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Meaningful Learning Through Inquiry: The Lights Come On Dr Ross J Todd Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries Rutgers, The State University.

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Presentation on theme: "Meaningful Learning Through Inquiry: The Lights Come On Dr Ross J Todd Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries Rutgers, The State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Meaningful Learning Through Inquiry: The Lights Come On Dr Ross J Todd Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick NJ USA

2 An age is called "dark," not because the light fails to shine but because people refuse to see it. ~James Michener

3 Learning through School Libraries Melbourne, Australia Bogota, Colombia Port of Spain, Trinidad Malmo, Lund Sweden  London, England Rotterdam, Netherlands Eupen, Belgium Istanbul, Turkey How do we build meaningful learning experiences through the school library?

4 Respond innovatively to needs of learners Commitment to all children developing strong learning foundations Increase intellectual engagement and relevance Equipping students with the skills and knowledges— cognitive and cultural, social and linguistic—that have power and salience in the world - living, working Culture of high expectations for optimal student learning outcomes, supported by teachers’ continuous professional development Shared understanding of the theory and practice of curriculum, pedagogy and community Work collaboratively in teams across learning areas and develop strong links with their communities Education: Key Challenges

5 Possibilities Founded on Evidence-Based Education Developing educational practice on research-based interventions Students encouraged to value excellence, innovation, inquiry, and curiosity, by thinking critically, creatively, and reflectively Students encouraged to value diversity, equity, community and participation, integrity, and respect Focus on developing knowledge, attitudes, and values in ways that lead to action

6 Learning in the School Library Students actively engage with diverse and often conflicting sources of information and ideas to discover new ones, to build new understandings, and to develop personal viewpoints and perspectives. KNOWLEDGE OUTCOME It is underpinned by stimulating encounters with information – encounters which capture their interest and attention, and which motivate and direct their ongoing inquiry. INFORMATION FOUNDATION

7 USA Standards for the 21 st Century Learner The Standards describe how learners use skills, resources, and tools to: inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge; draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge; share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society; pursue personal and aesthetic growth.


9 Student Centered – Teacher Directed Carefully planned, directed, targeted intervention(s) of an instructional team of teacher librarians and teachers to guide students through curriculum based units that gradually lead towards personal deep knowledge and understanding. Constuctivist approach to learning: staged, guided Develops students’ competence with learning from a variety of sources; goal is deep knowledge Students not abandoned in the research process Focus on deep learning, competence, mastery, and self empowerment


11 Two Concerns Pervasive use of simplistic models of information literacy – in an educational environment that is increasingly focusing on evidence-based education  Strong educational movement on the use of research-based instructional models and research-based instructional interventions Project based learning through the school library, rather than authentic learning tasks that focus on the development of deep knowledge

12 Information Search Process Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services. 2nd edition. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. 1.Qualitative exploration of search process of high school seniors (1983) 2. Qualitative study of original sample after 4 years of college (1988) 3. Longitudinal study (1988) 4. Qualitative and quantitative study of high, middle and low achieving high school seniors (1989) 5. Validation Study: 385 academic, public, and school library users in 21 sites (1989)

13 Tasks Initiation Selection Exploration Formulation Collection Presentation → Feelings uncertainly optimism confusion clarity sense of satisfaction or (affective) frustration direction/ disappointment doubt confidence Thoughtsvague →focused (cognitive) → increased interest Actions seeking relevant information →seeking pertinent information (physical) exploring documenting Information-to-Knowledge Journey Zone of Intervention: the critical point / need for instruction

14 Instructional Interventions The stages of the knowledge building process, and the affective, cognitive and behavioral needs of learners determine the instructional interventions – move away beyond the fixed scope-and-sequence approach to implementing discrete lists of information skills Interventions are much more diverse than the standard information literacy interventions

