The End.. or is it?

As I reach this end of this journey I know that even though the ILA has been completed, this will not be the end of my ‘inquiry into inquiry learning’.  Although I have attended many in-services and professional developments on Inquiry Learning, it has not been until I’ve have adopted these theories in my classroom that I have discovered the true potential of Inquiry Learning.  Of course, Inquiry Learning and Guided-Inquiry are not new concepts, however they are essential  in our technologically advanced  twenty-first century multi-literacy, learning environment.   Learning is not simply about locating information, it is about providing students with the skills to locate and use information effectively so that they can build new knowledge through social and engaging learning experiences.

Although the models of inquiry used in the ILA will be relevant for future learning experiences, the incorporation of skills and activities will constantly change with the rapid developments in technology and information. I am looking forward to where my inquiry journey takes me next and am very excited about the difference I can make in the learning of my students through the incorporation of Inquiry-based Learning.

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Questionnaire 3

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

-Guided Inquiry is a pedagogical approach that considers the development of students in a twenty-first century learning environment.  Although this is not a new approach to learning, guided inquiry is particularly pertinent in the twenty-first century, as it not only focuses on locating and evaluating information to enable construction of new knowledge and understanding, it also considers the skills and abilities necessary for students to cope in a constantly evolving information landscape.

Inquiry-based   learning is based on the principles of Constructivism and considers not only the academic and skill development aspects of learning, but also the emotional and social aspects of learning and knowledge development.

-Under guidance of an instructional team, Guided Inquiry allows students to investigate a topic by using a variety of information sources and ideas to enhance their understanding of a concept.  Instead of just asking questions, inquiry learning promotes engagement and challenges students to connect the curriculum with the outside world.

2. How interested are you in this topic?  Check (ü) one box that best matches your interest.

Not at all   not much ☐    quite a bit ☐    a great deal ☐

 

3. How much do you know about this topic?  Check (ü) one box that best matches how much you know.

Nothing    not much     quite a bit     a great deal

4. Thinking back on your research project, what did you find easiest to do? Please mention as many things as you like.

-Search for and locate appropriate information.

-Conduct, evaluate and code my own research/data.

-Reflect on the direction and focus of my learning.

5. Thinking back on your research project, what did you find most difficult to do? Please mention as many things as you like.

-Limit the concepts I want to consider in my writing.

6. What did you learn in doing this research project?

-The development of Information Literacy skills is necessary in finding and using information appropriately.

-The effectiveness of ‘Expert Searching’

7.  How do you now feel about your research? Check (ü) one box that best matches how you feel.

Unhappy  – I don’t feel confident with how it turned out           

Confused – I don’t really know what I was looking for

Confident – I think it turned out OK

Happy – I’m really happy with how it turned out

Reflection on Giving and Receiving Feedback – Part 2

I found receiving feedback incredibly useful in this second stage of my blog.  Posting my presentation online was quite daunting however, receiving feedback from Sheryl made my feel more confident about my presentation and provided valuable advice in terms of factors to consider further in the discussion of my results.  Her feedback on factors such as the size of my class, ability levels and comparison in student performance compared to other tasks, enabled my to consider factors that I had not realised the audience would need to know.  Responding to her questions also provided information that other readers will be able to view when visiting my blog.  I also found that viewing the presentations of my group members and considering how the task descriptors applied to their work was useful in raising points and ideas that I had not considered in my own work.

Although I have valued working in a peer-feedback team, at times this has been difficult  as again, we are completing the stages of our inquiry at different times.  However, It is productive to receive feedback and ideas from peers who are working in a similar subject field but are not familiar with the specific context of my school – as they consider factors that I may assume they would already know.  While giving and receiving feedback from the two members in my group was valuable in terms of  allowing me to consider aspects that would enhance my work in regards to the assessment requirements, I found that receiving verbal feedback from members of the instructional team and other staff within my school allowed me to consider how I could further develop my ILA in future years and across various aspects of the school.

Discussing the scaffolding and inquiry approach in my results section prompted further discussion of this with the instructional team (Teacher-Librarians) and Head of the Social Science Department and has prompted us to draft a whole-school scaffolding and inquiry approach.  Once developed, this in turn will lead to further discussion with other departments within the school and allow us to be proactive in ensuring we are catering for the information needs of students in the twenty-first century.

Overall, giving and receiving feedback from professionals with a variety of specialities was incredibly important in terms of helping me consider, evaluate and enhance the aspects of my ILA.

