DEC Scan Journal : February 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 1 February 2011 36 Concluding statement: implications for practice at Loreto Kirribilli Naturally it would not be practical to include all the elements of a open ended GI every time students do tasks. Combined with wiki, however, it is the perfect way to do the quite regular open-ended research tasks that come up in for example, Senior Geography project, Year 11 modern and ancient historical investigations. In more regular tasks, where the question is given, and the scope of the research is the same for each students, it is clear that there are benefits in teaching students how to search at the various steps in their information process. It also appears that students need more experience in: • developing their own questions • dealing with information overload, underload and uneven quality • working on an ongoing basis from the beginning of a task to force synthesis of information to enable students to make explanations and conclusions. As far as this teacher librarian is concerned, accompanying students right through this learning journey, showed me that my resourcing changed in each individual case, mirroring each student's journey to defining question and locating the area of debate. I found the work intense as I helped them with online databases, using our own and the State Library's excellent range, trying to help students locate the perfect piece that might have been missing, for example, the Siege of Malta question which was completely missing the Maltese reaction side, and it took the student and me a very long time to locate the missing links. It was a very big workload, but to have students begin to understand the role of the library in helping them research was rewarding. Impact of Guided Inquiry on Sydney schools A summary follows of developments in some of the participating schools since 2008. After last year's staff presentation there has been a lot more interest. I have assisted in the Year 7 classes repeat GI unit but, as it was running at the same time as I was taking Year 8 Science and Year 5/6 for Murder under the Microscope, I only guided their work and did not do action research. Year 5 also did an inquiry unit but, as the teachers wanted the students to answer their questions, it was not true Guided Inquiry. I am doing Guided Inquiry action research with a Year 10 Commerce class. They are doing the optional unit of work called, Issues in Australia, and I am getting some remarkable areas of interest and some excellent questions. One girl is looking at State rail infrastructure and possibilities of improved services! She has made an online survey that I shared in the school newsletter. Frank Pirozzo came for a day of staff development in July, and I have used his wheel of verbs and activities to help them compose their questions (Blooms). This is great! I continue to use the scaffolds from the Ban those bird units book (Loertscher, Koechlin & Zwaan, 2005) and these are particularly useful for issues. Again this is all being done using a wiki and the students, being more mature than the Year 7 students with whom I am accustomed to having for GI, have been working hard and not spending huge amounts of time on each other's pages. We will do peer evaluation later so they read a few more issues closely. The class teacher came with me to the March AIS Day with Ross Todd. We are working so well together. He read up on the theory, followed through with planning, and then set up and runs the wiki himself. He taught the previous unit of work on a wiki to get students used to them before they had to tackle GI at the same time. He actually set a few of the scaffolds as minor assessments, which really got the students moving with background information, etc. We are up to the collection stage and moving along quite well. A lot more teachers are using wikis now after seeing me work with them. They then show their peers too. Almost every day a teacher asks for help to set up a wiki or a blog and things are really moving along well as far as integration of technology. I am constantly overwhelmed with the workload. Although, I have to admit I am enjoying it! Broughton Anglican College -- Alinda Sheerman reports ...there are benefits in teaching students how to search...