15 Instructional Interventions Initiation: Building engagement; developing curiosity and motivation; dealing with mostly negative emotions ; task organization, time, process and effort management; know when, where, and how to get help and guidance ; understanding knowledge requirements of task; establishing existing / prior knowledge Selection / Exploration: choosing and justifying broad topics; building background knowledge; selecting appropriate sources to build background knowledge; Encountering multiple viewpoints and perspectives; dealing with conflicting knowledge; Focus / Formulation: Developing the focus question(s) and formulating personal knowledge outcomes; constructing the abstract / knowledge plan / statement of intention of the inquiry; planning the structure of the inquiry

16 Instructional Interventions Collection: selecting pertinent, complex information matched to specific focus; Collecting and engaging with data from disciplinary specific modes of inquiry: interviews, surveys, experiments, observation, journaling; transforming other people’s ideas into personal knowledge; use of a variety of analytical methods; forming evidence-based opinions / viewpoints; developing conclusions & positions; posit actions, implications and solutions; reflect on these in terms of original knowing Presentation: Representation of new knowledge in meaningful ways; understanding how to construct meaningful textual, visual, graphical representations, Structuring ideas into a coherent, integrated body of knowledge; using ICT tools to construct appropriate representations of new knowledge; using ICT tools, techniques and critical thinking skills to communicate new knowledge in appropriate ways – appropriate to the discipline

17 The Knowledge Dilemma

18 CRITICAL THINKING AND CRITICAL ANALYSIS: META-COGNITIVE Chronological order/stages Pro’s/con’s Main ideas/supporting evidence Causes/effects Similarities/differences Procedures/steps Problems/solutions Relationships (human/spatial) Themes / Patterns Perspectives Best-worst / Most-least Defining characteristics How it works represent/display data? classify/categorize? generalize? find exceptions? predict what is next? imagine what if...? determine what’s wrong? HOW CAN I...LOOK FOR...

19 Project VS Authentic Learning Task PROJECT Choose a country from the list provided and research how a tsunami affected that country. Include physical, geographical and economic effects. Use note cards to record information and sources. Write a 2-3 page paper using at least 4 sources, including two sources from the WWW.

20 The Learning Dilemma

21 Project VS Authentic Learning Task AUTHENTIC LEARNING TASK You are a member of a team of relief workers to help victims of a tsunami. Your job is to help plan the govern- ment’s recovery program. Read descriptions, interviews, and personal accounts of tsunami victims on the Internet. From these accounts, determine how the tsunami affected physical, geographical, and economic conditions of people. Use current sources to find information and data on recovery efforts. Create graphic organizers (including charts, graphs) that document your findings. Write an executive brief to your government agency that explains and justifies relief measures you recommend and sets priorities for action. Use citation; create a reference list of sources used

22 Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives

23 Hall of Fame Research “Greatness” Where/when born, died, lived Education/Jobs/Career Challenges overcome Qualities that led to greatness Awards/Commendations Political offices held Best remembered for what Connection to NJ

24 Critical thinking and Deep Knowledge? Walt Whitman (Camden) Considered by many to be the most influential poet in U.S. history

25 This week I achieved unprecedented levels of unverifiable productivity ~Dilbert

26 Lonely, Nervous, Brave, Determined, Sassy Daughter of parents who filled their house with music Music must have filled her loneliness when her father died Moved to New York for a better life. Who loved the night magic of Harlem, Who loved the celebrities and begging for autographs with her friends Who really loved singing and scatting Who loved her Aunt that took care of her as a child. Who felt loss, when her mother died Who felt anger when she was put in an orphanage Who felt trapped in those walls but they couldn’t keep her down because she felt the pull of her song and the night magic of Harlem. Who felt nervous and fear at auditions Who feared not being able to sing because she had no one to care for her Who feared dying from diabetes and possibly going blind, Who feared whom she would pass her singing crown down to Who wanted to see someone take over her singing crown Who would have liked to have spent more time with her late parents Who wanted to work with the best bands Who changed the world of jazz and swing Who was very proud of her awards and achievements She was “The First Lady Of Song”; she was “Sassy” and a Legend of Jazz Born in Virginia, grew up in New York, adopted by the world. Ella was great Fitzgerald Ella

