Peer Feedback

Peer feedback is a valuable way to learn more about this topic by reading and analysing blog posts by other authors, as well as having the opportunity to reflect on and refine one’s own blog posts after receiving comments from others.  Please feel free to add comments and/or questions to any of my posts.

Below, you will find links to two blog posts, which were created by other students of the Master of Education course at QUT.  Under each link, I have reproduced the comments I made for each of these posts.  These comments can also be found on the blogs in question.

1. Nyssa’s annotated bibliography

“You have found a great range of pertinent resources, both Australian and International, including the FitzGerald article, which I also used and found very valuable. Your summaries give me a really good idea of the authors’ goals and focus, with some standing out as must-reads for me in my own research. Having explored Kuhlthau, and Harada and Yoshina, I am keen to dip into Gillon and Stotter, Taylor and Young, Murdoch, and Lehman, in particular. Although my ILA is a Year 10 Geography class, I recently met with the History Co-ordinator to discuss collaborative planning for some History units for next year, with a Guided Inquiry focus. I am really excited (and a bit scared..) about this opportunity, and those resources will prove invaluable, so thank you! Although they are all directly related to History, you have clearly distinguished their varying content, which looks useful in different ways.

If you have time, you might want to edit your summaries to reduce the word count, as some may exceed the recommended length. I would also suggest including the essay as a separate page or post, as it is not easily found from the tabs at the top. One tiny typo in the Callison summary: “exert” instead of “expert”.

By the way, I think your blog looks great. It is clear and easy to read and navigate, plus I love the images :)”

2. Juliette’s Essay

“Juliette, I really enjoyed reading your essay. You have drawn on a wide variety of sources to inform your learning, and have synthesised the authors’ main points in a clear and cohesive fashion. It is great to see how you personally connect with the theories and research mentioned, such as Vygotsky’s Notion of Intervention, and the Goldberg article. Two of the areas upon which you focus – emotions and social context – are crucial to the inquiry process, and you explain this well in your discussion. I liked how you explored Inquiry Learning in general terms, as well as specifically relating this process to your ILA topic of Religion, whilst also examining how more prolific studies, suggestions and frameworks in Humanities subjects can help guide the use of Inquiry Learning in Religion. You concluded your essay strongly, especially by presenting and justifying the Holistic model you will be utiising. I also like this model, as it implies fluidity, as well as connectivity, between stages, it highlights emotions at each stage, and provides clear points of focus along the journey.

You engagement and enthusiasm for Inquiry Learning is evident in your depth of understanding and your writing style and comments. I am sure you will be a fantastic exponent and advocate of IL, and look forward to hearing about your ongoing explorations, practice and experiences in this area.”

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Application of Information-Learning Theories

Reflecting...

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While investigating and researching Guided Inquiry (GI) and Geography, I have been conducting my own inquiry and travelling through the Information Search Process (ISP).  Reflecting on my personal experience in relation to the elements of Kuhlthau’s GI design framework and ISP (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2012), it was useful to be conscious of of my feelings during each stage.  At some stages, my feelings contrasted with Kuhlthau’s generalisations, which demonstrates how students can feel differently from each other at the different stages, and this may vary from task to task.  As a result, it is important for teachers to make students aware that it is expected and natural to experience varying waves of emotion throughout the process, and for teachers to provide adequate support and guidance along the way.  Another discovery for me has been the value of the “open” and “immerse” stages.  For this task, these stages made me excited, engaged and motivated, and gave me useful background information.  As I found the “explore” stage quite difficult and a bit overwhelming, my positive feelings about the previous two stages helped to balance out these feelings.  I have described my journey below:

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Reference
Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2012). Guided inquiry design framework. Retrieved from https://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/docs/websiteGIDFramework.pdf

Essay – Guided Inquiry and Geography

Synthesising

Synthesising

After researching my topic of Guided Inquiry (GI), within the context of the Information Search Process (ISP) (see figure 1, Kuhlthau et al, 2012) and Geography, it appears that the subject area of Geography lends itself very well to the inquiry process, and that there are a growing number of examples of its successful merging in Australia and internationally.  Teachers who have implemented GI in their schools have seen positive results, such as increased student motivation and engagement, deeper understandings, and emotional maturity, but many also suggest that some parts of the process require more time and/or scaffolding.  Some of the obstacles to expanding the incorporation of GI in Geography and other class settings include the lack of teacher training in this area, and the reliance on textbooks.  Below, I will summarise how GI does and can work in Geography classrooms, including discussion of curriculum recommendations and case study findings.

