I’m the TL that works closely with the Year 7 team. All our Year 7 students have one lesson in the library a week and this is where they develop their information literacy skills, they’re introduced to new technology and they learn how to navigate the ever expanding world wide web.
They will be going on a trip in a few weeks to Sydney and Canberra and they will visit all the famous places such as the Australian War Memorial, National Portrait Gallery, Sydney Opera House etc. The Year 7 team stated that in previous years they felt that the students were not getting as much out of the trip as they could be, so we decided to develop a research project aimed at preparing them.
The research project I’m currently working on gives the students the opportunity to get some background information on the places they’re going to visit as well as getting the chance to develop their group work skills by using online collaborative tools. It has been really interesting for me watching how the different classes respond to online collaboration.
Recently, in ETL401 we have begun looking at Guided Inquiry (GI) and I thought that it might be a good opportunity for me to trial some of the ideas my developing through the readings, albeit on a very small scale but I thought I would start looking into how I can alter the project to reflect the ethos of GI.
Kuhlthau, Maniotes and Caspari (2007) state that GI is an extension of KWL, it’s about getting the students to reflect on what they already know and therefore what they want to learn more about. This started got me thinking about how I might take this approach to test the waters with GI and gain an understanding of how we might ultimately implement this on a larger scale.
Our Year 7 students are in the middle of a unit called War and Conflict. I thought it would be useful to incorporate aspects of this into their upcoming trip to the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and take their learning outside the classroom.
My understanding of GI is that we give students more ownership of what they want to learn and get them to be more reflective in their learning. My approach will be to use the KWL chart as a scafold.
We will also focus on asking questions- looking at open and closed questions and how to frame them to help our research.
Once this has been established I intend to show them the AWM website, and make this the starting point for their research, we’ll discuss that they are going there and why it’s important etc. and then make the link between the AWM and their areas of research.
It’s a big plan and there are lots of opportunities for it to fall through, but by testing GI on a very small scale will allow me to see the benefits, potential pitfalls in planning and allow me to better understand how to implement it in the school and introduce it to staff.
Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided Inquiry : Learning in the 21st Century. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group.