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School Library Conference (WA) AUTHENTIC RESEARCH AND AUTHENTIC LEARNING THROUGH SCHOOL LIBRARIES. DR ROSS TODD Associate Professor Department of Library and Information science Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey rtodd@scils.rutgers.edu scils.rutgers.edu/~rtodd.

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school library conference wa authentic research and authentic learning through school libraries
School Library Conference (WA) AUTHENTIC RESEARCH AND AUTHENTIC LEARNING THROUGH SCHOOL LIBRARIES

DR ROSS TODD

Associate Professor

Department of Library and

Information science

Rutgers, The State University

of New Jersey

rtodd@scils.rutgers.edu

scils.rutgers.edu/~rtodd

slide2

Advice is like snow -- the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

what is authentic learning
What is Authentic Learning?
  • learning which emphasizes “meaningful, authentic activities that help the learner to construct understandings and develop skills relevant to problem solving”
  • learning activities that closely resemble the ways that students will be expected to use their knowledge and skills in the real world
slide4

Keys to

Authentic Learning:

The heart of the

Information Age School Library

slide5

1. Authentic learning is an active search for meaning by the learner

  • Focus on development of personal knowing / meaning / understanding through active engagement with information (sources, people, popular culture)
  • From “fill up” to engagement
  • Students are creators, not replicators of knowledge
  • Developing in students the willand the motivationto know through engagement with information sources and information technology
getting into research
GETTING INTO RESEARCH
  • Students fail as researchers often because of the nature of the task set for them: replication vs construction
  • Does it matter if they never ever know?
  • Whose interests are being served here?
  • What are the cognitive, technical, evaluative demands embedded in the task?
  • How are you going to engage them in building new knowledge for themselves, rather than producing information for you?
  • How can you be certain that students have the range of information scaffolds to complete the task to your specification?
  • How do you accommodate for the cognitive, affective and behavioural demands of undertaking library / internet research?
martin luther king jr an historical examination
Martin Luther King Jr:An Historical Examination
  • http://www.martinlutherking.org/
the research process
THE RESEARCH PROCESS
  • Simple and superficial view of research, without understanding the complex dynamics of research involving behaviours, cognitions and feelings
  • It is more complex than: Finding, Locating, Selecting, Organising, Presenting, Assessing
slide11
Model of the Information Search Process

Tasks Initiation Selection Exploration Formulation Collection Presentation

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------→

Feelings uncertainly optimism confusion clarity sense of satisfaction or

(affective) frustration direction/ disappointment

doubt confidence

Thoughts vague-------------------------------------→focused

(cognitive) -----------------------------------------------→

increased interest

Actions seeking relevant information----------------------------→seeking pertinent information

(physical) exploring documenting

Carol Kuhlthau: “Seeking Meaning”

stages of the isp
Stages of the ISP
  • Effective information seeking occurs in seven stages: Initiation, Selection, Exploration, Formulation, Collection, Presentation, and Assessment. These stages are named for the primary task to be accomplished at each point in the process.
  • Initiation: when confronted with an information need, students contemplate what they already know, what they want and need to find out
  • Selection: students identify and select general topics which will guide their information seeking to satisfy their information need.
  • Exploration: students investigate information on a general topic in order to extend personal understanding and to form a focus
slide13
In all three of the beginning stages of the ISP students often experience confusion, uncertainty, and apprehension.
  • Formulation: students become aware of the various dimensions, issues, ramifications of the initiating question and begin to form their own focused perspective of the subject under study.
  • Collection: students gather information that defines, extends and supports the focus that they have formed. Interest and confidence commonly increases as they gain a sense of ownership and expertise in the subject.
  • Presentation:students prepare to apply / share what they have discovered.
  • Assessment: students reflect on what they have learned to discover what went well and what might be improved.
slide14
Model of the Information Search Process

Tasks Initiation Selection Exploration Formulation Collection Presentation

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------→

Feelings uncertainly optimism confusion clarity sense of satisfaction or

(affective) frustration direction/ disappointment

doubt confidence

Thoughts vague-------------------------------------→focused

(cognitive) -----------------------------------------------→

increased interest

Actions seeking relevant information----------------------------→seeking pertinent information

(physical) exploring documenting

Carol Kuhlthau: “Seeking Meaning”

uncertainty principle
Uncertainty Principle

The affective symptoms of uncertainty, confusion, and frustration are associated with vague, unclear thoughts about a topic or question. As knowledge states shift to more clearly focused thoughts, a parallel shift occurs in feelings of increased confidence.