Recommendations for Future Learning

Initially when planning this ILA, I intended to use a combination of Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz’s Big6 approach to information problem-solving model and the Queensland Studies Authority’s (QSA) Ancient History Syllabus method of Inquiry.  The images below show the method of inquiry involved in each process:

Big6 Research Process (2012).

QSA Ancient History Inquiry Model (2004, p.18)

As can be seen in the images above, the two processes pair together well and students in the ILA are given a scaffolded research journal that reflects the pairing of the two processes in their historical inquiry.

Although the journal presents a well-rounded method of inquiry that promotes John Dewey’s idea that, “through reflection, a guiding idea is formed that leads to the quest for understanding,” by providing for student reflection at each stage in the inquiry (as cited in Kuhlthau, et. al., 2007, p.14).  The stages of inquiry are often overwhelming for the students as the QSA method in particular, is often hard for the student’s to understand and requires much guidance and explanation from the classroom teacher.  Most importantly, is does not promote a true sense of inquiry as, although it asks a range of questions that need to be addressed, it is missing an element of investigation that focuses on the tools and resources needed to engage students in the inquiry.   Although the QSA inquiry model is effective in providing initial questions to guide students in their inquiry, it is not pushing them to, “expand their knowledge and expertise through skilled use of a variety of information sources employed both inside and outside the school” (Kuhlthau, et. al., 2007, p.2). Daniel Callison states in The Blue Book on Information Age Inquiry, Instruction and Literacy that students acquire knowledge in at least two tracks: “first an assimilation of knowledge in a discipline area or topic explored, and second, guided practice in information search, analysis, and management strategies necessary for problem solving in the Information Age” (Callison & Preddy,  p.5).  Thus, it becomes evident that while the QSA method of inquiry caters for the first track, it does not consider the construction of knowledge by students in the second track.

Although the Big6 method reflects the construction of knowledge discussed in Inquiry-Based Learning in that it acts to provide a process for students to follow in an inquiry, it is still lacking consideration of the emotional values of learning.  Constructivist theorists George Kelly, Jerome Bruner and John Dewey discuss the important role of emotions in learning and have documented the effects emotions can play in the construction of knowledge (Kuhlthau, et. al., 2007, p.15).  Therefore, it is essential for inquiry methods to not only consider the thoughts and actions that lead to the construction of knowledge and deep learning, but also the emotions of the students involved in the process.

One recommendation for similar ILAs would be to provide a scaffolded research journal that reflects Kuhlthau’s Information Search Model (as discussed in previous posts). Kuhlthau’s model acts to provide a scaffold that student’s can follow throughout their inquiry while allowing them to consider their thoughts, actions and feelings at each stage.  While the three questionnaires completed by the participating students in the ILA allowed the instructional team to observe the emotions experienced by students at three different stages in the unit, structuring the student’s research journal around this process would enable the instructional team to observe this throughout the entire process, instead of only at the three designated points.  This in turn would allow for earlier intervention when required.

Information Literacy forms an integral part of Guided Inquiry as it acts to provide, “a foundation for developing high levels of proficiency and for adapting to new systems and sources that are emerging at a rapid pace” (Kuhlthau et. al., 2007, p. 79).  Through their GeST model for information literacy, Mandy Lupton and Christine Bruce provide an information literacy model that allows for holistic incorporation of information literacy in an educational setting by catering for the Generic, Situated and Transformative windows (2010).  Lupton and Bruce incorporate both information literacy and literacy through the tessellation of the three windows in an inclusive yet hierarchical system (2010, p.23).  The ILA discussed in this blog acts to incorporate all three windows of the GeST model so that students can develop information literacy skills that will prepare them for twenty-first century learning.  The following table shows the incorporation of the three windows throughout the ILA:

GeST Window Incorporated through:
Generic –       class teaching of ‘expert searching’ (Boolean operators, search strings, correct citing)-       modelling effective note-taking and essay structure

–       teaching and modelling of necessary ICT skills

 

Situated –       class discussions of the influence of certain Pharaohs-       Field trip to museum exhibition
Transformative –       consideration of how the information found challenges both current thinking and the status quo of the time and directs the focus of the inquiry.

It is evident that the ILA incorporated elements of each window in the GeST model however, the situated and transformative could be considered further if this unit was conducted again.  In particular, the involvement of the wider community in the situated window and broader consideration of social outcomes in the transformative window would allow for greater incorporation of the GeST model.

