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The Plato Program is an innovative and dynamic subject that was introduced to explore "learning how to learn" in Year 7.

The Plato Program is an innovative and dynamic subject that was introduced to explore "learning how to learn" in Year 7.

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  • 1. The Plato Program John Stanton BA (Syd) GradDipAppSci(Information) (UTS) GradDipBM (ACT) GradDipEd(Secondary) (CSU) AALIA Head of Library Services William Clarke College Sydney, Australia Diversity Challenge Resilience: School Libraries in Action - The 12th Biennial School Library Association of Queensland, the 39th International Association of School Librarianship Annual Conference, incorporating the 14th International Forum on Research in School Librarianship, Brisbane, QLD Australia, 27 September – 1 October 2010.
  • 2. William Clarke College Established 1989 Kindergarten to Year 12 Independent Anglican College Kindergarten to Year 4 established 2007 1400 students Located in Kellyville, an outer suburb of Sydney
  • 3. William Clarke College Library Kindergarten to Year 12 Library Physically located in the centre of the school 1 full-time teacher librarian and 1 part- time teacher librarian; 4 part-time library assistants Collection of about 60,000 items
  • 4. Introduce learning styles One semester-long to students using subject For Year 7 Gardiner’s Multiple students Intelligences THE GENESIS OF THE PLATO PROGRAM Create a regularly timetabled subject using half-sized classes (about 15 students)
  • 5. Introduce critical thinking skills Introduce learning styles One semester-long to students using subject For Year 7 Gardiner’s Multiple students Intelligences Learning about learning Lots of discussion at College-wide level THE GENESIS OF THE Use the Bloom’s about curriculum Taxonomy / differentiation PLATO Gardiner’s MI matrix PROGRAM as the basis for a learning task (the Two components: Project) 1. A series of lessons using games and other Create a regularly activities to explore all timetabled subject using Gardiner’s Intelligences half-sized classes (about 15 students) 2. A Major Project
  • 6. Plato Program Version 1
  • 7. THE PLATO The ‘Choose your own adventure’ Project: a Gardiner’s / Bloom’s PROJECT: matrix with 48 general questions VERSION 1 which could be tailored to any topic. Students chose their own topic.
  • 8. Plato Project matrix Remember Understand Apply Analyse Create Evaluate Visual Task Task Verbal Task Task Logical Musical Intrapersonal Interpersonal Naturalist Kinaesthetic
  • 9. THE PLATO The ‘Choose your own adventure’ Project: a Gardiner’s / Bloom’s PROJECT: matrix with 48 general questions VERSION 1 which could be tailored to any topic. Students chose their own topic. Positives: Students highly motivated & interested Negatives: Students did not engage deeply with thinking or learning processes; Predominately low-quality work produced; Not every topic neatly fitted the generic questions
  • 10. Plato Program Version 2
  • 11. The ‘Teacher-selected topic’ Project: a Gardiner’s / Bloom’s matrix with THE PLATO 48 questions applied to a pre- determined topic. PROJECT: VERSION 2 We trialled: Body image and the media; Consumerism; World Heritage Areas Positives: Higher quality work produced, with deeper thinking; more challenging Negatives: Topics not necessarily connected to lifelong learning skills, or to other curriculum areas; Teachers got sick of the topics
  • 12. Information skills Information skills lessons (or Library skills “embedded” in most lessons) non-existent syllabuses (this is code for: we think it might be important but we don’t Teachers of Senior know what to do with it) students (Years 11 & 12) lamenting the Lack of student students’ lack of MY GENERAL knowledge about scope research skills and use of subscription OBSERVATIONS databases available So many ‘information skills’ to be taught, yet Student inability to no scope and sequence successfully use the library catalogue, and Lack of opportunity to Lack of student ability to transit from the OPAC to get into the timetable – critically appraise the shelves either “library lessons” information for reliability or collaboratively or accuracy
  • 13. Plato Program Version 3
  • 14. Light bulb moment… Devise a Project using the Gardiner’s / Bloom’s matrix with INFORMATION SKILLS The focus is on the as the core topic. process, not the product The focus is on the THE RESEARCH ESSENTIAL & INFORMATION QUESTIONS of SKILLS Information skills PROJECT The matrix contains mandated tasks as well Students explore as free-choice tasks. research itself in a Students have direction, meta-cognitive way but also control over their learning
