YES to Guided Inquiry

image by ExplorerBob, downloaded from pixabay

I absolutely believe in the necessity for information literacy in the 21st century. The development of the Internet and mobile technologies have given us access to a complex and changing information environment – an environment where we have instantaneous and ubiquitous access to vast amounts of unfiltered, and often unsubstantiated, information. Our students need the capability to navigate this information environment successfully – they need to be information literate.

There are many models for teaching and scaffolding information literacy (see this post, but literacy is not pedagogy (Wocke, 2018). “Literacy needs a pedagogy to develop it and give it meaning” (Lupton 2012). Inquiry-based learning provides teachers with that pedagogy and curricular framework. Inquiry is an approach to teaching and learning, where learners are active participants who feel and think and act (Kuhlthau, n.d.). Learning is central to the inquiry process, the teacher facilitates the process and challenges students’ inquiry journey through the design of inquiry tasks, resources use and the use of teaching spaces (Murdoch & Claxton, 2015, pp. 14-15).

Kuhlthau turned her successful model for information literacy, the Information Search Process (ISP), into pedagogy when the Guided Inquiry Design (GI)process was developed. “Guided Inquiry is planned, targeted, supervised intervention throughout the inquiry process” (Kuhlthau, 2010, p. 20). GI frames the process, the thoughts, feelings and actions in clear understandable words that can help our students understand their learning better.

Having just finished reading this article Kuhlthau (2010) wrote about Guided Inquiry, I want to say:

 

 

Yes, we need a new way of learning for the 21st century.

Yes, school libraries should be the dynamic learning centres of schools and school librarians as vital partners in the inquiry process,

Yes, inquiry that is guided by a flexible, collaborating instructional team will enable students to gain understanding and knowledge and be self-directed in their learning.

Yes, the third space is where learning will be the most meaningful.

Yes, assessment throughout the process makes the most sense.

Yes, to information literacy, learning to learn, content learning, literacy competence and development of social skills.

Yes, to connecting with what they already know.

Yes, to putting our students in the centre of learning.

 

 

Yes, but… many schools do not have the freedom to experiment in this way because of standards and curriculum constraints and requirements.

Yes, but… many schools do not have fully qualified and dedicated librarians and libraries and technology that provides equal access to online and print resources

Yes, but… there are such prescriptions about assessment and reporting practice that restricts how teachers teach and assesses.

BUT, this is  a worthwhile model for all TLs to know and implement, even if it cannot be in its purest form. Our students deserve a new way of learning and we should do our best to guide them and support them as best we can.

 

 

 


The video below, by Karen Bonanno, provides a worthwhile introduction to GI (Eduwebinar, 2016).


References

FitzGerald, L. (2015). Guided inquiry in practice. Scan, 34(4), 16-27.

Kuhlthau, C. C. (n.d.). Information search process. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from
Rutgers School of Information and Communication website: http://wp.comminfo.rutgers.edu/ckuhlthau/information-search-process/

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2010). Guided inquiry: School libraries in the 21st century. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 17-28. Retrieved from
https://bit.ly/2w1hNjx

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2015). Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited,
an imprint of ABC-CLIO.

Lupton, M. (2012, July 10). IL is dead, long live IL! [Blog post]. Retrieved from Inquiry learning website:
IL is dead, long live IL!

Murdoch, K., & Claxton, G. (2015). The power of inquiry. Northcote, Vic: Seastar Education.

Wocke, G. (2018, April 26). Information literacy Models [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:
https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2018/04/26/information-literacy-models/

The Digital Learning Environment

The disruptive nature of current technological advances is forcing us to re-evaluate, and in many cases re-design, re-invent or at least adapt many aspects of our society – the learning environment is no exception. A learning environment is no longer a classroom where students quietly sit, all facing forward, while the teacher delivers content from a printed textbook (Graetz, 2006).

