence as it is designed for an online environment. This will allow for multiple characteristics of e-resources to be taken into consideration. Translations of RDA are underway so it will become more internationally accepted. But most importantly, resource description and access will be easier for users to understand in a way that will keep libraries relevant in the semantic web.

REFERENCES

Education Services Australia. (2013, June 24). SCIS RDA Implementation 1 July 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from SCIS School Catalogue Information Service website: http://scis.edublogs.org/2013/06/24/rda-update/

Tillett, B.B. (2011). Keeping libraries relevant in the Semantic Web with resource description and access (RDA). Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community, 24(3), 266-272. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from: http://uksg.metapress.com/content/0u51740l4t111749/ 

Zabel, D. & Miller, L. (2011). Resource description and access (RDA): An introduction for reference librarians. Reference and User Services       Quarterly, 50(3), 216-222. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from: http://rusa.metapress.com/content/wrg1501514721g7n/

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INN533 Information Organisation on the web – Information Architecture

Information Architecture (IA) helps designers and producers of websites ‘make choices Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 11.03.06 AMabout how to structure information so people can understand and use it’ (Garrett p.88, 2011). It concerns structuring content (information arrangement), design structure, organising principles, language and metadata, location, navigation and labeling. Downey & Banerjee (2010) have created a useful checklist that ‘helps remind system designers and customers to account for, and plan for, IA in their system.’ I also really liked MAYA’s definition of IA in that ‘by thinking about the architecture of how information is used, how it flows and how it fits within the users world (its context), you can capture the essence of how to build a system that is not only intuitive but futureproof (McManus, 2009).

So then how does this translate into a final website? One knows that effective website IA has made an impact on users when, ‘it connects people to the content they’re looking for’ (Farley, 2010). If your users find your website organised and can easily navigate to the information that interests them, then you have engaging IA. To add to this, Garrett (p.98, 2009) says, ‘a successful user experience is one in which the users expectations are anticipated and accounted for.’

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 12.11.50 PM

References

City Council Websites used:

Melbourne City Council:  http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/

Hobart City Council:  http://www.hobartcity.com.au/

Perth City Council:  http://www.perth.wa.gov.au

Downey, L. & Banerjee, S. (2010). Building an information architecture checklist. Journal of Information Architecture, 2(2). Retrieved from:  http://journalofia.org/volume2/issue2/03-downey/

Farley, J. (2010). The Web Design Process Part 2: Information Architecture. Retrieved from: http://www.sitepoint.com/the-web-design-process-part-2-information-architecture/

Garrett, J.J. (2011). Information Architecture in The Elements of User Experience: User Centred Design for the Web and Beyond, 2nd edition, pp.88-101.

McManus, M. (2009). What is information architecture? Retrieved from:  http://www.maya.com/the-feed/what-is-information-architecture

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Giving and Receiving Feedback – Part 2

The whole process of giving and receiving feedback has been both beneficial to my learning, and the learning I will continue to pass onto my students. I realised that even though everyone in the unit had been given the same task, they did not approach it in the same way. Not one blog I read was the same and everyone approached the topic in different ways. This is what inquiry learning is all about. It requires more than answering questions or getting a right answer. We learn by investigating, exploring, searching, researching and studying, to name a few.

The feedback I received from the staff for my presentation was positive. They were interested in learning more about the GEST model, data gathering, inquiry models and questioning frameworks. It opened their eyes to approach to learning that has been overlooked in the Education Queensland C2C units. Next year, a few teachers have shown interest in learning more about inquiry learning.

I also received some accidental feedback from a student in the unit who was not from my group. He thought that my blog was one of his group members, offered some positive feedback, and then realised it was not the blog of the person he thought it was. Thank you, your feedback was much appreciated.

Some great resources here Prue, I might even have to use some for my posts in blog stage 2  I made the comment on Liz’s blog that it would be good if she could make the link clearer between the resources contents and the specific details of her ILA and I think this applies to your post as well…just a thought.

The most helpful feedback came from Mandy after she marked my presentation. She pointed out that I needed to use the student responses from the final interviews to support the data I had gathered for Blog Stage 2. She also mentioned, that presenting students with too many information literacy or inquiry based learning models may confuse them. I realized that the way students and adults analyse and evaluate models such as these, are very different and could overwhelm many students. My confidence increased when she mentioned that the way I analysed the responses, based on the ACARA Critical and Creative Thinking and ICT General Capabilities, was what she was thinking about doing with the CLN650 students next year. Glad I could help. Thanks for that Mandy!