27 SLAV Pilot Project Goals To understand the dynamics of developing and implementing collaborative Guided Inquiry units, based on the Information Search Process model: learning, instructional, collaborative To track and understand how students build on their existing knowledge of a curriculum topic and how their knowledge of a topic changes in the context of a collaborative guided inquiry unit; To examine the transformation and integration of found information into existing knowledge, and the creation of new personal knowing To use some school-based tools for measuring and charting knowledge development Evidence-based Practice

28 Measuring Knowledge in a School Setting Use of verbal, visual and written protocols such as essays, projects, exams, presentations and knowledge objects. Amount and nature of knowledge of a topic is determined primarily in classroom settings by subject experts (teachers) who match the nature of ideas to some expected target or expert conception (typically curriculum content requirements), and within a prescribed boundary (eg word / page count) Little measurement of change of knowledge in terms of initial existing knowledge Little understanding of how library-based learning impacts on knowledge development

29 Gaps in our Understanding Mapping the actual knowledge output as students progress through the stages of a library-based research task has been given limited attention. Need to develop more accurate techniques for representing and measuring conceptual structures and how they change

30 Building Knowledge

31 The Information-to-Knowledge Problem

32 Schools Context & Sample 5 Victoria state schools Experienced and expert teacher librarians Diverse school communities 5 teacher librarians working on curriculum projects with classroom teachers Students in range of disciplines Guided Inquiry training: July 2007 overview and critique of units, use of data collection instruments, procedures and ethical guidelines

33 Measuring Students’ Change in Knowledge Substance of Knowledge: content of relational statements Structure of Knowledge: the way ideas are organized Amount of Knowledge: Quantity of relational statements recorded Extent of Knowledge: Personal assessment of extent of knowledge Title of Knowledge: How do the students’ titles given to their topics change as they undertake guided inquiry project?

34 Data Collection Instruments Key data collection instruments used to collect the data from the students: 1. Writing Task 1 (at initiation of inquiry unit) 2. Writing Task 2 (at midpoint of inquiry unit) 3. Writing Task 3 (at conclusion of inquiry unit) The instruments consisted of a combination of qualitative and quantitative questions.

35 Writing Tasks Writing task 1 and 2 consisted of the following questions 1. Write the title that best describes your research project at this time. 2. Take some time to think about your research topic. Now write down what you know about this topic. 3. What interests you about this topic? 4. How much do you know about this topic? Check ( ) one box that best matches how much you know. Nothing, Not much, Some, Quite a bit and A great deal 5. Write down what you think is EASY about researching your topic. 6. Write down what you think is DIFFICULT about researching your topic. 7. Write down how you are FEELING now about your project. Check ( ) only the boxes that apply to you. Confident, Disappointed, Relieved, Frustrated, Confused, Optimistic, Uncertain, Satisfied, Anxious or Other.

36 Additional Questions at Writing Task 3 1.What did you learn in doing this research project? (This might be about your topic, or new things you can do, or learn about yourself) 2.How did the TEACHER LIBRARIAN help you? 3.How did the TEACHER help you? EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE

37 Substance of knowledge Classification of Statements: based on nature of relationships between concepts Graesser & Clark (1985) Structures and procedures of implicit knowledge. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex. Properties:statements describing characteristics Manner:statements describing processes, styles, actions Reason: statements of explanations of how and why Outcome: statements providing end result Causality: statements showing some event causally leads to another Set Membership: statements about class inclusion Implication: statements showing predictive relations, inference, implied meaning Value judgment: statements presenting personal position or viewpoint

38 Classification of Statements Properties:The color of Valentine’s day is red Manner: People drive aggressively in USA Reason: The wall was constructed to block invaders Outcome: (People eat too much) As a result, people got very sick Causality: Too much alcohol can lead to liver failure Set Membership: Michelangelo created works such as statue of David, Sistine Chapel and the famous Pieta Implication: He was suspected of poisoning him Value judgment: That’s not right FACTS: property, manner, set membership EXPLANATION AND RESULTS: Reason, outcome, causality SYNTHESIS: conclusions, positions, viewpoints