KEY INDICATOR OF RESEARCH INTERVENTION

uncertainty principle16
UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE

Initiation Exploration Focus Selection Presentation

2 authentic learning is about making and maintaining connections
Linking information to knowledge

Linking mind and environment

Linking self and others

Linking deliberation and action

Linking actions and outcomes

Development of information scaffolds

Promoting an empowerment model towards knowledge construction, rather than a deficiency notion

Gathering evidence on learning needs in relation to building knowledge

2. Authentic learning is about making and maintaining connections
what is constructivist learning
What is constructivist Learning?
  • “Learning is a personal and social construction of meaning out of the bewildering array of sensations which have no order or stature besides the explanations which we fabricate for them”
  • “Constructing meaning is learning. There is no other kind”.

(Professor George E Hein, director of the Program Evaluation and Research Group at Lesley College, Cambridge, MA, USA)

the moon or a studio in the nevada desert http www primeline america com moon ldg
The Moon or a Studio in the Nevada Desert?http://www.primeline-america.com/moon-ldg/
points to consider
Points to Consider
  • Doing research is not highlighting photocopied text from books or web pages
  • Recognise the distinction between “reporting” and “researching”: Most information skills models emphasise reporting and not researching
  • How do you move students who perceive task of searching as primarily one of gathering information to a task of forming a focused perspective from the information encountered?
  • How do you develop formal interventions which enable students to stay focused and not detract from the learning task at hand?
  • Making provision for situations that promote seeking a focus during a search?
3 authentic learning is developmental
3. Authentic learning is developmental
  • Cumulative process, building to greater richness, complexity and application;
  • Knowledge growth is gradual: advancement, consolidation, reinforcement;
  • Tracking student development of understanding, meaning and competence, and providing feedback.

INTERVENTION IN THE RESEARCH PROCESS

learning intervention
LEARNING INTERVENTION
  • Do not abandon them at the most complex, difficult time of construction (analysis, synthesis, constructing the product)
  • Proposal submissions – advice on structure, organisation and conceptualisation
  • Provide focused class-time for writing and engage with students in the writing process
  • Provide more practice in developing arguments: working with claims, backing, rebuttals, evidence
  • Provide clear understanding of assessment criteria – use of rubrics
  • Peer-editing sessions
slide29
GSB PRESS Farmer’s Wife De-Tails Mice

London (ITI Press, 1st January, 2003) In a case that is causing a sensation throughout the English countryside, Mary Giles, wife of Middlesex farmer Herman Giles, was arrested on Thursday by the local police for deliberately torturing three small gray mice. According to police reports, Giles was caught in the act of cutting the tails off the mice by a neighboring milkmaid, Bertha White. This action prompted White to contact the local animal control authorities who commented, “Killing mice is not a crime, but deliberately inflicting pain and suffering on God’s small creatures is a travesty.”

As a result of the incident, local children have begun following Giles, who has now been released on bail, and singing this catchy ditty:

Three blind mice, three blind mice, See how they run, see how they run. They all ran after the farmer’s wife, Who cut off their tails with a carving knife. Did you ever see such a sight in your life, As three blind mice.

slide30
While there has been some doubt raised as to whether the mice were actually blind or whether Giles had blinded the mice, the question that is echoing through the nation is: “Why did the farmer’s wife cut off the tails of the three mice in question?”

Your task is to write a one page paper answering this question. Its purpose is to demonstrate your ability to construct an argument. An argument typically makes some key claims, establishes authority to make claims, provides evidence to support the claims, and shows understanding of both the contextual elements surrounding the issue, and what might be some of the counter claims.

