1. Take some time to think about your topic. Now write down what you know about it.
I have summarised what I have learnt about inquiry learning so far in the following mindmap:
In addition, this course has enabled me to consider the definition of information. During this process I have learnt that information in not just ‘a thing’ to be sought. It can be knowledge and a learning process. It is not just the textual information that is found in the library or on the Internet. Observational information from the everyday world is also a powerful learning tool, people are informed by objects and events (Buckland 1991). I discovered this recently when I carried out a mini-inquiry with a group of students trying to locate the owner of some lost jewellery during the Brisbane floods. For more information visit the blog.
One of the most interesting aspects of information was the notion that it can be political and I found this very thought provoking. Consequently, I have reflected on my practice and now consider perspectives that are presented and, more importantly, that are silent.
Much of my research centred on the most suitable model for my ILA. After researching different models of inquiry, I believe that the Alberta Model would be most suited to my ILA. The Alberta Model is suitable for primary age children, supports a non-linear approach and provides opportunities for reflective practice. It is also well resourced and supported with online materials. I would use this model if I taught the ILA in the future.
2. How interested are you in this topic? Check (•) one box that best matches your interest.
Not at all ☐ not much ☐ quite a bit ☐ a great deal •
3. How much do you know about this topic? Check (•) one box that best matches how much you know.
Nothing ☐ not much ☐ quite a bit ☐ a great deal •
n.b. However, I feel there is still much to learn and that looking back I did not know much about this topic!
4. Thinking back on your research project, what did you find easiest to do? Please list as many things as you like.
After completing the expert searching tutorials, it was much easier to filter the vast amounts of information on the Internet. I was also able to locate resources to support a favoured model of inquiry easily.
Creating the blog was straightforward and made re-visiting areas of research easier as everything was in one location.
5. Thinking back on your research project, what did you find most difficult to do? Please list as many things as you like.
Evaluating the information found was the most difficult aspect at the initial stages but as the focus of the research became clearer, and relevant information was found, this aspect became easier. I had to keep revisiting information until links were made that were able to provide enough confidence to create new information, or apply it to the task required. For example, at the initial stages I was reluctant to disregard information that I found. As I progressed through the search process and acquired more knowledge, I gained the confidence to discard the least relevant papers.
6. What did you learn in doing this research project? Please list as many things as you like.
The use of expert search strategies greatly enhanced my research. Using each database’s advanced features resulted in more relevant hits and made the research process less problematic. This aspect also gave me confidence when supporting students in their research task. I did find that in order to use the parameters effectively, I had to know about the topic I was researching. So generalised reading was necessary at the initial stages.
A major aspect of my learning occurred through problem solving. Finding ways to upload to the blog, or to present information as required, was challenging at times. Creative thinking was required to overcome battles with file formats that were not accepted on WordPress. I wanted to use WordPress as I was aware that it had advanced features compared to other blogging sites I had used previously. Problems were solved by using the Internet to search for solutions on forums or asking “dumb” questions using the discussion boards or reading other’s posts Facebook. Having a platform to ask questions was a valuable security blanket when taking risks with new software.
Buckland, M. (1991). Information as Thing, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42 (5), 351-360