Overall my group members gave me very positive feedback.

Your blog looks great – the first thing that stuck my is the look of your major blog post – at first glance it looks appealing which I think is important for a blog (much more so than an essay).  Looking at yours made me realise that I need to put more effort into making my look more ‘inviting’ like a blog should J  The dot points were effective for “what did” and “didn’t work” and a good idea when posting on a blog rather than large chunks of information.I can see why you wrote that ‘data gathering and analysis was time consuming and at times tiresome’ – you did a huge effort with your data collection and analyse – well done.I enjoyed reading about what you now working on with the year 7 class.

This type of reflection has made me think about how I approach inquiry learning and helped me understand why things transpired the way they did. What I have gained throughout the experience will be carried through to all future inquiry projects, from the successes and failures, the high and the lows, the knowledge I have gained, to the experiences I have had.  If you have been thinking about approaching learning through inquiry, I highly recommend you try.

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The Final Reflective Questionnaire 3 – The New “Inquiry Learning” Me

Now I know how Mandy feels, exhilarated!! Who would have thought I would have made
it this far and felt this good!

Take some time to think about your topic. Now write down what you know about it.

  • Inquiry learning can impact the way a student perceives learning for the rest of their life if approached with an open mind.
  • Through inquiry learning, students learn to become search experts, use inquiry-based learning and information literacy models to their advantage and ask good questions, to name a few. They also learn how to reflect on the facts learnt and draw conclusions for deeper learning.
  • By modeling Kulthau’s information search process (ISP) and providing students with targeted intervention in each stage of the inquiry process, students will ‘learn how to learn in a lasting and transferable way from a variety of sources.’

How interested are you in this topic?     A great deal

How much do you know about this topic?    Quite a bit, there is always more to learn

Thinking back on my research project, what did I find easiest to do?

  • I really enjoyed producing my findings on the blog. This platform is now an environment I feel comfortable using and also sharing with my students.
  • My expert searching skills have improved significantly.
  • I now feel confident in producing screencast videos to share the knowledge and skills I have learnt throughout the unit.

Thinking back on the research project, what did I find most difficult to do?

  • Using the questioning frameworks. This is something I am not familiar with and found it difficult getting my head around.
  • The data gathering and analysis was time consuming and at times tiresome, but the information collected was extremely valuable.
  • Comparing the data gathered to the ACARA general capabilities was also difficult but it opened my eyes to how the skills and expertise I have as teacher librarian can be used to help develop creative, socially responsible students turned on to inquiry.

What did I learn in doing this research project?

  • That inquiry learning is not that scary and opens the door to a world of enlightenment.
  • I now understand and feel more comfortable using the terms inquiry, questioning, intervention, reflection, deeper learning and active engagement, to name a few.
  • I have learnt that I now feel confident enough to approach my next inquiry with my suitcase full of the ideas, suggestions and resources collected from this unit, and to share them with the staff and students at my school.

How do you now feel about your research?

  • Confident and enlightened by what I have learnt, excited and eager to share this learning.
  • Extremely happy with how it has turned out and looking forward to many future inquiry learning experiences.

Can I now answer these 3 questions I originally asked? For sure.

  • What time frames are involved throughout the inquiry learning process? (eg steps)
  • Which popular inquiry learning models would you recommend using in a primary school setting?
  • How can inquiry learning be implemented in all subject areas?
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Recommendations for Future Practice

Critical Evaluation of ILA against ACARA General Capabilities, IL/IBL Models and Bloom’ s Digital Taxonomy 

[Figure 1] – Comparison of a selection of inquiry models and continua

When I first compared the Information Learning Activity (ILA) to Bell et al’s (2005) four level structure of science inquiry-based learning, it seemed to fit in somewhere between Level 2 and Level 3 – Structured and Guided Inquiry.  The students were presented with a teacher-directed scenario while at the same time they investigated the scenario using student-designed procedures (with some scaffolding from teachers).

In addition, I compared the ILA to Churches’ (2008) Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. As all levels in the taxonomy are crucial to learning, a majority of the Higher Order Thinking (HOT) skills required to fulfil the requirements of this particular ILA, remained in the lower levels of the taxonomy – remembering and understanding.