developing the argument
Developing the Argument
  • Creative, thinking outside the box
  • Good at establishing the background / context for argument
  • Tend to give lots of reasons rather than stating a claim or position and supporting it (ie. lots of claims)
  • Multiple claims or reasons, without back up, is not an argument. These are lists of guesses
  • Need to address the question asked: it did not ask you, for example, to talk about how cruelty to animals is wrong, or look at the history of the verse
  • Some managed to make a good claim, but did not support it with argument. Need to work on extending the arguments in a sustained way; bring in concrete evidence
developing the argument32
Developing the Argument
  • Lack of back-up and evidence. Some depicted a very interesting and vivid story but did not explain why the story could be true.
  • Use of words such as “may’, ‘might”, and “seems” do not show taking a stance for the sake of an argument
  • Some tried to analyze rather than argue.
  • Use weak assumption, such as “ any normal person would not commit such an cruel act.”
  • The claim cannot explain the phenomenon. For example, one student said “Mary is irrational and crazy because she cut off the mice tails.”
proposal submissions
Proposal Submissions
  • Formulating the research question and / or hypothesis. What are you curious about? What is your informed guess that answers a “why” or “how question”?
  • What is your engaging question?
  • Is the question too broad or too narrow?
  • Identify 4 words and / or terms that are critical to the research; use these words
  • Provide a working bibliography that demonstrates focus on the research
4 authentic learning and research requires ownership
4. Authentic learning and research requires ownership
  • Activities which enrich formal investigation: constructing the compelling question and the personal creative title
  • Inclusion and reporting of personal engagement with primary sources: interview, data gathering, simple experimentation, analysis of external documents, site visits.
  • Links to real world issues that matter
  • Integration of information and data to construct personal position
5 authentic learning requires intervention
5. Authentic Learning requires Intervention
  • Feedback  sustained learning; Practice  nourishing learning; Opportunities to use  meaningful learning
  • Evidence-based feedback on progress towards meeting learning standards: feedback on mastery of information scaffolds
  • Evidence-based recursive process of needs analysis and improvement
  • Encouragement and support for learning goals
the gladstone nj project
The Gladstone NJ Project
  • To understand what happens in students’ minds as they search for and make use of information to build their own knowledge in print / electronic information environments

- to understand more fully the knowledge construction process

- to identify patterns of subject access during the search process – through digital, print and personal sources

- to identify patterns of cognitive intents during the search process

sample
SAMPLE
  • 43 Grade 9 students at Gill St Bernards’ School, Gladstone NJ (21 girls, 22 boys)
  • Semester long course: “Research Project”
  • School librarian / teacher collaboration
  • Instructional Intervention: Understanding Information Search Process, Web searching, information analysis and note taking
  • 2 phases of course: Instructional intervention culminating in major oral presentation (7 weeks); guided free-choice research paper (7 weeks) within the theme: “Celebration in Culture”
data collection
DATA COLLECTION

1. Written protocol at three key stages in the Information Search Process (Initiation, Formulation, Presentation)

  • Structured search logs kept by each student during the progress of assignment
  • Affective Domain statement and Next Task statement
  • Product analysis at completion of the assignment
written protocols
WRITTEN PROTOCOLS
  • Free generation: to uncover respondents’ base knowledge

- How they label their project

- Recording all that they know about their topic

- Why chosen topic

- Perception of how much they know about their topic

- Aspects of research process that they will enjoy most and least

measuring change in knowledge
MEASURING CHANGE IN KNOWLEDGE
  • Number of concepts – isolated or embedded in propositional statements
  • Number of propositional statements
  • Analysis of propositions:

- Properties: describes characteristics

- Manner: describe processes, styles, actions

- Reason: explanations of how and why

- Outcome: end result

- Causality: some event causally leads to another

- Set Membership: class inclusion

- Implication: source idea and end idea exist at same time

- Value judgment: personal position or viewpoint

  • Coherence and structural centrality:

- discrete ideas, unrelated

- some coherent structure, interrelatedness

- high level of coherence, structural centrality

structured search logs
STRUCTURED SEARCH LOGS
  • List the words you used to look for information.(These are the words you put into the school library catalog, or a search engine on the WWW, or look up an index )
  • Source used (give its citation)
  • What were you hoping this information would enable you to do? For each source, write one or more of the numbers from the list below that match best what were you hoping this information would enable you to do?(Cognitive Intents)
  • For each source, give it a rating of its usefulness to you in doing the topic: Very useful; Somewhat useful; Not useful at all. (Utility measure)
cognitive intents what were you hoping this information would enable you to do
find some new facts about my topic