Figure 2: Guided Inquiry

Figure 2: Guided Inquiry

The new Australian Curriculum states:

Geography uses an inquiry approach to assist students to make meaning of their world. It teaches them to respond to questions in a geographically distinctive way, plan an inquiry; collect, evaluate, analyse and interpret information; and suggest responses to what they have learned. (ACARA, 2013)

The term “geographical inquiry” is found in much of the literature and is summarised by the above statement.  Here, one can see that teachers of this subject should already be familiar with the concept of inquiry learning and its benefits to some extent.  However, geographical inquiry generally focuses more on teachers asking the right questions, rather than students exploring a topic and formulating their own (AGTA, 2013); nor does it appear to address students’ emotional journeys through the process, as advocated by Kuhlthau, Maniotes and Caspari (2007, p.16). 

Even with some stages of GI missing from  geographical inquiry, this concept still contains many important elements of the ISP, so why do we not often see it in our schools?  Gillian Kidman explains that geographical inquiry has been included in Australian curricula since the 1970’s but has been rare in practice, due to lack of teacher interest and appropriate qualifications (Kidman, 2012, p.317).  Similarly, Meyerson and Secules (2001) present their findings that inquiry learning takes place best and more often when teachers have adequate training.  These authors suggest professional development which personally introduces them to inquiry learning through collaborative (with other teachers) exploration of controversial issues.

U.K. educator, Margaret Roberts, has developed her own inquiry cycle model for use in Geography classes (See figure 2, Roberts, 2007, p.21).

Figure 1: Framework for learning through inquiry

Figure 2: Framework for learning through inquiry

 

One can see a similar methodology to Kuhlthau’s at the heart of this model, except for the lack of attention to affective behaviours.  Roberts emphasises the importance of a stimulus and initial exploration to “promote curiosity and questions” (Roberts, 2007, p.22).  She also points out the differences between teacher-directed transmission of knowledge and student-directed construction of knowledge, arguing that the latter, inquiry-based approach results in better understanding of the information, as well as the development of information literacy skills (2007, p.23).

Although not explicitly mentioned as part of geographical inquiry, in order to perform a successful Guided Inquiry, it is crucial to address students’ affective development and awareness.  Ann-Margaret Sharp explores this idea in depth, and sees inquiry learning as promoting three kinds of thinking – critical, creative and caring (2007, p.248).  In support of the acknowledgement of an emotional element to the inquiry process, as advocated by Kuhlthau (2007), Branch (2003), and others, this researcher argues that “caring thinking attends to the feelings of students as well as their thinking….When it is embedded in communal dialogical inquiry, it constitutes an education of the emotions, a necessary constituent of global intelligence” (Sharp, 2007, p.248).  In this way, emotions are not only an important part of the information search process, but the development of “caring thinking” itself is crucial for our global, connected students and citizens of the twenty-first century.

Teacher librarians can and should play a vital role in the support, planning, collaboration and implementation of Guided Inquiry.  Lee FitzGerald, and other participants in the 2008 NSW Association of Independent Schools’ GI project, give us many examples of how this is currently working in their Sydney schools (Fitzgerald, 2011), and the results are exciting.  Similarly, Carruthers and Lampe (2011) demonstrate how teacher librarians have successfully worked with class teachers to modify existing programs in order to create more of an inquiry focus.  Following an inquiry process themselves, many of the authors continually reflect and evaluate the students’ journeys and their own roles, and make recommendations for future practitioners.  For example, Branch advises that students need more time, practice and support when formulating a focus of inquiry and when searching for information in texts (Branch, 2003, p.60).

The future looks bright for GI in the Geography classroom, as long as teachers are encouraged to promote it through adequate training and professional development, and as long as careful attention is paid to possible needs for extra scaffolding and support at each step of the ISP.  The Geography section of the new Australian Curriculum prioritises inquiry as one of the two overarching strands (ACARA, 2013).  This gives teacher librarians an ideal opportunity to promote Guided Inquiry to Geography teachers, and support them to co-develop stimulating and meaningful programs.