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy provides a ‘stair-way’ of six levels of complexity that encourages teachers to guide their students from the lowest to highest level in a unit (refer to image below).  The taxonomy is hierarchal in the sense that each level includes and furthers the level before it in both knowledge and comprehension.

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, Retrieved from http://laurieodonnell.co.uk/?p=632

When measuring the ILA against the hierarchy, it is clear that all levels are included throughout the unit.  Students were challenged to remember their knowledge of everyday life in Egypt from previous studies and build on this to create new knowledge regarding the influence of a particular pharaoh.  All steps in the hierarchy were important factors in the unit as in order to create the final product of an analytical essay and each individual student needed to demonstrate their progression through the steps in their research journal.

The concept of inquiry-based learning has clearly enabled the students in this ILA to develop skills, knowledge and deep understanding that will be relevant to their future learning in the twenty-first century world of transforming literacies and multitudes of information sources.  The ILA has been successful in allowing students to work through the process of inquiry and identify when intervention is necessary.  This in turn, has enabled the students to ‘get the most’ out of their learning and identify each stage in the process.  Although the process of inquiry was incredibly relevant to the ILA, the instructional team will need to continuously evolve the content, process of inquiry and skills required by students to keep pace with learning in the twenty-first century.  This will be particularly necessary with the introduction of the Australian National Curriculum and perhaps, could begin to consider the skills and process that are used in the F-10 History Curriculum.  A whole school approach to a particular method of inquiry that accommodates the concepts of the Australian National Curriculum, for example, Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process, will allow students to become familiar with the inquiry process and prepare them for effective learning in the twenty-first century.  This could be further improved by the consideration of the American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st-Century Learner (2007).

Reference List

American Association of School Librarians.  (2007).  Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.  Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/standards

Big6.  (2012).  Big6 skills overview.  Retrieved from http://big6.com/pages/about/big6-skills-overview.php

 Callison, D. & Preddy, L.  (2006).  The blue book on information age inquiry, instruction and literacy.  Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C., Maniotes, L., & Caspari, A. (2007).  Guided inquiry: learning in the 21st century [kindle ed.].  Libraries Unlimited.

Lupton, M. & Bruce, C.  (2010).  Chapter 1: windows on information literacy worlds: generic, situated and transformative perspectives.  In A. Lloyd & S. Talja  (Eds.), Practising information literacy: bringing theories of learning, practice and information literacy together (pp. 3 – 27).  Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies.

Queensland Studies Authority.  (2004).  Ancient history senior syllabus.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/senior/snr_anc_history_04_syll.pdf

Staging an Intervention

Student preparing for exams

Student preparing for exams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In their report, How Teens Do Research in the Digital World, Kristen Purcell, Lee Rainie, Alan Heaps, Judy Buchanan, Linda Friedrich, Amanda Jacklin, Clara Chen and Kathryn Zickuhr found that sixty-four per cent (64%) of teachers believe that internet and digital search tools, “do more to distract students than to help them academically” (2012, p.2).  The report continues to suggest that learning needs to focus on teaching and modelling skills for students that will allow them to becoming discerning users of the information they find online, which will in turn enable them to use this information to develop their own knowledge (Purcell, et. al., 2012, p.27).  The responses of students in Questionnaire One and Two of the ILA echoed the sentiment of Purcell et. al., as the majority of students indicated that even though they could find information online, they were yet to develop the skills to evaluate or synthesize the information they found, and this in turn made it difficult for them to develop their own understanding of the topic.   Essentially, students were able to locate a multitude of information however, were unable to develop a clear focus after locating their information.

Carol Kuhlthau, Leslie Maniotes and Ann Caspari suggest in their book Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century, that, “without forming a focus, the student is merely collecting unrelated facts” (2007, p.22).  Thus, in an inquiry-based unit, receiving this response from students is a sign that the instructional team needs to intervene so that students are able to develop the skills required to learn effectively and obtain a clear focus.

In order to ensure that students were able to succeed in the inquiry task, the instructional team considered Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari’s Interventions for Learning in the Inquiry Process as documented in the table below.

Interventions for Learning in the Inquiry Process, (Kuhlthau, et. al., 2007, p. 141).

