Project management and inquiry learning


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ASLA XXIII Biennial Conference - Lyn Hay - Project management is an essential life skill for 21st century learners. This session is based on the findings of a research study which explored students' use of Web 2.0 technologies to support the completion of an inquiry-based project. The study found students lacked project management skills as part of the inquiry learning process. Participants will be presented with a range of strategies and examples of how project management may be made more explicit when designing inquiry-based learning units.

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Project management and inquiry learning

  1. 1. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Project management & inquiry learning The missing link? LYN HAY Lecturer in Teacher Librarianship
  2. 2. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Impact of Web 2.0 technologies on school libraries – shift from Library 1.0 to Library 2.0 Need for TL profession to value greater emphasis on their teaching role in Australian schools Inquiry learning in the curriculum as TL’s primary focus, not the teaching of an information literacy program Building local evidence to document school library impact – Lee Fitzgerald, Jenny Scheffers & Alinda Sheerman as TL leaders Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL)’s School Library Impact Measure (SLIM) survey toolkit (Todd, Kuhlthau & Heinström, 2005) Guided inquiry as an instructional framework to support inquiry learning tasks in schools (Kuhlthau, Caspari & Maniotes, 2007) Background
  3. 3. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES students often have difficulty choosing their own inquiry question (Kuhlthau, 1993; Fitzgerald, 2007) need to invest considerable time in building background knowledge before committing to a topic focus and require considerable scaffolding to articulate this as a inquiry or research question (Kuhlthau, 1993, 2004; Gordon, 1999) students often resort to a “false focus” when undertaking open-ended assignments due to time pressures (Tanni & Sormunen, 2008) time management is a critical factor in students’ inquiry experiences (Kuhlthau, 2004; Zach, 2005; Savolainen, 2006 Managing inquiry: The research
  4. 4. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES students find formal instruction on strategies using library resources and systems, project organisation, and time management very useful when undertaking inquiry (Gordon, 1999) students often find the amount of time given to inquiry project work during school hours is not sufficient (Gordon, 1999) students’ authentic learning experiences can be shaped by people other than the teaching team, particularly when opportunities to complete inquiry projects in school time is limited (Tallman, 1998; Gordon, 1999) Managing inquiry: The research
  5. 5. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES a student’s fear of failure and poor time management skills can influence their information retrieval behaviour (Ford, Miller, & Moss, 2003) lack of time can lead to students copying and pasting large slabs of text (McGregor, & Streitenberger, 1998; Todd, 1998; Klein, 2011; Williamson, & McGregor, 2011) student blogs a useful tool in monitoring students’ abilities to critically evaluate print and web resources when much of students’ inquiry work occurred outside class time (Francke, Sundin & Limberg, 2011) within the context of inquiry learning & information seeking research, little mention of project management as part of the student experience (Hay, 2012) Managing inquiry: The research
  6. 6. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Learning & innovation skills Information, media & technology skills Life and career skills
  7. 7. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Life & career skills Flexibility & adaptability adapt to varied roles/job responsibilities/schedules/ contexts, understand, negotiate, balance diverse views/beliefs, find workable solutions Initiative & self-direction manage goals/time, work independently, be self-directed learners, go beyond basic mastery, reflect critically on past experiences to inform future progress Social & cross-cultural interaction know when to listen/when to speak, be respectful interacting with others, work effectively in diverse teams, be open-minded to different ideas/values, leverage social/cultural difference to create new ideas, innovate& improve quality of own/groups’ work (Trilling & Fadel ,2009)
  8. 8. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Productivity & accountability manage projects, set/meet goals, deal with obstacles/pressures, prioritise/plan/manage to achieve intended result, produce results through multitasking, managing time effectively, respect/appreciate team diversity Leadership & responsibility project-based, studio model of work more prevalent now, guide & lead others, use interpersonal/problem-solving skills to influence/guide others towards a goal, inspire other to accomplish, lead by example, selflessness, acting responsibly with interests of larger community in mind Life & career skills (Trilling & Fadel ,2009)
  9. 9. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES School libraries’ use of Web 2.0 technologies to support inquiry learning What does this look like?