Pursuing this further, I compared Churches’ (2008) Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy to the ACARA CCT and ICT Capabilities (ACARA, 2012) and discovered that all six levels are thoroughly employed throughout the continua. These ways of learning range from students having to identify, describe, paraphrase, sequence, formulate and seek further information (to name a few) from the lower levels in the taxonomy, to applying, categorising, deconstructing and assessing in the upper levels. As a result of these findings, my next inquiry will incorporate more of the HOT skills presented in the CCT and ICT General Capabilities (ACARA, 2012). These ideas will be presented and discussed in the initial planning stages of the ILA, in which all teachers involved in the project, will take part.

To go a step further, I also compared Churches’ (2008) Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy to the ACARA Year 5 History Content Descriptions (ACARA, 2012), specifically the Historical Skills. Throughout the content descriptions, students are encouraged to develop the HOT skills of locating, comparing, identifying, using, drawing conclusions, describing, evaluating and acknowledging. If these skills are successfully implemented into the ILA, richer and deeper student learning will take place.

Furthermore, I also compared my ILA to Lupton and Bruce’s (2010) GEST model, designed to help educators examine information literacy from different perspectives. The Generic model, based around more formal education, is where most teachers’ pedagogy sits, including myself. From the perspective of my ILA, I can now say it sits in the Generic Window. In the middle of the ILA and without being fully aware of the decisions I was making at the time, I went back to a more formal education, by standing up in front of the whole class teaching specific skills and following a series of stages, step by step. At the beginning of the ILA, I had consciously attempted to break this habit by looking at information literacy through the situated window, but found myself unconsciously falling back into these old habits.

The ILA I am currently working on with a Year 7 class, will hopefully provide students with the skills to engage in authentic information practices learned in the situated window of the GEST model, if not the transformative window. These students are going to attempt to challenge the status quo and convince the current leaders in education, that in order to make school more relevant to them and enhance their learning experiences, educators need to be able to incorporate the same social interactions that are successful outside of school into authentic assignments in the school setting by unblocking social media sites in Education Queensland schools.

Finally, after analyzing  a variety of information literacy and inquiry-based learning models (and there are many), I ended up implementing the information process model throughout the ILA. This model has been around for many years now, specifically in more formal education, and I believe this may be one of the reasons why my ILA stayed in the generic window of the GEST model.

What Worked

  • Value of ICT
  • Preliminary activities
  • Collaborative skills
  • More independence
  • One student who only relied on information from books now values how information can be found with ICT’s as well
  • Value of a good search
  • Useful data gathered from observations/interviews to use for future practice

What Didn’t Work

  • Not enough intervention at critical points
  • Keeping students engaged (holiday between middle and end of ILA)
  • Time constraints (poor time management skills)
  • Lack of student imagination (sets restrictions)
  • No reflection time (especially at end of ILA)
  • Curricular pressures (especially C2C’s)
  • Majority of students presented fact-finding patterns in responses rather than the richer and deeper learning where knowledge becomes more personalised over time (Kuhlthau et al, 2007 p 131)
  • ILA stayed in Generic Window of GEST model (Lupton and Bruce, 2010)
  • ILA stayed in lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Understanding and Remembering)
  • Only covered some of ACARA CCT and ICT Capabilities throughout ILA

Recommendations For Future Practice

  • Implement what ALIA (2011) suggests as more targeted intervention, which provides a means by which teachers are able to tailor learning experiences and opportunities, resources and processes to the needs and abilities of each student according to the ACARA CCT and ICT Capabilities (ACARA, 2012)
  • From the beginning of the inquiry, discuss with students that they must find evidence to support their arguments and that it is not a fact-finding exercise but involves deeper reflection (eg opinions, arguments, looking from both sides of the story….)
  • Hand out an ACARA CCT and ICT General Capabilities (ACARA, 2012) proforma (in ‘student friendly’ language) at the beginning of the inquiry for students to refer to throughout the inquiry
  • Use of more online spaces for group discussions – “Ask me” section, polls, reflection and use of an online journal
  • Focus on time management skills
  • Use De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” (De Bono Thinking Systems) throughout the inquiry
  • Use different types of thinking maps throughout the inquiry (eg Bubble map, circle map, multi-flow map and more…..)
  • Try to move the inquiry from the Generic Window to the Situated or even Transformative Window of the GEST model (Bruce and Lupton, 2010) – current Year 7 inquiry
  • Use Kuhlthau et al’s (2007, p 121) ‘Timeline reflection on my inquiry process” that offers a way to assess performance, to identify problems and the need for intervention and guidance.
  • Encourage students to ‘address’ questions rather than ‘answer’ them
  • Use ISP model more often and keep referring back to it throughout the inquiry
  • Refer to American Association of School Librarians (AASL, 2007) Standards for the 21st century as well as ACARA General Capabilities (ACARA, 2012)
  • Plan ILA during term and try not to let a holiday period get in the way