References
ACARA (2013). The Australian Curriculum v5.1 Geography: Rationale. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Geography/Rationale
Australian Geography Teachers Association (2013). GeogSpace. Retrieved from http://www.geogspace.edu.au/support-units/
Branch, J. L. (2003). Instructional intervention is the key: Supporting adolescent information seeking. School Libraries Worldwide, 9(2), 47-61.
Carruthers, C., & Lampe, K. (2011). Taking on inquiry in Iowa. School Library Monthly, 28(1), 14-16.
Fitzgerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: Guiding student inquiry and evidence based practice. Scan, 30(1), 26-41.
Kidman, G. (2012). Geographical inquiry in Australian schools: a retrospective analysis. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 21(4), 311-319.
Kuhlthau, C. C., Caspari, A. K., & Maniotes, L. K. (2007). Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.
Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2012). Guided inquiry design framework. Retrieved from https://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/docs/websiteGIDFramework.pdf
Meyerson, P., & Secules, T. (2001). Inquiry cycles can make social studies meaningful: Learning about the controversy in Kosovo. The Social Studies, 92(6), 267-271.
Roberts, M. (2007). Geographical inquiry: an approach to teaching and learning geography. Interaction, 35(3), 21-23.
Sharp, A. (2007). Education of the emotions in the classroom community of inquiry. Gifted Education International, 22, 248-257.
 

Information Analysis

Evaluating...

Evaluating…

When searching for useful, high quality information using academic databases, as opposed to Google, some information analysis is already done for you.  Firstly, most documents that appear are professionally published articles, and secondly, to guarantee high quality, most databases I used, such as ProQuest and A+ Education, allow the user to limit the search to peer-reviewed articles only.  Most databases also highlighted my search terms in the summary or abstract, so I could quickly get  an idea of relevance to my information need.  Google required a bit more effort, in terms of determining relevance, availability and quality, as the documents encompassed a much greater range, including blogs, slideshows and unreliable websites.  All documents found in my annotated bibliography are sources I judged to be relevant, useful and of high quality.

Analysis and evaluation of information is a crucial stage in the information seeking process, but there are many guides and models available to help with this task.  I chose to use the CRAP test (currency, reliability, authority, purpose), because it encompasses Kuhlthau, Maniotes and Caspari’s concepts for evaluating sources (expertise, accuracy, currency, perspective, quality) (2007, p.85), and it is easy and fun to remember, so I think it would work well with the high school students I teach.  Below, I will set out two  examples of using the CRAP test with some online sources I found during my search for inquiry learning in middle / high school Geography.

This Glogster was created by Dianne McKenzie and is used here with permission. Retrieved from http://libguides.tigs.nsw.edu.au/content.php?pid=234350&sid=1939059

1. GeogSpace

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 11.01.48 AM

2. Article: FitzGerald, The Twin Purposes of Guided Inquiry

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 11.07.46 AM

Table showing information analysis/evaluation using CRAP test:

CRAP test sample

References

Australian Geography Teachers Association (2013). GeogSpace. Retrieved from http://www.geogspace.edu.au/support-units/

Fitzgerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: Guiding student inquiry and evidence based practice. Scan, 30(1), 26-41.

The Illawarra Grammar School (2013, May 28). CRAP Test – Evaluating Information. Retrieved from http://libguides.tigs.nsw.edu.au/content.php?pid=234350&sid=1939059

Kuhlthau, C. C., Caspari, A. K., & Maniotes, L. K. (2007). Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Table of Sequence of Expert Search Strings

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Annotated Bibliography

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1. Australian Geography Teachers Association (2013). GeogSpace. Retrieved from http://www.geogspace.edu.au

I found this site extremely useful, especially the pages “Professional Practice” and “Geographical Inquiry” in the “Support Units” section.  Here, the authors show how Inquiry is interpreted in relation to Geography in the Australian Curriculum, explain the specific nature of “geographical inquiry,” and give many relevant resource links.