  • 15. THE PLATO The ‘Information Skills topic’ Project: a Gardiner’s / Bloom’s matrix with PROJECT: 48 questions applied to library and VERSION 3 information skills. Positives: Focus on Information Skills; Students exploring the Research Process itself, not just “doing research”; Higher quality work produced, with deeper thinking; more challenging; mandated compulsory tasks + optional tasks Negatives: Abstract topic led to tasks which were too difficult for Year 7 students; too much complexity; not all topics were well chosen for the tasks
  • 16. Plato Program Version 4
  • 17. THE PLATO The ‘Information Skills topic’ Project: a Gardiner’s / Bloom’s matrix with PROJECT: 48 questions applied to library and VERSION 4 information skills. Positives: Introduced ‘big ideas’ as a focus for tasks; use of ICT to deliver some content; students explore electronic resources; use of Koechlin & Zwaan’s Infoskills outcomes; Negatives: Some tasks still too difficult for Year 7 students; too much ambiguity with instructions for each task; no logical sequence for tasks
  • 18. Plato Project online delivery All information and links are provided Links to online information sources
  • 19. Plato Program Version 5
  • 20. THE PLATO The ‘Addis Ababa’ Project: a library and information skills course for PROJECT: Grades 6-8 in a third world context. VERSION 5 Positives: Forced me to consider how much of the content could be taught in a technologically poor environment; course spanned over 3 years – more time to explore ideas in depth Negatives: Infrastructure failure (power and internet); development of the course simultaneous to teaching it
  • 21. Plato Program Version 6
  • 22. THE PLATO The current version of the Project: a Gardiner’s / Bloom’s matrix with 48 PROJECT: questions applied to library and VERSION 6 information skills. Positives: Clear pathway through the project tasks; step- by-step instructions for each task; checklists for ‘what to hand in’; online submission of work; simplified content Negatives: Possibly still too many tasks
  • 23. Plato Program Version 7 (2011+)
  • 24. THE PLATO New features: PROJECT: Matrix combining Bloom’s Taxonomy with the 6 step Information Process (NSW Dept of VERSION 7 Education) Reduced number of tasks (36 instead of 48) Logical sequence to the project more obvious Explicit teaching of main tasks in class Incorporation of Visible Thinking Routines (from Project Zero, Harvard University) A collaboration project will commence in Term 4, 2010 with the Head of History to begin looking at how Information Skills can be embedded and taught in the History curriculum for Years 8-10.
  • 25. The Current Version Unpacking the details
  • 26. 48 tasks in total Each task is awarded Bloom’s / Gardiner’s points, from 1 point matrix Each task has at (easy) to 6 points least one ‘big idea’ (difficult) or Essential Compulsory tasks span Question all Intelligences / Students must complete Learning styles 45 points worth of tasks: THE PROJECT Compulsory tasks = 33 The entire project, ITSELF points including the matrix, graphic organisers, Free-choice tasks = 12 specific web links, points YouTube links etc. are all available through Students explore 7 information Moodle on the sources: Google, Wikipedia, ANZRC, intranet MacquarieNet, World Book Web, Newsbank and the library catalogue (Oliver)
  • 27. What are ‘big ideas’ or Essential Questions? – Essential Questions can be expressed by asking: “When a student leaves the school, what are the fundamental things (knowledge, skills etc.) that they need to have learned from your subject?” – They originate from research done by McTighe and Wiggins in ‘Understanding by design’
  • 28. How do I make a How do I identify bibliography? keywords to make a search strategy? What is Boolean logic, and how can I use it? What is the research process? How can I assess the THE “BIG accuracy and reliability What is a database? IDEAS” or of a website? ESSENTIAL What is research? QUESTIONS What are truncation and proximity searches, and How can I find print how can I use them? information using the library catalogue? Subscription databases vs. Google, Wikipedia What are skimming and etc. scanning?
  • 29. Student-directed Essential Questions / learning with support Big Ideas Opportunity for a lot of 1-on-1 mentoring of Koechlin & Zwaan’s students InfoSkills THE Scalable for different Student choice in PEDAGOGICAL learning needs learning FRAMEWORK Use of ICT as a central David Loertscher’s Ban learning tool, not as a the Bird Units gimmick Explicit teaching supported by self-paced discovery High expectations of through the use of online students games, resources etc.