References

American Association of School Librarians. (2007). “Standards for the 21st- Century Learner.” Chicago IL: American Library Association. Accessed November 5, 2012 at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/standards.cfm

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (Ed.). (2012). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from The Australian Curriculum website: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Information-and-Communication-Technology-capability/Continuum

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (Ed.). (2012). Critical and creative thinking. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from The Australian Curriculum website: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Critical-and-creative-thinking/Continuum

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2012). [History]. Retrieved November 5, 2012, from The Australian Curriculum website: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/History/Curriculum/F-10

Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). (2011). ALIA/ASLA policy on guided inquiry and the curriculum. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from ALIA website: http://alianet.alia.org.au/policies/guided.inquiry.html

Bell, R; Smetana, L & Binns, I. (2005). Simplifying inquiry instruction The Science Teacher, 72 (7), 30-33.

Churches, A. (2008). Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. Retrieved November 7, 2012, from Educational Origami website: http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom%27s+Digital+Taxonomy

De Bono Thinking Systems (Ed.). (n.d.). Six Thinking Hats. Retrieved November 5, 2012, from De Bono Thinking Systems website: http://www.debonothinkingsystems.com/tools/6hats.htm

Kuhlthau, Carol C., Maniotes, Leslie K. and Caspari, Ann K. (2007). Guided Inquiry Learning in the 21st Century. London: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, Carol C., Heinstrom, Jannica and Todd, Ross J. (2005). School Library Impact Measure (SLIM) : A Toolkit and Handbook For Tracking and Assessing Student

Learning Outcomes Of Guided Inquiry Through the School Library. Rutgers University: Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries.

Limberg, L. (2000). Is there a Relationship Between Information Seeking and Learning Outcomes? in C. Bruce and P. Candy (Eds.), Information literacy around the world : Advances in programs and research, Wagga Wagga: CIS, Charles Sturt University, pp.193-207

Lupton, Mandy and Bruce, Christine. (2010). Chapter 1: Windows on Information Literacy Worlds: Generic, Situated and Transformative Perspectives in Lloyd, Annemaree and Talja, Sanna, Practising information literacy : bringing theories of learning, practice and information literacy together, Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, pp.3-27.

Mead, M. (2010). Needles and Nuggets. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from The Pipe website: http://mariamead.wordpress.com

NSW Department of Education (Ed.). (2007). Information Skills in the School: Engaging Learners in Constructing Knowledge. Retrieved from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/teachingideas/isp/docs/infoskills.pdf

Schultz, J. (2007). The future of SOSE? Integrative inquiry is the answer. Social Educator, 25(3), 11-16.

Student interviews 20-10-12 Final responses to inquiry

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Results of Data Analysis and Interpretation of Results (Questions 4-7)

What student’s found both easy and hard throughout the ISP (Q #4 and #5)

[Figure 1] – Number of Group Responses 

Question 4 & 5 student responses related to information location, evaluation and use, and were analysed during the ILA to determine whether the students needed assistance and instruction during the inquiry process (Kuhlthau et al, 2007). The responses were collated under the ACARA Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) and Information Communication Technology (ICT) General Capabilities (ACARA, 2012) as well as the Year 6 History Content Descriptions (ACARA, 2012).  Overall, the responses from each question mirrored the other. What one felt was easy, another felt was hard.

[Figure 2] – Aspects of research students found easy 

[Figure 3] – More detailed aspects of research students found easy – Survey 1, 2 and 3 

Figure 2 shows that initially a majority of students said using a particular search engine was easy. For example, that they used Google, Bing or Wikipedia. By the end of the ILA, more students found researching and finding information easier than at the beginning (see Figure 3). They also began to find trustworthy websites easier and searching also became easier. By the end, not one student mentioned reading as the easiest as their focus was now elsewhere in the research process.

[Figure 4] – Aspects of research students found hard

[Figure 5]- More detailed aspects of research students found hard – Survey 1, 2 and 3

Figure 4 shows that initially a majority of students found finding appropriate websites and information difficult, but by the end, research (in general) was difficult as they realised how much information was out there and that there are many different ways to interpret what people say. Finding the answers was initially hard for a lot of the students. But by the end this was no longer a priority and the research itself became more important (but still hard)(see Figure 5). These findings reflect what Kuhlthau et al (2007, p 133) describes about inquiry. It is an approach to learning that involves students not simply answering questions and getting the right answer, but finding and using a variety of sources of information and ideas to increase their understanding of a specific area of the curriculum.