As discussed in the results of the ILA (see previous post), the student responses indicated that they required intervention in the areas of: Curriculum Content (interpreting and synthesizing), Information Literacy (evaluating and using information), and Learning How to Learn (selecting, focusing, collecting and presenting).  Due to the small size of the class, the instructional team were able to cater their interventions for either the whole class or select individuals, depending of the feedback given by the students in their questionnaires.  This involved one-on-one mentoring or class tutorials to assist students in developing skills such as, selecting appropriate information, assessing the reliability of resources or instigating discussion regarding the direction and development of each student’s individual inquiry.    As is evidenced in the student responses in the final questionnaire, catering the interventions to suit student responses to questionnaires one and two enabled students to establish a clear focus in their inquiry and ensure that they developed the skills necessary to produce an end-product that they were happy with.

Questionnaires used in ILA 

Reference List

Kuhlthau, C., Maniotes, L., & Caspari, A. (2007).  Guided inquiry: learning in the 21st century [kindle ed.].  Libraries Unlimited.

Purcell, K., Rainie, L., Heaps, A., Buchanan, J., Friedrich, L., Jacklin, A., Chen, C., & Zickuhr, K.  (2012).  How teens do research in the digital world.  Retrieved from Pew Research Centre website http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2012/PIP_TeacherSurveyReportWithMethodology110112.pdf

Results of the Information Learning Activity

Results

The responses to student questionnaires used in the ILA produced interesting results that definitely indicated a change in the skills and knowledge-base of the students who participated.  This post will provide a discussion of the results of the student questionnaires after they were coded using Todd, Kuhlthau and Heinstrom’s School Library Impact Measure (SLIM) toolkit (2005).

Question 1

Question One asked students to ‘take some time to think about their topic and write down what they know about it’. In Questionnaire One students were prompted to consider what they knew about the topic,  in particular, they were asked what they knew about Egyptian pharaohs, and many of them documented significant facts regarding the topic generally. There was an observable shift however, in Questionnaire Two and Three, as student answers became quite specific to the individual pharaoh or area they were studying.

When analysing the data for this question, students were given marks for each type of statement their response gave.  Statements were categorised under factual, evaluating or concluding.  The graph below measures the factual statements given by students across the three questionnaires.

Graph of Factual Statements given in Question One

As you would expect, the factual statements given by each student increased by the third questionnaire.  Interestingly, the number of these statements didn’t always increase as rapidly as you would expect.  For example, in the case of students B and D, the responses stayed the same between the second and third questionnaires, with students M and N actually experiencing a drop between their first and second questionnaires.  Initially when reading these results, I was concerned they indicated that these four students were not able construct as much knowledge in the inquiry as I would have liked.  However, when looking at the explanation and concluding scores of these students, I discovered that all four students had a significant increase in these responses, which suggests that they were able to extend their factual knowledge and alter many of their factual statements into evaluating and concluding statements.

A sample of the responses of Student A indicates her development in knowledge from a general understanding of Egyptian pharaohs to a more specific understanding of the Pharaoh she chose:

Questionnaire 1: Egyptian Pharaohs were the pinnacle of Egyptian    Society.

Questionnaire 2: Akhenaten is known as the Heretic King as he abandoned the traditional Egyptian polytheism.

Questionnaire 3: “While at the time of his existence, Akhenatens monotheistic beliefs were considered outrageous, it could be argued that his ideals influenced the evolution of monotheistic religions such as, Christianity and Judaism. 

While the responses of Student A above display a growth in her knowledge of her chosen topic, they also indicate a development in the type of responses she gives.  Her first statement is purely fact based however, by the third questionnaire; her response indicates that she has developed the ability to make concluding statements regarding her chosen topic.

The graph above displays the totals of explanation and concluding statements in the student responses.  It is pleasing to note the increase in both types of responses by the completion of Questionnaire Three, however the total number of responses were fewer in number than the factual statements.  This is something you would expect, as often evaluation and conclusions are not reached until students have developed a strong knowledge of the content.   A significant jump in numbers is evident in both types of statements between the second and third questionnaires, suggesting that students were not really at the evaluation or concluding stage until near the end of the inquiry.  The fact that there is quite a significant increase in these numbers is pleasing, as it means that students were able to evaluate and reach conclusions about the information they found by the end of the ILA.

You can see in the examples below that students were beginning to evaluate the facts they found and also use these facts to reach conclusions.  These kind of responses were particularly evident in questionnaires two and three.

Explanation Statements:

Cleopatras political prowess resulted in the stability of Ancient Egypt during her reign– Student D.