A digital learning environment (DLE) is an environment where learning is facilitated and supported through the affordances of digital technology. The DLE consists of all resources: hardware, software and educational content, that the learner and teacher employ to facilitate learning. Because the DLE is “digital”, connected and networked, it is not bound by time or space. Learning can happen 24/7/365 and outside of the physical restrictions and constraints of traditional learning environments, just-in-time and on-demand. Learning can not only take place when we want, but where we want, with and from whom we want and about what we want (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, p. 2). Learning in DLEs are not restricted to the group of students in a class but can naturally extend to include experts and communities of interest and practice, allowing for more authentic, “situated” or context-dependent learning experiences (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989, p. 39).

photo by rawpixel, dowloaded from pixabay

Digital learning environments include, but are not exclusive to, learning management systems (LMS) or virtual learning environments (VLE).  These environments should be intentionally designed, allowing for personalised, empowering, learner-centred and learner-directed learning (Veletsianos, 2016, pp. 246-7). DLE should make the most of Web 2.0, media and tools, which are open, social and participatory –  allowing learning through communication, collaboration, co-creating and sharing of knowledge (Conole, 2013, p. 47). The DLE is hyper-connected and allows for learning that is dynamic and fluid, a blend of formal, informal, experiential, problem-based and inquiry learning.

The existence of a DLE does not guarantee maximisation of learning. Intentional steps must be put into place to ensure that students and teachers develop the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century, as well as the behaviour and attitudes needed to learn and socialise safely, ethically and effectively in these environments.

The DLE in our school is complex, but none the less reasonably effective, focussed on supporting the teaching and the learning of our students in a collaborative and transparent environment. We use Managebac as learning management system, a good choice – from an administrative point of view, since it is tailor-made for our IB school. Managebac creates a transparent online DLE where teachers, students and parents have – at all-time – a transparent overview of curriculum, learning objectives, learning tasks and assessments. Much of the active learning activities take place in the Google Suite environment, where tools are integrated, and collaboration is easily facilitated and monitored through sharing of digital artefacts. Students have access to Managebac and the Google environment at all times, at school, home and elsewhere, and can easily share access to their work with peers, teachers and parents. Other Web 2.0 tools are often used for specific learning activities. In my grade 6 Digital X (technology and design-based course) , for example, students are experimenting with free online tools to create audio recordings (Twistedwave), video recordings (WeVideo) and photo manipulation software (Photopea). The artefacts that students create are showcased in an ePortfolio, which is a Google slide presentation. Assignments, grades and assessment comments for tasks in the ePortfolio is published on Managebac.

Our course notes describe a DLE as “the tools, skills, standards, attitudes and habits for learning while using technology and accessing digital resources” (Lindsay & O’Connell, 2018). All of those elements are important in creating a successful learning environment, but the skilful creation of authentic and challenging learning opportunities by the teacher, is needed to ensure that our students thrive and grow.


References

Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32-42. Retrieved from JSTOR database.

Conole, G. (2013). Designing for learning in an open world. New York, NY: Springer.

Graetz, K. A. (2006). The psychology of learning environments. In D. G. Oblinger (Ed.), Learning spaces. Retrieved from https://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/learning-spaces/chapter-6-psychology-learning-environments

Lindsay, J., & O’Connell, J. (2018). Topic 1.0: Introduction to the digital learning environment. Retrieved March 3, 2018, from ETL 523: Digital citizenship in schools website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/execute/displayLearningUnit?course_id=_34634_1&content_id=_2002176_1

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In N. Rushby & D. Surry (Eds.), Handbook of learning technologies (pp. 242-260). Retrieved from http://www.veletsianos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/digital_learninig_environments.pdf

Critical Reflection Assignment 7B

This high school librarian is on a quest to transform our library to be an enabling learning environment – where learning can be active, self-directed and social. My journey has brought me to this course, INF530, the start of a long-awaited Masters’ study.

Here then, are the big lessons learnt:

Knowledge is a vector (I heard it here), is changeable, and probably (like facts) only has a half-life (Coulter, 2014; The Economist, 2012).  Learning should not be viewed as “internal, individualistic activities” (see my contribution to discussion forum THREAD 2.4:  Thinking in Networks), as I learnt in cognitivism, or  constructivism but can be created in a connected network. Viewing knowledge creation as social and connected, is the KEY: knowledge is “distributed across a network of connections” and really is the connections between entities.  Learning is “the ability to traverse those networks”, or the creation/adjustment/deletion of these connections between entities (Downes, 2010).  This was the first big lesson learnt: My understanding of knowledge, and how we learn, needs updateding in our connected world.  Knowledge Networks (INF532) is next on my journey!