ACARA Creative and Critical Thinking (CCT) Capabilities

[Figure 6] – Aspects of research students found easy and hard 

Overwhelming, a majority of the responses related to identifying and categorising information and choosing pertinent information. But it is also obvious that many indicators were not identified in any student responses (see Figure 6). Examples include, “drawing on evidence to formulate solutions to problems” and “prioritising ideas and select information to form a considered response to issue.” This data will be useful in informing future inquiry planning.

By the end of the ILA, what a majority of students found easy in their research was analysing a variety of information sources after having identified and categorised the information from these sources throughout the ILA. Initially there was a higher percentage of students who lacked an understanding of the topic and information found, compared to a much lower percentage by the end of the ILA. They continued to find, putting information into their own words difficult and some even started to find asking questions difficult.

Notably, one of the highest difficulties of seeking further information and identifying gaps in knowledge, occurred at the beginning of the inquiry before students were taught specific skills to develop research competency. These difficulties were significantly less in the second survey and hardly reported on at all by the third.

ACARA Information Communication Technology (ICT) Capabilities

[Figure 7] – Aspects of research students found easy and hard

Again, some of the indicators were not identified in any student responses (see Figure 7) . The greatest number of responses related to planning, locating, retrieving and organising information which was reflected in responses from what students found both easy and difficult across all three surveys.

Students began to assess and analyse the websites they found by the middle of the ILA, reflecting student progression of learning. Another group of students reported computer problems throughout the inquiry process but no complaints were reported as to the restrictions put on accessibility of websites.

ACARA Year 6 Content Descriptions – Historical Skills

[Figure 8] – Aspects of research students found easy and hard

Similar to the CCT General Capabilities (ACARA, 2012), the majority of responses describing what students found easy and difficult in the history content descriptions, related to identifying and locating a range of relevant sources and locating information related to inquiry questions from a range of sources (see Figure 8). The responses to the latter, in which students initially found more difficult, dropped off as the ILA progressed as the students no longer found these skills difficult.

Tracked Students experiences with Aspects of Research (Q #4 & #5)

Figures 9-14 illustrate the tracked students responses to questions 4 and 5. The data was gathered based on the ability levels of this group of eight students. Three high achievers (HA), three average achievers (AA) and two low achievers (LA).

[Figure 9] – Number of responses recorded by tracked students to Q4

Overall the number of ‘easy’ aspects of research recorded decreased depending on the ability level of the student (see Figure 9), which is to be expected.

 ACARA Creative and Critical Thinking (CCT) Capabilities

[Figure 10] – Aspect of research tracked students found easy

When data was collated under the CCT General Capabilities (ACARA, 2012), the ‘easy’ aspects of research were spread over four indicators for higher and lower achievers, whilst only three indicators were covered for AA (see Figure 10). This was not expected, until you look further at the LA data to discover that only two indicators were covered in the second survey and only one indicator in the third.  This may be due to a more significant area of research becoming more significant to the LA as the inquiry progressed.

ACARA Information Communication Technology (ICT) Capabilities

[Figure 11] – Aspect of research tracked students found easy

When data was collated under the ICT General Capabilities (ACARA, 2012), the ‘easy’ aspects of research were spread over two indicators for all ability levels, although one of the LA indicators differed from both the high and average achievers (see Figure 11). Their responses related to assessing the suitability of information whereas the LA responses related to how they used ICT effectively to record ideas. This was expected as the high and average achievers responses reflected a greater scope in understanding of inquiry process.

[Figure 12] – Number of responses recorded by tracked students to Q5

Unexpectedly, the number of ‘hard’ aspects of research recorded by LA was less than HA (see Figure 12).  This could be due to fact that there were fewer in number than other tracked ability groups. It was expected that the AA would record more responses than the HA.

ACARA Creative and Critical Thinking (CCT) Capabilities

[Figure 13] – Aspect of research tracked students found hard

When data was collated under the CCT General Capabilities (ACARA, 2012), the ‘hard’ aspects of research were spread over four indicators for AA, whilst only three indicators were covered for both high and low achievers (see Figure 13). At the beginning of the inquiry, the low and average achievers recorded difficulties in identifying gaps in knowledge whereas the HA recorded difficulties in paraphrasing information, which would be expected. But as the inquiry progressed, both the high and average achievers recorded a higher number of difficulties compared to the LA. This may be due to increased pressure they put on themselves, higher expectations or even their ability to articulate their understanding of the inquiry process.

