Our plan from last session – first two covered. Second section touched on.
Where we are going today. Intend to discuss some resources, and then to try to situate the discussion on the big picture.
There is a vast literature on inquiry and research, and I am sure that each of you has your own resources. We will share some today, and use them in discussion and sharing.
This is an interesting web site – not PLUS per se, but the same concept, and interesting links. However it was very slow when I was investigating it, but that could have been a network problem.
As I have been preparing for this PD, it also has “jest growed”. It started off being a fairly straightforward discussion of the PLUS Information Search Process, but as I thought about it in terms of where we are at QA, and what is required in all Units of Inquiry, as well as the skills our students need to equip them for senior school and beyond, I realised that to have an inquiry process which would only be used in the library or for research was very short sighted, and would be doomed to remaining in the library, and not being used much at all.
As I thought about inquiry and research at QA, I realised that what I believe in is an amalgamation of all of these areas, which I have called the Topsy Factor.
At about the same time I came across this research which was published by the International Association of School Libraries. The research was conducted with Grade 4 students, and was looking at the role of general studies teachers, Chinese language teachers, IT and library specialists. However of particular interest to us at this moment is what the research reveals about the development of research skills through inquiry-based learning.
There is a strong tie-in to what we saw in the Topsy Factor – These areas are all interlinked.
Here we have the role of technology in inquiry based learning.
Now we need to bring together all the threads, so that we are not looking at inquiry, learning, research, curriculum content all as different areas to be “added on” to the daily classroom routine, but as one integrated approach.
We looked last time at the cyclical nature of PLUS, which is perhaps even more vital when we look at the wider picture. At any stage, it may be necessary to return to a previous stage in order to clarify, expand or inquire more deeply.
PLUS lends itself to the Inquiry Cycle where again the emphasis is on its being a cyclical process. It can also be seen how vital the Preparation and Planning aspects are.
The PYP Resource Book 2007-2008 contains several examples of Inquiry Cycles.
Beth Gourley of Tianjin, China worked on this PYP inquiry cycle, and created something very close to PLUS. It is difficult to read on the screen, so I have printed copies for everyone. The addition of PLUS is mine.
Another Inquiry Cycle taken from the PYP handbook.
We have seen the close connection with the PYP Inquiry Cycle, and PLUS is an information search process. We now see how all the other elements of where we are going at QA fall into place, and we see that PLUS can be the vehicle for them all – not an added extra.
The P is usually thought of as being the student’s preparation and planning, but in fact it is also the team’s preparation and planning. What the students do cannot be separated from what they are asked to do. A structure, with scaffolding for the student throughout the process (PLUS) is important, BUT it will only be successful if the task is set up in a motivating, meaningful way, and if the student has a clear understanding of the expectations of the teacher. The rubric that will be used for assessment should be part of the initial setting up of the research.
Cognitive skills in identifying the topic and existing knowledge of the topic - What exactly is my topic about? What do I already know about this topic? Thinking skills such as brainstorming or concept mapping -What can I learn from other students about this topic? How might I draw a picture or concept map of what this topic is about? Skills in forming questions What are the questions I want to ask about this topic? If this stage is not adequately addressed, it will become apparent in the Location or Use stage, and the student will find that he needs to return to P.
We are looking at the whole of the PLUS cycle. In practice, we would take one skill at a time and focus on it.
There are various stages of the USE area – first of all, having located the information, the students will need to use it at the basic level of reading and understanding it, deciding how it should be recorded, how much needs to be recorded, the source will have to be noted. Another stage will be a decision on the final product and how the information will be presented. Sometimes this is prescribed, but more often there is a choice involved. There is another set of skills involved in actually presenting the information.
Most of these questions are closed, and would need to be fleshed out so that the student has to think about the answer, and have meaningful reflection.
From a 21st century learning perspective, this is what we looked at in the last session. This was prepared by the New York Library Association, in which they have looked at both the AASL document – Standards for the 21st century, and the new ISTE student standards. As we use the PLUS Inquiry/Search Process, with the deep questioning, the reflection, the collaboration, the recording of sources, the building of the fences, the excitement of learning……..we will be satisfying these standards.
This model clearly shows what was once a typical information literacy model. This would have been typical of a librarian teaching “Information Literacy” divorced from the classroom. The PLUS model HAS to be a cyclical model, with the emphasis on USE. In the model here – the transportation of text, there is no emphasis at all on the use, as it appears in PLUS. From location, it moves directly to presentation. This model could be used as a library activity, but there is no real inquiry in it. PLUS can be used in the classroom for any inquiry based activity, the library can assist, but it would be impossible to present it successfully as a purely library based activity.
The model has now been transformed into something very different – something which can be used with any form of inquiry, or knowledge creation.
We are accustomed to using the term, Information Literacy. More usual now is the term Information Fluency. This slide draws together the areas in which Information Fluency covers, and underlines the reason why we cannot make divisions between what goes on in the classsroom, with technology in IT and in the library. Basic literacy has to include all the other literacies, and this is where PLUS , inquiry and research all come in.
The point that the library as a stand alone aspect of school life is a very poor relation to what it could be is reiterated here. In the inquiry process, 5 kinds of learning need to take place. The TIFS, the ESL teachers and the librarians are all available to help in a seamless learning process.
To be used successfully in the primary school, the PLUS process needs to be couched in simple language. Documents need to be readily available – documents for teacher reference, and documents for student support and scaffolding. These will need to be tailored for each specific unit of inquiry, but the basis needs to be easily accessible. Teachers also need to know what skills their students need to master, and what skills they can expect from students entering their grade, so specific details per grade need to be thrashed out. Most important of all, is there a place for the librarians and TIFs to be involved? This is what we need to discuss. The handouts include information about PLUS, and the research process, information about inquiry and examples of some helpful scaffolding documents.