Because of the networked and connected environment of our digital age, learning should not be as teacher-directed and classroom-based, but student-centred and –directed and social.  It is happening more often informally, through communities of practice, moocs and other forms of social or e-learning, than in formal educational institutions – at least in the adult world (Siemens (2004); Downes (2010)).  I knew that teaching content to students sitting in rows is not 21st century best practice, and Wenger made me realise that learning IS social, but Seely Brown (2000) convinced me that our digital learners have all the tools (web 2.0 based – see my blogpost here) needed, for learning to become situated in action.  Learning-to-learn happens naturally when participating in a community of practice (Seely Brown, 2000).  Learners need to learn in their natural habitats – learning ecologies; educators need to support students to construct personal learning networks (says Downes (2017), as I tweeted here) and enable them to learn where they are already interested.  How? Enters: connected learning.

Connected learning is a framework loosely based on connectivism (as formulated by Siemens(2004) and Downes(2010)) and concerned with reimagining a more valid and relevant educational experience for those growing up in the digital age (see my blogpost here).  Connected learning is “socially embedded, interest-driven and oriented towards educational, economic or global opportunity” (Ito, et al., 2013, p.6).  It advocates employing open, social and participatory web 2.0 media (namely online platforms, digital tools for creating, publishing and collaborating, social media and web-based communities) in employing technology to augment learning.  It reasons that connected, peer- and mentor-supported learning that is interest-powered is the most effective. The connected learning approach resonates with my instinctive understanding of what learning can be in the digital age.  This new framework has been accepted well, but not yet implemented widely.  Can connected learning principles be implemented in a high school library?

 

There are valid links between the principles of connected learning and the work being done in school libraries to adapt to the 21st century (see YALSA; ASLA; Future Ready Librarians and the Alliance for Excellent Education):

  • Creating flexible learning spaces in libraries where students gather to learn collaboratively, to make and create and to “play” at learning in a social environment.
  • Librarians provide access to information sources to pursue not only academic goals, but personal interests. They can (and do) facilitate connections with communities of practice where those with similar interest can share and learn.
  • Libraries are no longer restricted to physical places, but should develop their online spaces to meet learners when and where they learn.
  • Librarians are valuable in helping students and teachers acquire trans-literacy, and information fluency skills and other digital proficiencies needed to be successful critical consumers and creative producers of information sources.
  • Students need mentors to help develop their digital identifies and to become engaged, ethically behaving digital citizens.

Before this course I was (at best) a critical consumer of media.  I am now convinced that knowledge can be collectively and collaboratively generated by engaged members contributing valuable insights to their communities of learning.  I am actively expanding my personal learning network, working on social participation and media production skills. 

The journey has started, there remains much to be learnt.

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References

Alliance for Excellent Education. (2016, March). Future ready librarians. Retrieved from http://1gu04j2l2i9n1b0wor2zmgua.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/FR_Librarians_Factsheet.pdf

Australian School Library Association. (2013, April). Future learning and school libraries. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/2013-ASLA-futures-paper.pdf

Braun, L. W., Hartman, M. L., Hughes-Hassell, S., & Kumasi, K. (2014, January). The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action. Retrieved from Young Adult Library Services Association website: http://www.ala.org/yaforum/sites/ala.org.yaforum/files/content/YALSA_nationalforum_final.pdf

Cognitivism. (2015, June 19). Retrieved May 27, 2017, from Learning Theories website: https://www.learning-theories.com/cognitivism.html

Connectivism (Siemens, Downes). (2015, June 1). Retrieved May 27, 2017, from Learning Theories website: https://www.learning-theories.com/connectivism-siemens-downes.html

Constructivism. (2015, June 20). Retrieved May 27, 2017, from Learning Theories website: https://www.learning-theories.com/constructivism.html

Coulter, P. (Producer). (2014, January 15). The great book of knowledge: Part 1. Ideas. Podcast retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2430203081

DMLReseachHub. (2012, October 31). Connected learning: Everyone, everywhere, anytime [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viHbdTC8a90

Downes, S. (2010). Learning networks and connective knowledge. In H. H. Yang & S. C.-Y. Yuen (Eds.), Collective intelligence and e-Learning 2.0 (pp. 1-26). https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-60566-729-4

Downes, S. (2017, May 16). A model of personal learning. Retrieved May 27, 2017, from http://www.downes.ca/presentation/469