ACARA Information Communication Technology (ICT) Capabilities

[Figure 14] – Aspect of research tracked students found hard

When data was collated under the ICT General Capabilities (ACARA, 2012), there was no obvious trend spread over all three ability groupings as to what they recorded as being the ‘hard’ aspects of research (see Figure 14). All three ability groups thoroughly covered the planning, locating, retrieving and organising indicator over all three surveys, which was to be expected. The AA only covered using ICT effectively to record ideas in the second survey, which was unexpected and the HA covered the assessment of suitability of information in the first and second survey, which was expected.

All data collated above, will be used to inform future inquiry planning. Next time I plan to decrease scaffolding of what students found easy, and increase scaffolding of what students found difficult.

Articulate what students (including tracked students) learned (Q #6) – Questionnaire 3 only

[Figure 15] – Group responses to Question 6

Questionnaire 3 (distributed at the end of the ILA) was the only survey to gather data about what the students learned doing the ILA. A majority of students took away factual knowledge, some students expressed their thoughts and feelings (Kuhlthau’s ISP) about their research process and others learned valuable skills in evaluating information, internet searching and work ethics (see Figure 15).

[Figure 16] – Tracked students responses to Question 6

Tracked students responses to Question 6 generally increased with ability level (see Figure 16). They recorded learnings such as helpful techniques for website evaluation, skills for independent learning and problem solving skills. Even the low achieving students recorded learnings of ways to select, evaluate and use information appropriately and effectively.

[Figure 17] – Sample of tracked students final interview responses 

[Figure 18] – Categories of student responses to Question 6 

The total group responses to Question 6 were categorised under the headings in Figure 18. I used these in preference to the CCT and ICT General Capabilities (ACARA, 2012) as many of the students responses did not relate to any of the indicators. As you can see a large percentage of the learning acquired by the students was based around fact-finding (62%). These results relate to the students interpretation of the inquiry and what they were expected to do throughout the inquiry. Next time, more intervention will be necessary to guide them through the inquiry to go beyond fact finding to draw conclusions for deeper learning (Kuhlthau et al, 2007).

  1. Steps in the Research Process – Only 2% of the responses made reference to the steps they took throughout the research process. One student expressed “How Miss Calabro helped us how we can do research”. In the future, a constant reminder to refer to the inquiry model shown and brainstorming charts may be necessary.
  2. Skills in Evaluating Information – Considering this was a major focus of the ILA, only 4% of responses is a poor representation. Some examples of these responses included, “Lots of complicated problems, information about immigration said on one website then another site would say something different. Needed to look at five different websites to find the correct information.” “Some websites don’t tell the truth. They just try to get you to buy stuff and some of them lie. You’ve got to check it with websites, look at at least two to check information.”  “Being able to use a website I can trust.” More intervention in guiding students in evaluating, sources and judging the usefulness of information.
  3. Implications of Research Process within Affective Domain – With reference to Kuhlthau’s ISP model (Kulthua et al, 2007), 6% of responses related to how the students felt throughout the inquiry. Overall, a majority of the students felt uncomfortable talking about their feelings, something they were not familiar having to express before from past learning experiences. Again, an area to give guidance in the future.
  4. Skills specific to internet search – 4% of responses made reference to searching skills, which was surprising considering this was also a major focus of the ILA. Students responded to this category in more detail in Question 4 and 5. A couple of students expressed how much an “advanced Google search” helped them with finding information.
  5. Implications of Research Process within Cognitive Domain – 8% of responses referred to asking questions, seeking answers and sharing their discoveries with others. A group of students expressed how their interest levels increased and they became more focused the deeper into the inquiry they progressed.
  6. Work Ethics – 8% of responses referred to how their attitude, behaviour, communication, interaction with others or independence changed over the duration of the inquiry as their confidence grew. Some examples include “Working with myself is easier.” “Sometimes people did cooperate good together, how they worked together and they used teamwork.”