39 Structure of Knowledge Ideas are discrete and unrelated. Some limited structure evident –meaning more than one instantiation- some ideas are joined or linked (grouped) while others are discrete or unrelated. Contiguous ideas are associated; set of ideas may be somewhat continuous. Overall, ideas are interrelated and continuous. Ideas are integrated and unified; there is structural centrality, and overall unification.

40 PATTERNS IN CHANGE OF KNOWLEDGE: Initiation Lists of unrelated statements, and generalities, language associations Statements were primarily property (is a), manner (describe how something happens) Low number of statements Random representation: unstructured, no clear sequence or organization; guess work “I think that…”, or at best chronological / historical Some indication of inaccuracy / misrepresentation Acknowledge that students knew very little Motivated to learn: personal experiences/ connections, intriguing facts about topic, curiosity, recommendation

41 PATTERNS IN CHANGE OF KNOWLEDGE Midpoint – Focus Formulation Dramatic increase in number of propositional statements Focus on Properties: describes characteristics; Manner: describe processes, styles, actions; Reason: explanations of how and why Some evidence of organizational structure of ideas; some attempt to develop conceptual groupings Cognitive intents: From initiation to formulation : getting a bigger picture (building background) getting a changed picture (correcting misinformation); getting a clearer picture

42 PATTERNS IN CHANGE OF KNOWLEDGE: Conclusion Clear and precise listing of properties, manner and increasing use of set membership Final representations also stronger on reasons, outcomes, causality, implications, predictive, reflective (increased complexity) Dramatic increase in number of statements Some students showing decrease in number of statements: reflect higher levels of synthesis Higher levels of structural centrality and conceptual coherence -ie. overall integrated and interlinked structure, yet subgroups of ideas Reflective, comparative, positional: personal ownership

43 INTELLECTUAL QUALITY Higher order thinking: Movement from description to explanation and reflection Evident in increased specificity of topic focus Deep understanding: Evident in extent of recall and in the types of causal and predictive relationships portrayed Substantive conversation: Valuing of dialogue between teacher, teacher librarian and students; fluency in written statements Knowledge as problematic: In some cases, students identified dealing with dealing with factual conflict or conflicting viewpoints and formulating their own (choice of topic); also evident in constructing arguments that show a basis for the claims they were making Meta-language: Use of language specific to the topic domain: not just provision of terms, but clarity of understanding these terms Increasing complexity of the language used to describe their knowledge, and the ordering of this knowledge into conceptually coherent units

44 The Emotional Rollercoaster Very distinctive ebb and flow of emotions following the demands of the research process Initial feelings: varied from a state confidence to slight hesitation/uncertainty Increase in optimism and confidence as they identify a general topic and begin to investigate sources for relevant information As in-depth investigations begin, students report a decline in confidence, and an increase in feelings of frustration and uncertainty Some frustration with sources and deadlines and achieving focus Increase in negative emotions—often reported here as stress, anxiety, and pressure—just as the deadlines approach End of task / Submission: relief, confidence (because of level of research done); acknowledge that it was “hard work” but worthwhile

45 Enablers of Learning Instructional intervention: providing the intellectual scaffolds for connecting with, interacting with and utilizing information 3 kinds of scaffolds valued by students: Reception Scaffolds: assist learners in garnering information from the diverse sources; direct the learner's attention to what is important, and to help them organize and record what they perceive. (Perceive structure in information) Transformation Scaffolds: assist learners in transforming the information they've received into some other form. This involves imposing structure on information Production Scaffolds: assist learners in actually producing something observable that conveys the complexity and richness of what they have learned. Guided inquiry: not abandonment Modeling the process and Feedback

46 Core Values Community  Creativity  Collaboration  Communication


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