The Economist. (2012, November 28). The half life of facts [Blog post]. Retrieved from Babbage website: http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/11/qa-samuel-arbesman

Itu, M., Gutiérrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K., . . . Watkins, S. C. W. (2013). Connected learning: An agenda for research and design. Retrieved from https://dmlhub.net/wp-content/uploads/files/teaching-in-the-CL-classroom.pdf

Massive open online course. (2017, May 11). Retrieved May 27, 2017, from Wikipedia website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course

Seely Brown, J. (2000). Growing up digital: How the web changes work, education, and the way people learn. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 32(2), 11-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091380009601719

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Internationl Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, (Jan). Retrieved from http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

Tierney, J. (2014, July 16). Connected learning infographic [Video file]. Retrieved from http://prezi.com/9kuoj3x7o8rc/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Wenger, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice. Retrieved May 27, 2017, from http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

Wenger, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Social learning – a framework. Retrieved May 27, 2017, from http://wenger-trayner.com/tag/social-learning-spaces/

Wolf, M. A., Jones, R., & Gilbert, D. (2014, January). Leading in and beyond the library. Retrieved from http://www.boces.com/cms/lib3/NY26000031/Centricity/Domain/15/BeyondTheLibrary.pdf

 

 

 

 

The Information Age, Connected Learning and Digital Literacy

The information age
The advances in, and convergence of, ICT not only changed how we interact with information and how we communicate, but created a digital society that continues to influence and change every aspect of our lives. Ubiquitous mobile digital devices enable members of this digital society to be continuously connected, not only to the digital information environment, but to other individuals and networks that support and foster our information needs and interests.

The information age, schools, learning and literacy
Educating its citizens is an important goal of every society, with literacy a key outcome of education. (Education for All, 2006, p. 135). Most educational institutions in our society were founded in a pre-information society era and are primarily classroom and teacher oriented. Since the development of the digital age more and more significant learning takes place outside of the classroom – the digital information environment has an important influence on how, where, when and from whom we learn. I agree with the view that there seems to be a growing disconnect between what our students learn (what they are interested in and want to learn) and what schools teach (Connected Learning Alliance, n.d.).

Connected learning: A model for the networked society
The connected learning movement is concerned with reimagining a more valid and relevant educational experience for the digital age. This movement believes that effective learning involves personal interest and happens when a personal interest is pursued with the support of peers, experts and other knowledgeable and passionate adults and communities, and can be turned into academic achievement, career success or civic engagement (Itu et al., 2012). Connected learning, a response to learning in the networked society, is interest-powered, openly networked people with shared purposes, (including peer support) but also design and production centered and academically oriented (Connected Learning Alliance, n.d.). School is seen as only one node in learning in this networked society. I agree with Itu, however, when she states that teachers, school and classroom learning still has an important role to play in education: by giving students access to “a baseline set of standards, literacies, expectations about what they need in contemporary society” (DML Research Hub, 2011). What then are these standards and literacies I wonder?

Digital literacy
If our educational institutions, our teachers and schools are to facilitate the learning of our students (by providing such a baseline), the educational world needs to come to a common understanding of what literacy means in this digital society. I agree with the generic definition of literacy as the skills and abilities fundamental to successful citizenship, it follows that digital literacy must at the very least be concerned with the skills associated with consuming and producing information in the media forms of this age (Ohler, 2010, p.206). However, if technology continues to develop at an accelerated pace (as is widely predicted), and our lives continue to develop in this connected fashion, we should include higher order skills, such as systems thinking, information literacy, computational thinking, creativity, adaptability, global awareness and self-regulation and “learning to learn” (Itu et al., 2012).

The debate and lack of consensus consensus over “digital literacy”, indicate that the educational world is developing a better understanding of how to facilitate and support learning in the information age. New Media Consortium’s report on digital literacy is a solid start in this direction. I fully agree with their view that students should be regarded as makers, who learn through content creation (rather than consumers). I am very interested in exploring this topic and developing my own understanding of digital literacy in a connected, networked world.