[Figure 19] – Tracked students interview responses to improve learning in the future 

To assist me in future inquiries, I asked the tracked students, in a final interview, to pick out two of the categories in Figure 19 that would assist them next time in their learning and help them with their research. The data gathered in Figure 19 will be used as a starting point when I begin the next inquiry as well as taking into consideration students responses such as “Didn’t get much time, prefer to get more class time to come down to do it,” “Put more resources on Only 2 Clicks,” “People try to cooperate more with other people with websites they find,” “Sitting on a computer with me finding good websites” and “More time, more websites.”

How Students felt about the Research Process (Q #7) – Questionnaire 3 only

[Figure 20] – Students feelings about research

Overall, the students felt confident about their research by the end of the ILA (see Figure 20). Some were still a bit confused and would have liked some more time to gather and analyse more information.

[Figure 21] – Tracked students feelings about research

By the end of the ILA, LA students felt unhappy and confused about their research, whilst the average and high achievers felt happy and confident (see Figure 21). These results were expected. They realised that they weren’t the only ones to experience increased uncertainty and were relieved when others expressed the same feelings. They were then confident to push through to the formulation and collection stages of the ISP (Kuhlthau et al, 2007).  Figure 22 refers to this journey.

[Figure 22] – Tracked students feelings throughout the learning process

References

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (Ed.). (2012). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from The Australian Curriculum website: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Information-and-Communication-Technology-capability/Continuum

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (Ed.). (2012). Critical and creative thinking. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from The Australian Curriculum website: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Critical-and-creative-thinking/Continuum

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2012). History. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from The Australian Curriculum website: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/History/Curriculum/F-10

Kuhlthau, Carol C., Maniotes, Leslie K. and Caspari, Ann K. (2007). Guided Inquiry Learning in the 21st Century. London: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, Carol C., Heinstrom, Jannica and Todd, Ross J. (2005). School Library Impact Measure (SLIM) : A Toolkit and Handbook For Tracking and Assessing Student

Learning Outcomes Of Guided Inquiry Through the School Library. Rutgers University: Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries.

Limberg, L. (2000). Is there a Relationship Between Information Seeking and Learning Outcomes? in C. Bruce and P. Candy (Eds.), Information literacy around the world : Advances in programs and research, Wagga Wagga: CIS, Charles Sturt University, pp.193-207

Lupton, Mandy. (2012). Inquiry skills in the Australian Curriculum Access, 26 (2), 12-18.

Mead, M. (2010). Needles and Nuggets. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from The Pipe website: http://mariamead.wordpress.com

Student interviews 20-10-12 Final responses to inquiry

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Results of Data Analysis and Interpretation of Results (Questions 1-3)

Track Topic Knowledge (Q #1) – Fact, Explanation and Conclusion Statements

What the SLIM Toolkit (Kulthau et al, 2005) suggests, is to look at the responses to Question 1 “What do you know about your topic” and code the statements made into facts, explanations and conclusions. Kuhlthua et al (2007, p 128) found that two distinct patterns emerged in the analysis of student’s responses – fact finding and synthesis (interpreting to determine what the facts mean). The more explanation and conclusion statements the students make, shows the development of intellectual qualities such as deeper knowledge and deeper understandings.

Similarly, Limberg (2000) found that the objective of the student determined how they approached the inquiry project, whether they thought it was a fact-finding exercise or understood they needed to reflect on the facts and come up with some ideas of their own about the topic of inquiry (draw conclusions for deeper learning).

Overall, the majority of students developed mainly factual knowledge throughout the ILA. You would expect students to record higher knowledge statements as the inquiry progresses, but this did not happen. The students recorded more facts, explanation and conclusion statements in the second questionnaire than in the third (see Figure 1). This happened because between the middle of the ILA and the end of the ILA, the students had  a two week holiday period. They came back less interested and the motivation had declined.

[Figure 1] – Group totals of Facts, Explanation and Conclusion Statements 

[Figure 2] – Progression of recorded Fact, Explanation and Conclusion Statements in a sample of three students

Figure 2 traces a sample of students whose development of fact, explanation and conclusion statements significantly increased in the middle of the ILA, but by the end, the content became slightly less detailed and defined. The interest was still apparent but the motivation had subsided due to the holiday period between the middle and end of the ILA.

[Figure 3] – Development of tracked students explanation statements  

The intention of the ILA was to give the students the opportunity to ‘look beyond a fact-finding learning experience to begin to reflect on the facts they find and look for explanations and conclusions.’ (Kuhlthau et al, 2007 p 129). These students have clearly made connections and linked the facts as the number of explanation statements have significantly increased from the first survey to the last. Here is an example of a student explanation statement taken from the interview conducted at the end of the ILA.

