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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