  • 30. The Information Process
  • 31. Plato Project matrix Bloom’s Taxonomy Optional tasks in white Compulsory tasks in yellow Gardiner’s Multiple Intelligences
  • 32. Most tasks require students to learn about Each task contains four a skill, then to be able to components: apply or use it The use of YouTube clips demonstrating 1. The Essential information skills Question 2. Instructions about what to do THE PROJECT The use of online ITSELF games to teach 3. A list of ‘What you need to hand in’ information skills 4. A reference to one or more of Koechlin The use of pre-existing Most tasks have one to and Zwaan’s online resources to three pre-set topics to ‘Infoskills’ engage students, and to choose from to give not reinvent everything: students an example to e.g. rubrics for use when searching analysing websites; WebQuests, Boolify etc.
  • 33. Plato Project matrix Task grid reference Previous task grid reference ‘Big idea’ question Step-by-step instructions Checklist of what to hand Navigation to in optional tasks Next main task grid Infoskills reference outcomes
  • 34. Moodle Macquarie Newsbank Net Online course delivery ANZRC Focus on electronic (Ebsco) information sources Resources All links available in provided Wikipedia different World Book Google formats (e.g. THE USE OF Web Word, pdf) TECHNOLOGY Oliver Kathy (ICTs) (Library Schrock’s catalogue) website evaluation YouTube guides BBC Learning Use of existing Online submission of online resources from the responses games internet Webquests CILIP resources
  • 35. How can you assess How do you use the accuracy and How can you find keywords to reliability of internet print information? identify search sources? terms? How do you use skimming and What is Boolean Logic? scanning to extract PROJECT information? SEQUENCE What are How useful and How do you make databases and reliable is Wikipedia? a bibliography? search engines? Mini-project What is research? What is the How do you use Research Process? What have I What is an online different information learned? reference database? sources effectively?
  • 36. Identifying How do you use keywords in a keywords to text identify search terms? Using keywords in Google: why some results are ‘good’ and others are not Identifying keywords around a PROJECT topic SEQUENCE Building background What are Types of knowledge databases and information Six step search engines? found in each information process Similarities & Usefulness of What is research? differences each What is the Internet vs. databases: Research Process? positives & negatives; What is an online similarities & reference database? differences
  • 37. Website How can you assess Transitioning evaluation the accuracy and from screen How can you find tools reliability of internet to shelf print information? sources? Genuine vs. Interpreting Using the Critical thinking hoax information library skills websites catalogue PROJECT Identifying SEQUENCE the parts of Using a the library variety of sources for Comparing similar information information from different sources How do you use Identifying different information keywords in a sources effectively? text
  • 38. Gathering AND information Selecting OR Using them information NOT to obtain better results How do you use skimming and What is Boolean Logic? scanning to extract PROJECT information? Bracketed SEQUENCE searches How useful and Positives & reliable is Wikipedia? negatives Authority Accuracy
  • 39. PROJECT SEQUENCE Avoiding plagiarism How do you make APA a bibliography? Referencing standards Applying all Mini-project Reflection the information skills What have I Evaluation Feedback for learned? me
  • 40. Increased competence in the use of online resources, including Students using Increased awareness of Google expected referencing online databases standards available at school Students have greater TOTAL student confidence in their OBSERVED engagement over 10 ability to use information OUTCOMES weeks technology (SO FAR) Students able to use the Students able to think library catalogue critically about the websites they encounter Students know what clues to look for when Students demonstrating assessing websites a clearer understanding of their own learning styles
  • 41. The future vision
  • 42. I envision the Project will be Include links to reconfigured so that it will NSW Education contribute to students’ lifelong learning development Expansion to syllabus incorporate other outcomes & information skills National outcomes THE FUTURE VISION Information and Study Skills Research Skills Another option is to One option is to incorporate expand Plato Project to Information Skills into the include a Study Skills Years 8-10 History curriculum. component for Years 10-12 Develop a Years 7-10 learning continuum
  • 43. Plato Project Blog http://platoproject.wordpress.com/