“Immigration is when someone moves from their country because of war, poverty, natural disaster and other stuff and they move to a country to find freedom and stuff. You need lots of documents to move and if you move illegally you have to go back to your country and stuff.”

[Figure 4] – Development of tracked students conclusion statements  

Similarly, in identifying the students who reflected on facts found and were able to draw conclusions, only two students demonstrated this ability (see Figure 4). Yet even then, it wasn’t until the final questionnaire that one of the students recorded a conclusion statement. Kuhlthau et al (2007, p 129) found that the students with the most explanation and conclusion statements in their responses showed stronger positive emotions at the projects’ completion when compared with students with more of a fact-finding pattern. Consistent with these findings, the tracked students interest remained high from the beginning to the end of the ILA. Here is an example of a student conclusion statement taken from the interview conducted at the end of the ILA.

“Immigration is about people coming to Australia and that there has been a heap more than there should be. It is not good for our country because that’s how people get violent.”

[Figure 5] Question 1 group totals

[Figure 6] Percentage of Question 1 group totals – Survey 1, 2 and 3

Figure 5 articulates what students knew about the topic based on data gathered from all three surveys.  Across the group, unlike what Kuhlthau et al (2007) observed, factual statements were highest in the middle of the ILA rather than at the completion of the ILA, although explanation statements were consistent with the patterns observed by Kuhlthau et al (2007). Conclusion statements were also highest in the middle stages of the ILA after none were recorded at the beginning. Figure 5 also shows that some students considered that having knowledge about the topic, was rewording the original scenario. Figure 6 shows that by the end of the ILA, very few students knew nothing about the topic. Overall, the results from the data gathered are positive after taking into consideration that the sample group consisted of two classes of a total of fifty students.

[Figure 7] – Sample of SLIM student questionnaires

Students Level of Interest (Q #2)

[Figure 8] – Group interest in topic

[Figure 9] Percentage of group interest in topic – Survey 1, 2 and 3

Kuhlthau et al (2007, p 8) says motivation and interest are key elements in inquiry learning. Overall the interest in the topic was quite high and increased throughout the ILA (see Figure 8), which Kuhlthau (2007, p 18) explains is a ‘common occurrence for student’s beyond the formulation stage in the ISP. As they become more engaged and interested, they construct their own understandings. Active engagement is an essential requirement for ‘deep, lasting learning’.

[Figure 10] – Tracked students interest in the topic

Amongst the tracked students, the high achievers continually showed a higher interest in the topic (see Figure 10). One in particular, responded in the interview by saying “At the beginning I thought I was going to succeed really well because I knew a lot about immigration” and this interest and motivation continued throughout the ILA.

Students perceived level of topic knowledge (Q #3)

[Figure 11] – Group perceived level of topic knowledge

[Figure 12] – Percentage of group perceived level of topic knowledge – Survey 1,2 and 3

Students perceived level of topic knowledge generally increased over the duration of the ILA due to growing confidence and a sense of achievement (see Figure 11). The students whose level of topic knowledge decreased over time, acknowledged that they had difficulty accessing information. By the conclusion of the ILA, only one student admitted to knowing nothing (a significant decrease from 29.7% of the group at the beginning).

[Figure 13] – Tracked students perceived level of topic knowledge

Looking at the data in Figure 13, it appears that the average to high achievers can be more critical of themselves, resulting in more conservative responses. Kuhlthau et al (2007, p 140) acknowledges that student’s feelings have an equally significant impact on their approach to inquiry as their thoughts and their actions.

References

Kuhlthau, Carol C., Maniotes, Leslie K. and Caspari, Ann K. (2007). Guided Inquiry Learning in the 21st Century. London: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, Carol C., Heinstrom, Jannica and Todd, Ross J. (2005). School Library Impact Measure (SLIM) : A Toolkit and Handbook For Tracking and Assessing Student Learning Outcomes Of Guided Inquiry Through the School Library. Rutgers University: Centre for International Scholarship in School Libraries.

Limberg, L. (2000). Is there a Relationship Between Information Seeking and Learning Outcomes? in C. Bruce and P. Candy (Eds.), Information literacy around the world : Advances in programs and research, Wagga Wagga: CIS, Charles Sturt University, pp.193-207

Mead, M. (2010). Needles and Nuggets. Retrieved November 6, 2012, from The Pipe website: http://mariamead.wordpress.com

Student interviews 20-10-12 Final responses to inquiry

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment