DEC Scan Journal : February 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 1 February 2011 30 Loreto Kiribilli case study The 2010 Loreto Kirribilli Year 11 modern historical investigation: guiding student inquiry and collecting data about student learning research task was carried out in May/June. The task was undertaken to show how GI methods facilitate student enquiry. A wiki, available at <http://11modernbleby.pbworks. com>, shows all the steps of the investigation. The modern historical investigation, mandatory in NSW schools, allows students to choose an area of interest which contains historical debate, within the constraints of the syllabus, to research widely and deeply to develop their own inquiry question. The final product of this guided effort is a scholarly essay, in which students answer their own question, using scholarly conventions such as footnotes. Both process and product are marked in this task. Teachers marked the essays and the teacher librarian marked the process. Cross-marking of the essays allowed the teacher librarian to see the impact of process on product. TTeachers and teacher librarians have collaborated over the last three years to work out the best way of presenting this GI. The front page of the wiki contains a brief description of the project and the essential dates. Accessed from the side bar are the tasks elements: • the task itself • reflection sheets • peer evaluation • self reflections • annotated notetaking grids • resources which include The research river, developing questions, essay planning, writing footnotes. In this enquiry, each student had her own page which contained: • her daily learning journal • uploaded reflection sheets as required • developing notetaking grids • feedback from teachers and teacher librarian • feedback from peers, using the comment function of wiki. Reflection sheets Reflection sheets provided information for interventions required (individual and group), as well as data to be analysed using the SLIM Toolkit. This is the essence of the twin purposes of GI scaffolding. Evidence based practice It is important to add at this stage that the evidence based practice was a simple second use of the scaffolding of the task. This is a very small scale study, of what is a very high quality GI in terms of the output of students, which was carried out in two classes, using a wiki and in identical fashion. There was no time, however, to analyse the responses of the second class. The following analysis was a by product of the task itself, as data for the analysis was part of the task. 1. What do you know about your topic? We wanted students to synthesise their growing understandings of their topic inawaythatwasnotanaddontothe task, as experience from the 2008 GI showed us that students resent taking the time to write their understanding of the topic on three separate occasions. This question was adminis- tered in Reflection sheet 1 at initiation and at formulation. At collection, students wrote an essay plan, which was useful to them to organise the information, but not useful to us in data collection. Lastly, for Question 1, we analysed the essays themselves. This was a sure guide to student growth towards deep knowledge, executed with real purpose and a reliable guide to what they ended up knowing about their topics. 2. Have you any particular difficulties relating to your topic? This question was administered at Reflection sheet 1, 2 and 3 (just before presentation), as we wanted information from students as to what interventions they needed on a personal and class basis. This is essential to GI in its first purpose, guiding the inquiry of students by Goals of case study We observed the research process used by students involved in open- ended enquiry supported by Guided Inquiry scaffolding, in particular: • to measure changes in knowledge as students pass through the stages of the Information search process, in terms of the type of statements students make about their topic i.e. by observing how often they make factual statements, explanations or conclusions. • to find out what students find difficult when researching and to compare this with expressed learnings at the end of the project. • to gather reflections on the Information search process (ISP). Research questions 1. What do you know about your topic? 2. Have you any particular difficulties relating to your topic? 3. What have you learnt from this Guided Inquiry? 4. Describe your feelings as you progressed through the stages of the Information search process -- initiation, selection, formulation/ exploration, collection and presentation. Research columns ...a sure guide to student growth towards deep knowledge...