Although tradition dictated that the pharaoh should strengthen the royal blood by marrying into his own family, Amenhotep III ignored this and chose to marry Tiye, a commoner” – Student M.    

Concluding Statements:

“Despite the controversy regarding the unprecedented power of Hatshepsut, her effectiveness as a ruler is evident through her successful propaganda, her military and expeditionary achievements and the creative prosperity Egypt experienced under her reign” – Student N.

“As a consequence of her unexpected usurping of Thutmose III’s power, Hatshepsut became a controversial leader” – Student C.

Overall, I was pleased with the student responses to Question One as they suggested that all students, regardless of their ability, added to their knowledge base by the completion of the unit.

Question 2

Question Two asked students to indicate how interested they were in the topic by ticking one of the four options: ‘not at all’, ‘not much’, ‘quite a bit’, or ‘a great deal’.

Students were encouraged to be honest and reassured that the instructional team would not take their response personally.  Responses were given a mark from zero to three (0-3) with ‘not at all’ receiving a zero (0) and ‘a great deal’ receiving a four (4).  I would always expect that some students would indicate they were not interested at all however, surprisingly did not receive this response.  This could be related to the fact that all of the students were in the class because they chose the subject and thus, had a genuine interest in the areas being studied.  I was really impressed with the responses to this question as at some stage, all students (except Student K – who indicated she was interested ‘a great deal’ in each questionnaire) went up an interest level by the end of the inquiry.

Graph of Responses to Question Two – Student’s Interest Level

Question 3

Question Three asked students to indicate how much they knew about the topic with the same four response options as Question Two.  As evidenced in the graph below, similarly to Question Two, many of the students increased their response by the completion of the third questionnaire.  Only one (1) student felt that their knowledge did not improve.  It is interesting to note that students G, H and K all had a dip in their knowledge between the first and last questionnaires.  This is perhaps a result of them becoming overwhelmed once they realised the extent of information available on the topic.  Fortunately, all three (3) students overcame this by the completion of the unit.  I believe this is an important question to measure the success of the unit, as all but one student indicated they had a greater knowledge of the topic by the completion that suggests they all developed new knowledge in the ILA.

Question Three – How much do students know about the topic?

 

Question 4

Question Four asks students to list the things they find easy to do when researching.  Responses to this question were coded into the information literacy standards of:

  • Able to access information efficiently and effectively
  • Develops and uses successful strategies for locating information
  • Able to evaluate information critically and competently
  • Can determine the accuracy of information
  • Distinguish among fact, point of view and opinion
  • Identifies inaccurate and misleading information
  • Selects information appropriate to the problem or question at hand
  • Organise all the information
  • Integrate new information into one’s own knowledge
  • Applies information in critical thinking and problem solving
  • Able to produce and appropriate product
  • Derives meaning from the information
  • Able to communicate information and ideas in appropriate formats
  • Has strategies for revising and improving
  • Respects intellectual property rights
  • Uses information technology responsibly

(Todd, Kuhlthau & Heinstrom, 2005).

Responses in each category where then totalled. As you can see in the graph below, students felt very comfortable developing questions that lead them to appropriate information, and accessing the information they needed efficiently and effectively.  Many of them also indicated that they had successful strategies for locating information and could determine the accuracy of the sources.  Interestingly, these are all skills that the instructional team spent time developing with the students in class.  Particularly in the first week of the ILA, the instructional team provided tutorials on developing focus questions and expert searching, as well as evaluating the credibility of the sources.  Obviously, this is something the students were either comfortable with already or the instructional team did well, as by the end of the ILA the majority of students indicated these categories were something they found easy.

You can observe on the graph  below that there were four (4) categories that were not mentioned at all by the students and this could be because they were not considered as being important or relevant factors to the students, or something that they all found difficult.

Graph of Question Four results – What did Students find easy?

The examples below show typical responses of students in this area:

“Information is easy to find, but hard to find the right information” – Student O

-“Find reliable sources and cross-check information” – Student B

Taking notes and only writing down things that are important and relevant to the topic”  – Student N

“Reflections on my process and direction” – Student F

“Using the information to write the report” – Student E

Question 5

Student Responses to Question Five – What did they find difficult when researching?