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2. Australian Library and Information Association, & Australian School Library Association (2009). ALIA/ASLA policy on guided inquiry and the curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines/aliaasla-policy-guided-inquiry-and-curriculum

This 2009 policy document, produced by ALIA/ASLA, outlines purpose, principles and vision statements for the use of guided inquiry in Australian schools.  It emphasises the role of the school library and teacher librarian, and is a useful and important reference for planning and promoting guided inquiry within a school.

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3. Branch, J. L. (2003). Instructional intervention is the key: Supporting adolescent information seeking. School Libraries Worldwide, 9(2), 47-61.

This resource contains a study of two junior high classes in Canada, each being guided through the information search process.  I chose it because it gives a practical example of how to successfully facilitate guided inquiry, and follows Kuhlthau’s ISP, focussing on cognitive as well as affective behaviours.  The author argues that a certain amount of instruction is needed when guiding adolescents through the ISP, and gives examples of how this can be done in a scaffolded way.

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4. Carruthers, C., & Lampe, K. (2011). Taking on inquiry in Iowa. School Library Monthly, 28(1), 14-16.

I chose this resource because it gives examples of how teacher librarians have effectively collaborated with class teachers to give pre-existing units more of an inquiry focus.  The promotion of higher-order thinking through the inquiry process is also discussed, as well as the importance of students developing their own essential questions, and creating authentic projects and/or solving real-world problems.

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5. Fitzgerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: Guiding student inquiry and evidence based practice. Scan, 30(1), 26-41.

This article contains reflections from many NSW teachers about their experiences with guided inquiry.  Apart from these useful summaries, I selected this article as it contains a detailed case study of a guided inquiry with a Year 11 History class.  As well as explaining the stages of the process, the author also evaluated several aspects of the guided inquiry, through observation and use of the SLIM toolkit with students.  Her findings include a need for students to obtain a general overview of a topic, before burrowing through detailed information, as well as a need for further experience in developing their own questions, and dealing with information overload and underload.

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6. Kidman, G. (2012). Geographical inquiry in Australian schools: a retrospective analysis. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 21(4), 311-319.

Kidman points out that, although inquiry learning may be and has been advocated in state and/or national curriculum documents for some time, in reality it has not been commonly practised in Australian schools.  She argues that a major reason for this is the lack of teacher knowledge and interest.  Partially, this is due to Geography not always being taught by specialist Geography teachers, and more importantly, due to lack of training in inquiry learning.  To me, this is further evidence of the importance of class teachers working in collaboration with teacher librarians / inquiry experts.

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7. Kinniburgh, J. (2010). A constructivist approach to using GIS in the New Zealand classroom. New Zealand Geographer, 66, 74-84.

This is one of several articles I found relating to inquiry learning in Geography, utilising the Geographic Information System (GIS).  The author explains that although not originally intended as an inquiry tool, this powerful, interactive technology can, however, be adapted well to fit into inquiry learning, as it encourages the construction of meaning and communication through multidimensional interactions.

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8. Meyerson, P., & Secules, T. (2001). Inquiry cycles can make social studies meaningful: Learning about the controversy in Kosovo. The Social Studies, 92(6), 267-271.

I found this article very interesting, as it examines a professional development program for teachers, which introduces them to inquiry learning through exploring controversial issues.  Teachers who participated gained a new understanding of inquiry learning from a student perspective, and more fully appreciated the engagement and deep understandings possible.  This kind of program would be a useful,  fun and meaningful way to promote inquiry learning to teachers

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9. Roberts, M. (2007). Geographical inquiry: an approach to teaching and learning geography. Interaction, 35(3), 21-23.

Roberts presents her own 4-stage, cyclical model of inquiry related to geography, focussing on: creating a need to know, using data, making sense of data, and reflecting on learning.  She also compares teaching geography in a traditional, transmission approach, with an inquiry approach, at each of these stages, by way of descriptions and a table.  The author emphasises how students are more active in the construction of knowledge, and learn information skills as well as knowledge, through inquiry learning.  This is a particularly useful article for me, as it directly applies inquiry learning to geographical skills and understanding.

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10. Sharp, A. (2007). Education of the emotions in the classroom community of inquiry. Gifted Education International, 22, 248-257.

This article is an important reminder of the importance of emotions in inquiry learning.  The author argues that emotions are not only an important aspect of the information seeking process, but that inquiry learning actually helps to develop students’ emotional intelligence.

Search String Mind Map

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