REFERENCES

Connected Learning Alliance. (n.d.). What is connected learning?
Retrieved from https://clalliance.org/why-connected-learning/

Digital literacy: A NMC Horizon strategic brief.
(2016, October). Retrieved from New Media Consortium website:
http://www.nmc.org/news/nmc-releases-horizon-project-
strategic-brief-on-digital-literacy/

DML Research Hub. (2011). Cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito on
connected learning, Children, and Digital Media
[Video file].
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuV7zcXigAI

Education for all: Global monitoring report. (2006). Retrieved from
UNESCA website:
http://www.unesco.org/education/GMR2006/full/chapt5_eng.pdf

Itu, M., Gutiérrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., & Rhodes, J.
(2012). Connected learning: An agenda for research and design.
Retrieved from https://dmlhub.net/wp-
content/uploads/files/ConnectedLearning_summary.pdf

Ohler, J. (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. Thousand
Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press.

Understanding the nature and scope of education informatics

Levy (et al) define the domain of educational informatics as:

“The study of the application of digital technologies and techniques to the use and communication of information in learning and education.”

This well-crafted definition clarifies the domain of study to be at the intersection of:
• computer science – application of digital technologies and techniques
• information science – the use and communication of information
• education – learning and education

My understanding of the nature and scope of education(al) informatics was clarified through the discussion of:

1. The ‘networked learner support’ required of the librarian in the computer-supported collaborative learning environment and the new perspectives needed by the profession to be proactive in establishing its place in the changing educational arena (Levy, 2003, p.303).

2. The design of online learning environments (educational systems design), requiring detailed specifications of learning needs, materials (including a body of core information and reference materials), activities and delivery methods (Levy, 2003, p. 305).

3. The examination of information literacy or “learners’ ICT-based information-seeking behaviour and skills” and the associated attempts to develop educational materials and methods to enhance students’ ability to find and use information from a range of online sources (Levy, 2003, p.300).

Reference

Levy, P., Ford, N., Foster, J., Madden, A., & Miller, D. (2003).
Educational informatics: An emerging research agenda.
Journal of Information Science, 29(4), 298-310.

The digital age and possibilities for re-imagining our educational system

The convergence of computing, information and communication technologies into one device, affordable and usable by most, has resulted in the development of a transformed information-rich world. With these mobile devices, we became nodes points in a global information ecosystem, socially connected in interactive knowledge environments that transcend the restrictions of our physical world.

Almost every aspect of our personal, professional and societal lives has been transformed by the tools and products of this digital age. Two important examples should be emphasised:

• New participatory media formats use web-based technologies to enable recipients of information messages to be active participants in knowledge creation. Interactive platforms allow experts and voxpop voices to join, in creating, discussing and distributing user-generated information products in many formats.

• Cloud computing makes improved productivity and knowledge building possible through immediate communication channels and tools for collaboration. These improved data storage facilities make digitisation of our collective societal knowledge and cultural heritage possible in online digital repositories.

The new digital age is having a significant impact on the learning environment: on when, where and how we learn. Multi-formatted online resources and participatory media enables self-directed, self-paced, individualised, personal and differentiated authentic learning. The role of teachers is changing from deliverers of content to creators of context (Thomas, 2012). The classroom, where learning was traditionally initiated by teachers, has expanded beyond walls, lectures and textbooks and can become truly learner-centred. Connected learning provides an existing model that makes use of the products of the digital age to re-imagine our traditional education system.

While some educators suggests that the students of today are intuitive and “native” users of new media formats and tools, we need to better understand the competencies and proficiencies that are required of learners to be literate in this digital age.

What now is the role of school libraries in this digital age? Libraries should support learning where and when it takes place. This means a dynamic, physical learning space and an equally well-designed virtual space, where librarians meet the information needs of teachers and students through curation of digital resources and tools and help students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. How we will get there… THIS is the challenge that I hope to meet through my studies!


A VERY critical reflection on what I have learnt this far:

I am fascinated by the reading provided for Module 1. While the content was not new, I was challenged by so many of the authors to imagine how this digital world can transform our educational institutions and our thinking about learning. I am inspired, but that is the positive side…

It took far too long to read and grasp the required reading. I hope that as I become more familiar with the concepts and academic writing again, that I will be more efficient.

I have not participating in the online discussions yet, because the reading and setting up of the blog took too much time (I will do so this week). I believe as I find my voice I will be bolder, less worried about seeming ignorant and more comfortable with the tools we have been introduced to. I am very excited and in the right place, but still getting up to speed.

REFERENCES:

Thomas, D. (2012, September 12). A new culture of learning [Video file]. Retrieved from
‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM80GXlyX0U’