Welcome – the second session! Nerine Chalmers BA, Grad CE, M of Ed. (TL)
Blurb for the PD series: Helping students improve their research skills: good questioning skills; using the PLUS search process; students searching on the internet.
Research done in Hong Kong (2008) into the development of research skills through inquiry-based learning: Review of the literature suggests that the implementation of an IBL approach in schools includes the following seven key components: 1. Students are provided with rich information sources (Alloway et al., 1997; Jakes, Pennington, & Knodle, 2002); 2. Students are equipped with information literacy skills (Alloway et al.; Harada, 2002; Kuhlthau, 2003);
Review of the literature (continued): 3. A climate of inquiry is created in the classroom (Alloway et al.; Hakkarainen, Lipponen, Jarvela, & Niemivirta, 1999); 4. Scaffolding support is provided to students in developing driving questions (Alloway et al.; Harada & Yoshina, 2004a; Jakes et al.; McKenzie, 1997); 5. Students go through an information-seeking process (Harada; Kuhlthau); 6. Students develop their own research process (Harada; Kuhlthau); 7. Students learn to present their findings (Alloway; Jakes et al.).
Review of the literature (continued): Owens, Hester, and Teale (2002) reported on the use of technology to support Inquiry Based Learning programs for 7-15-year-old urban students. They suggested that technology:
enhances cognition, particularly in areas of reading and writing.
technology can serve as a ground for students’ active construction of knowledge, rather than as tutor and communicator of information
Furthermore, access to technology makes schools seem more real-world, and students are able to push the boundaries of their traditional school curriculum.
PLUS Preparation/Planning Location Use Self-evaluation
Stage 1: Tuning in P Inquiry Cycle Stage 7: TakingAction Stage 2: Preparing to find out Stage 6: Making Connection L Inquiry is “Doing” and can come from anything. Inquiry stems from the known and is provoked by authentic experiences. Authentic life experience is fundamental to true inquiry Stage 3: Finding out S U Stage 4: Sorting out Stage 5: Going Further
P Connection Invitation P P Inquiry Cycle Wondering Action Investigation S Evaluation L Inquiry is “Doing” and can come from anything. Inquiry stems from the known and is provoked by authentic experiences. Authentic life experience is fundamental to true inquiry Representation Demonstration U S Reflection
PLUS (Incorporating the Topsy Factor) Preparation/Planning (The importance of meaningful questioning; the inquiry itself) Location and Use (Information Literacy; the role of technology; the 21st century learner) Self-evaluation (Where the inquiry will lead – Action; further questioning)
P - Preparation/Planning For the teacher: Doug Johnson’s 4A’s of Great Research: Assignments that matter Activities that Involve Assessments that Help Attitude is Everything
P- Preparation/Planning For the student: NB the need for prior knowledge. Students will not have a successful inquiry if they have no grounding. Brainstorming - What exactly is my topic about? What do I already know about this topic? Identifying an information need. Learning to frame realistic research questions. Planning a piece of research using diagrams or headings. Identifying keywords.
Questioning Jamie McKenzie talks about building answers as opposed to gathering. For him the qualities of a serial questioner are, among others: Humility, relentless curiosity, indefatigable persistence, dogged determination, open-mindedness, tolerance of ambiguity, thirst for the missing, wit, vivid imagination. Sense of wonder, curiosity, wish to understand.
Essential Questions – Fact finding or deep understanding? Are we thinkers or collectors?
Deal with matters of importance
Must lead to some challenge or action – move beyond understanding and studying
Scaffolding Provides clear directions Clarifies purpose Breaks down complex tasks into manageable expectations Keeps students on task Offers assessment to clarify expectations Points students towards worthy sources
L – LocationUse my key words and questions to search for the information I need. Where will I find it? Print resources, pre-selected web sites, search engines, on-line resources, reference books, non-fiction books, multimedia resources. Selection skills – what to look for, and how to evaluate it. Relevancy, currency, accuracy, reliability. Searching skills Keeping a resource list; bibliography.
U – USE How will I use the information I have found? Make notes? Draw a diagram? Draw a concept map? Skills: Reading skills, skimming and scanning, Interactive skills – do I understand what I am reading, how can I relate this to what I know already? Recording skills Synthesizing skills Writing or presentational skills Creativity Constructing knowledge
S – SELF EVALUATION Have I found the answers to my questions? Were my questions searching ones? Did I have useful key words? Have I kept a record of the sources I used? Am I happy with the way my work was presented? What action will follow from this work? What new questions have I come up with?
Information Literacy Standards for the Digital Learners of New York 1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge. 2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge. 3. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively. 4. Develop an appreciation for ideas and information in pursuit of personal growth. Digital learners transfer current knowledge to the use of new information technologies.
Transportation of Text CONSTRUCTING NEW UNDERSTANDINGS Information Literacy Interventions Presentation Final version Rewriting Printout Ross Todd presenting in UK Interaction FINDING, ACCESSING AND EVALUATING INFORMATION
TRANSFORMATION CONSTRUCTING NEW UNDERSTANDINGS Literacy Interventions S U L P Interaction QUESTIONING, CREATING, COLLABORATING, CONSTRUCTING, ACTION, QUESTIONING,
Literacies for the Information Generation Technological Literacy Basic Literacy Inquiry and Problem Solving Critical Literacy Ethics and Social Responsibility Creativity and representation