The Graph above uses the same categories as the previous question to record what students found difficult to do when conducting research.  Not surprisingly, the first three (3) categories had only one response in total, as these were categories that rated highly in the previous questions asking students to list what they found easy about research.  What the results of this question did raise, is that the students found it quite difficult to select information appropriate to their question and organise their  information and ideas in appropriate formats.  Distinguishing between fact, point of view and opinion also rated quite highly.  Fortunately, this is something that the instructional team identified after the first two (2) questionnaires and this allowed them to work with the students to develop skills that would allow them to feel more comfortable in these areas.  The intervention of the instructional team in these areas will be discussed in more depth in further posts.

The examples below indicate that there is a definite trend in the students being able to locate much information, however, they aren’t sure what to do with that information to reach their final outcome.

–       “I find myself with too much information so I have difficulties selecting the information that best suits my task – Student O

–       When I can find a wealth of general information about the topic but nothing specific enough for the task – Student C

–       Gathering information relevant to my hypothesis– Student D

–       Using the information I have to reach conclusions – Student G

–       Reflect on how sources may change the direction of my hypothesis– Student H

Question 6

Graph of Question Six Responses

The graph above shows student responses to Question Six (6); how do you feel about your research so far?  As you can see, half of the class felt overwhelmed or confused in their first questionnaire. This is something you would expect is a normal feeling when first receiving a new task or starting a new unit of work. Surprisingly, the other half of the class felt confident that they knew where they were going in their research.  Interestingly, by the second questionnaire, a larger number of students were feeling frustrated, confused or overwhelmed.  This is perhaps because they had started their research and found that the plethora of information available made it difficult to be selective and locate the specific information needed.  This was an indication for the instructional team that an intervention may be necessary to support students In the process of organising and selecting appropriate information. As the graph suggests, by the third questionnaire all but one of the class were confident that they had headed in the right direction.

Question 7

Responses to Question Seven – What did students learn?

The graph above shows the results of the final question, Question Seven (7),  that was included only on the third questionnaire.  This question asked students what they believed they learnt about research through completing the project. As the teacher, I was quite pleased to see that many of the categories that rated highly were categories the instructional team had invested time into developing with the students.  In particular, categories that students had identified as difficult such as, selecting information and organising it into appropriate formats and identifying inaccurate and misleading information, rated highly in students responses to this question.  This indicates that the instructional team had listened to responses in Questionnaires 1 and 2 and helped the students improve in these areas.  Two categories that rated highly in responses to this question that were not mentioned in great depth in responses to other questions were: ‘has strategies for revising and improving’ and ‘uses information technology responsibly’.  I would attribute both of these to the inquiry process as they were not categories that were implicitly focused on by the instructional team.  However, perhaps they are something that students considered after completing the questionnaires, which then prompted them to reflect on their process and how they used information when researching.

Reference List

Todd, R. J., Kuhlthau, C. C., & Heinstrom, J. E. (2005). School library impact measure (SLIM): A toolkit and handbook for tracking and assessing student learning outcomes of guided inquiry through the school library. Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries, Rutgers University.

Methodology of the ILA

Methodology of the ILA

In order to analyse and assess the development of knowledge and understanding achieved by students during the ILA, data was gathered using Ross Todd, Carol Kuhlthau and Jannica Heinstrom’s School Library Impact Measure (SLIM) toolkit (2005).  The SLIM toolkit uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative to enable the instructional team to collect data measuring the changes in student knowledge during an inquiry at three key stages in the inquiry process: the initiation stage, midway through the task and at the completion (Todd, Kuhlthau & Heinstrom, 2005, p.6).  For the purpose of the ILA, the first data was collected in the same lesson that students were made aware of the task.  The second data was collected halfway through the inquiry when students were submitting drafts of their research and reflection journal, and the final data collected at the same time as the submission of their assessment task.

Students in the Year 11 Ancient History class at an Independent Girls’ College were informed of the purpose of the study and all consented to participate and allow for their data to be collected by the instructional team.  Many expressed that they were hoping to learn more about their individual strengths, weaknesses and processes during the inquiry.   Prior to participation in the ILA, students were informed that data would be collected by way of questionnaires at the three stages in their inquiry process.  Students were also asked to submit their questionnaires as part of their research and reflection journal and provide a final reflection that considered the results of their individual questionnaires and allowed them to discuss (in their opinion) how their knowledge and skills had changed over the course of the inquiry.  Although this final reflection was not part of the requirements in the SLIM toolkit, it was included in the ILA to provide an opportunity for the students to assess their own individual knowledge and skill development.