get some background information on my topic

develop my particular theme more

get more specific details about facts I already know

help me find some connections between facts I already have

correct some ideas I know are wrong

change my mind about some of my ideas

help me find out if some ideas I already have are right or wrong

help me feel stronger about some of my ideas

see if some guesses I have made are right

work out if I should stick with my ideas / viewpoint

sort out some vague ideas I have about the topic

find some explanations for the ideas I have

find some different viewpoints about the topic

clarify things I didn’t fully understand before

help me work out what my viewpoint is on the topic

help me form an opinion on the topic

come to some conclusion about these ideas

work out if I agree or disagree with the ideas I have

find an argument to back up my ideas

other

Cognitive intents:What were you hoping this information would enable you to do?
affective domain and task analysis
AFFECTIVE DOMAIN AND TASK ANALYSIS
  • Date
  • Write one sentence about how you are feeling about your project
  • My next task is ….
  • CODING: confident, disappointed, frustrated, relieved, confused, doubtful, optimistic, satisfied, uncertain, sure, other
intervention matters
INTERVENTION MATTERS
  • Increase in number of propositional statements
  • Initial representations primarily property (is a), manner
  • Final representations: reasons, outcomes, causality, implications, predictive, reflective (increased complexity)
  • Higher levels of conceptual coherence and structural centrality
  • Cognitive intents: From initiation to formulation : getting a bigger picture (building background) getting a changed picture (correcting misinformation); getting a verified picture (confirming existing ideas)
  • From formulation to presentation: getting a bigger picture, getting a clearer picture, getting a position in a picture)
intervention matters47
INTERVENTION MATTERS
  • “I have learned many things about the research process after completing this project. The tracking sheets showed me that organization is important when researching. It helped me manage the time and showed me just how ind-epth my knowledge became. Another good thing was that there was always help available from the teachers and librarians”
intervention matters48
INTERVENTION MATTERS

“The entire research process is tiring and long, but in the end it was worth it. Doing a research paper sounds like a lot of work, but when it is broken down into steps, and help is provided along the way, it is much easier. I was surprised this morning when I saw my finished product. I said to myself ‘WOW, I did it!’ When you go according to a plan, everything will turn out peachy”

intervention matters49
INTERVENTION MATTERS

“I learned how easy it is to write a six page paper if you do the research this way. The outline and proposals were probably the most helpful. The note cards were a good way to record the important ideas and to organize them in ways so that they make sense. I learned heaps about my topic. I also liked the help the librarians provided”

intervention matters50
INTERVENTION MATTERS

“Being given guidelines on research and understanding the process, this helped me in many ways. I liked the sorting and categorizing. This helped me organize my ideas. I liked how we had many deadlines. Each time something was due, it gave me a better idea of how I was doing and I always had an idea of what I had to do next.”

intervention matters51
INTERVENTION MATTERS

“This was a very exhausting process, but none the less, it was all worth it. I finally learned how to write a proper paper, not only for research, but any paper in general. I got to spend quality time with my teacher and librarian. The three things I enjoyed in writing and research are reading the books, making an outline, and LEARNING. I definitely learned a lot – both about my interesting topic, and the research to make it happen”.

intervention matters52
INTERVENTION MATTERS

“A six page research paper scared the bloody crap out of me, but with the help I got while doing the project, I knew I could do it. This project opened me to new ideas, and how to write my own ideas and thoughts based on them. I enjoyed recording my thoughts because I like to express how I am feeling during the process. This allowed my teachers and librarians to know my thinking throughout the course and to guide me better”

intervention matters53
INTERVENTION MATTERS
  • The whole process has taught me to take good notes and keep track of all my sources, and in the end, having to write the paper was the easiest part. Though I simply hated doing them, the note cards helped me organize my ideas really well and got me to being able to sort out all my ideas that made sense, (my teacher thought so too YEAH!! ): ): and the outline helped me organize my thoughts.
assessment for inquiry and meaning
ASSESSMENT FOR INQUIRY AND MEANING
  • Focus on knowledge construction, not reproduction
  • Focus on knowledge, not information
  • Feedback on scaffolding: conceptual, technical and evaluative process
  • Problem solving, higher-order thinking skills and deep understanding are emphasized
  • Foster reflective practice: creating a culture of student reflection (actions, behaviors, feelings)
  • Provide self-analytical tools eg rubrics
  • Diagnostic: attempts to remedy learner errors and misconceptions – do something about the problems
6 learning is strongly affected by educational climate in which it takes place
6. Learning is strongly affected by educational climate in which it takes place

An effective educational climate for authentic research is one that:

  • values academic and personal success and intellectual inquiry;
  • involves all constituents in contributing to effective student learning;
  • gives a sense of feeling connected, cared for and trusted.

THIS IS KEY TO THE LIBRARY’S ROLE

slide56

Is your library a hotbed of learning activism?

  • To inspire engagement with research, the library needs to be a space where students can encounter alternative perspectives and challenge conventional views – in safety and respect?
  • Does the library provide opportunities for students to test the application of new knowledge?
  • Can students share experiences that have shaped learning and identities with others?
  • Can students unlearn personal views and approaches when confronted by new information?
slide57

“Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute. What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

slide58

Only engage and then the mind grows heated ….

… Begin and then the work will be completed”