  10. 10. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES View learning as a process of personal construction, in two ways: as a personal, individual construction of one’s reality Kelly’s personal construct theory (1963); Kuhlthau’s (1993) information seeking behaviour as a social, shared construction of knowing and understanding (reality) as a result of individuals working together Berger & Luckman’s (1967) social construction theory; Vygotsky’s (1978) zone of proximal development; Kuhlthau’s (1993) zone of intervention Interpretivist-constructivist framework
  11. 11. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Mixed methods approach employing ethnographic techniques provides ways of describing what actually happens in a social context or within a specific phenomenon, esp. new or emerging useful when a context or phenomenon has not been formally or fully explored in empirical research helps describe or capture what happens in the field: how the people involved view and interpret their own actions and experiences, along with the actions of those with whom they interact provides vehicle for documenting student ‘stories’ which allows the representation of ‘student voice’
  12. 12. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Sample & context Year 10 Global Studies class – 12 students, 1 classroom teacher and 1 TL – large independent school in Sydney school library staff consisted of a team of TLs assigned to work with teaching teams of specific KLA/grade levels Global Studies (Yr 9-10 elective) – students undergo interview process for subject selection due ‘independent learning’ demands of the curriculum TL introduced students to using a wiki to support Term 2 group project Term 3 Personal Interest Project (PIP) unit was redesigned to trial a guided inquiry approach; students were required to explore an international issue of their choice; students could use a wiki, blog and to support their project
  13. 13. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Data collected Student questionnaire – demographic data and approaches to studying (Entwistle & Tait, 1997; Heinström, 2006) Semi-structured interviews : teacher and TL at commencement and completion of student project; students at completion of PIP Observation: activity on blog, wiki and social bookmarking spaces (online); activity in face-to-face class time; students’ final oral presentations Fieldnotes for both online and face-to-face observation of student, teacher and TL activities and communication Review of documentation including assignment guidelines and handouts, students’ learning logs and Web 2.0 spaces, final project reports and artefacts Collection of questions/responses emailed between student-teacher- TL
  14. 14. FINDINGS Time issues & impacts
  15. 15. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Estimated time to complete school assignments In Class time In school library At home Out of Class time student01 20 5 75 80 student02 20 10 70 80 student03 30 10 60 70 student04 25 5 70 75 student05 20 5 75 80 *student06 25 10 65 75 student07 30 0 70 70 *student08 15 65 20 85 *student09 40 20 40 60 student10 30 0 70 70 student011 15 5 80 85 student012 # # # #
  16. 16. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Time invested across study locations up to 60-85% of the time students were working on assignments occurred without face-to-face teacher supervision or instructional intervention with only 5-20% of assignment time occurring in the school library even smaller margin of opportunity for TL to provide face-to-face instructional support for these students’ assignment work
  17. 17. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Problems & frustrations Problem/frustration No. of students Time 7 Finding information 5 Motivation 4 Assignment design 4 Topic selection 3
  18. 18. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Time-related issues being able to manage one’s time throughout an assignment - “how to manage my time”, “leaving it the end”, “leaving everything to the last week or so”, “My lack of enthusiasm when time-managing or planning to do work” frustration with time in terms of the due dates, requiring more time than allowed the amount of time it takes to work on an assignment - “they waste time”, “they can take a while to get a good topic and get started”
  19. 19. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Learning style approaches (Entwistle, 2005)
  20. 20. L E A R N I N G S T Y L E R E S U L T S
  21. 21. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Criteria determining technology use Accessibility Ease of use Familiarity Return on investment (ROI) “Convenience” (combination of some or all of the above) Utility Time Experience Previous Successful Regular
  22. 22. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Time impacts on technology use time pressures used as a reason for using, or not using, a particular technology lack of time to invest in exploring how to use a new technology while coping with other demands of the inquiry project “I knew how to use it. … When we did the wiki before we had to spend a fair amount of time just learning how to use it. And so I didn’t really want to do that again with the blog.”
  23. 23. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Time impacts on technology use some students viewed the wiki as a time- saving technology – efficiencies gained when used as a central repository, readily accessible at school/at home “I had trouble defining my topic ... I wanted to research more… So by copying and pasting it into the wiki it was always there and I could get it from home too. Like, I didn’t have to look the site up again, you know.”
  24. 24. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Time influences what students value in terms of ROI the productivity and rewards components regarding a technology’s utility were highly valued by students a desire to gain a ‘return’ on their ‘investment’ of time, energy and cognitive load , esp. ‘time- pressured students’ “I didn’t want to have to spend … a lesson going through setting it up, and trying to make myself familiar with it.”
  25. 25. Findings: Project management
  26. 26. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Managing inquiry projects Majority of students reflected they “weren’t very good at managing their project” 10 students specifically referred to time management issues as being problematic or of concern to them as inquirers “I’m not an organised person” “I’ve got distracted and lost track of what I’m meant to be doing” “I could have been a lot better” “I’m the most ludicrously disorganised person ever”
  27. 27. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Blaming it on time I think I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what I wanted to do. If I had known what I was doing from the start, then I would have been good. I have really dodgy time management skills. This has taught me, I really need to sort of work on that. I found that I was falling behind, because like, creating my question, I spent too much time with that. That put me behind a lot.