After consultation with the instructional team (Teacher-Librarians and classroom teacher), the data gathered from the fifteen students who participated in the ILA was coded for all questions in the questionnaires. However, due to the open-ended nature of questions four and five, the data from a focus group of 7 with a range of ability levels was chosen to analyse in detail. Students from a range of ability levels were chosen in the focus group, as the instructional team believed it was essential to ascertain whether ability level effected learning and knowledge in the inquiry process.  Data collected in the questionnaires were coded using the SLIM handbook however, due to the open-ended nature of questions four and five, observations by the instructional team were used to clarify the analysis of these questions.  These observations (documented after informal discussions with individual students and observation of their work habits and processes), were not included in the coding of results however, will be considered in the analysis of results in order to assist the instru

ctional team in ascertaining the differences between student responses to questions four and five and what was actually observed by the instructional team.  The questions asked in each questionnaire were exactly the same, except for questionnaire three (3), which included an additional question.  These questions and the results of the data collection and analysis will be discussed in following posts.

Reference List

Todd, R. J., Kuhlthau, C. C., & Heinstrom, J. E. (2005). School library impact measure (SLIM): A toolkit and handbook for tracking and assessing student learning outcomes of guided inquiry through the school library. Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries, Rutgers University.

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Reflecting on giving and receiving feedback – Blog Stage 1

Employee Feedback | Social Recognition | ocial Goal management - WorkSimple

I must admit that I love receiving feedback.  I love asking people questions about my work and hearing their opinions, regardless of whether they are positive or negative.  I did however, really struggle with both giving and receiving feedback on Blog Stage 1 and probably due more to my organisational skills than anything else!

Firstly, because my feedback team members and I were all completing tasks at different times, it became quite hard to comment on and discuss issues as we were all at different stages at different times.  I believe that this may be easier for blog stage 2 as we will all be submitting things at similar times.

Secondly, I found that it can be hard to give honest feedback to people you don’t know personally as you can never be sure what their reaction will be.  Although, I didn’t have a negative experience with this, I must admit I felt apprehensive about some comments I made to others and often chose to not to question something because I felt the person may not appreciate it or I questioned whether my knowledge was actually correct.

I really valued the comments that my group members gave me however, would have liked to discuss some things further.  For example, one member made a comment about whether or not I should link to Wikipedia at this level of study.  I would have loved to discuss this further but found that often, given time constraints and the nature of blogging this was difficult.  Now I am at the stage where I am questioning my judgement on including the links and am not sure whether they are appropriate or not.

Overall, I feel that giving and receiving feedback is valuable however, it would be good to establish this within a network of people that you are familiar with and can be confident that they will be honest in the feedback and advice they give.  Also, from a teaching perspective it would be a valuable tool to encourage when students are completing tasks on a similar timeline.

Questionnaire 2

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

Inquiry Learning is grounded in the Constructivist approach to learning – that the student is an active participant in the process of constructing deep knowledge and understanding.  In Inquiry learning, learners are prompted by a question or problem that prompts deeper investigation.

Guided Inquiry incorporates information literacy and inquiry learning and involves instructional teams guiding students through the Information Search Process (ISP) so that they are able to go beyond simple fact finding  by synthesising and assimilating information th prior knowledge to construct new ideas and deeper understanding.

Inquiry Learning and Guided Inquiry are important concepts in the twenty-first century as they provide learners with the skills to cope with a multitude of information and literacies in a constantly changing learning environment.

Inquiry learning and guided inquiry across five main areas of learning: information literacy, learning how to learn, curriculum content, literacy competence  and social skills.

 2. How interested are you in this topic?  Check (ü) one box that best matches your interest.

Not at all   not much ☐    quite a bit ☐    a great deal

 3. How much do you know about this topic?  Check (ü) one box that best matches how much you know.

Nothing    not much     quite a bit     a great deal

 4. Thinking of your research so far – what did you find easy to do? Please mention as many things as you like.

-Enter appropriate search terms.

-Use search operaters to manipulate an information organisation. E.g. Boolean Operators.

-Gather information from a range of sources.

-Compare and constrast the information gathered from a range of sources.

5.  Thinking of your research so far – what did you find difficult to do? Please mention as many things as you like.

-Think outside the box in terms of what I haven’t covered.

6.  How do you feel about your research so far? Check (ü) one box that best matches how you feel.

Frustrated – I can’t find what I want          

Overwhelmed – I’m finding it hard to sort through the information

Confused – I don’t really know what I’m looking for

Confident – I think I know where I’m heading