  28. 28. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Blaming it on motivation I have a short, short attention span for that kind of thing. I’d prefer to put everything into a project for like a week and then move on with something else, because I don’t have that kind of “I’ll do this this lesson and that that lesson. I am the sort of person who really needs like, the pressure of time to motivate me to do something, so a really long project like this was really difficult for me because I sort of left it a bit to the last minute, because I need to know that like, it’s due in like tomorrow or something, right I’ve got to do it, and I only focus when that sort of happens. I leave it to the end, but I always finish it, but I need that stress to finish and do my best.
  29. 29. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Is it a project management problem? some students did not see this persistent behaviour as something that could be ‘fixed’ or improved on students were quite fatalistic about the problems they faced when trying to juggle all the different aspects of the inquiry project and the time demands and shortfalls receiving a ‘good mark’ resulted in lack of motivation to change the way they “do things” “I got it done, and it was fine, and it was good, like what I passed up was quite good quality, so it doesn’t really matter I guess.”
  30. 30. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Problem areas in project management too long to decide on a topic and finalising a specific research question not having tracked the bibliographic details for sources getting easily distracted during class time, surfing the Web on topics not related to their inquiry missing class due to illness, excursions – no catch up plan building in adequate time for data collection & analysis lack of discipline in ‘closing’ tasks to move onto next phase of the project not leaving enough time for the writing up phase
  31. 31. Functionality of Web 2.0 technologies information collection & ‘repository’ function communication function project management function data collection & analysis function knowledge construction function publishing function self-reflection function
  32. 32. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Project management 2.0 timestamping feature of Web 2.0 tools helps tracking of student progress, record of conversation, evidence of intervention wiki’s history feature also provides detailed monitoring of student progress, captures different types of information and knowledge construction activities undertaken wiki as central repository of project artefacts, journal entries & reflection sheets, progress reports, etc – students believed the use of the wiki had made them more efficient and effective in managing their project Delicious (social bookmarking) useful for collecting, organising sources & record of bibliographic details
  33. 33. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Project management 2.0 being able to access the wiki from a number of computers was viewed by students as contributing to the management of their project and being more efficient while at home, school, on holidays wiki assisted those ‘task-oriented’, organised students with managing their tasks and time, timestamping & history features used to estimate time allocation per task - helped “manage their projects better” wiki afforded efficiencies in terms of not having to manage version control between school and home PCs while working on wiki page ‘edits’ web calendar plug-in to wiki as time planning, tracking and reflection tool
  34. 34. Project management tools
  35. 35.
  36. 36.
  37. 37. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Online survey tools can save heaps of time!
  38. 38. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES “Web 2.0 technologies provide a platform for teachers and TLs to monitor students’ management of the project process during class and out of class time No matter what technologies may be available to support a student’s management of their project, a carefully planned timeline of phases and tasks needs to be developed to ensure those aspects that require a significant investment of time are considered and planned. In other words, project management needs to be explicitly taught as an aspect of the inquiry process to enhance student success.” Conclusion (Hay, 2012)
  39. 39. when inquiry goes digital OPPORTUNITIES
  40. 40. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES General capabilities
  41. 41. PM in Technology curriculum
  42. 42. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Some links in Technology area PM & literacy - they learn how to communicate ideas, concepts and detailed proposals to a variety of audiences; recognising how language can be used to manipulate meaning; reading and interpreting detailed written instructions; writing project outlines, briefs, concept and project management proposals, evaluations, reports; listening, talking and discussing are critical in design thinking – in particular, articulating, questioning and evaluating ideas PM & Personal and social capability - involvement in project management will provide rich opportunities to develop students’ capacity for self-management; directing their own learning and in planning and carrying out investigations; enable them to become independent learners who can apply technologies understanding and skills to decisions they will have to make in the future; risk taking and resilience as students work with the uncertainty of sharing new ideas
  43. 43. SCHOOL OF INFORMATION STUDIES Missing link? Missed opportunities Elements of inquiry learning – knowledge, skills, process - are integrated throughout all learning areas in some way Project management is articulated only in subjects within the Technology learning area Links between PM are made to ICT capability and aspects of some other general capabilities Ignores the overlaps and potential relationship between inquiry and PM – needs to be made explicit This does not encourage application, integration or transference of PM knowledge & skills across the curriculum TLs can play a role in making these links explicit