Do you want fries with that?

Tick…tick…tick – clack.

The hour hand finally falls into its overdue position. Just enough time has passed so that you can dash out without receiving any snickers and sideways glances from your co-workers. Halfway home, the idea of relaxing and sinking into your favourite spot is dashed away. The demand of preparing dinner crosses your mind. Two options present themselves, one that alludes to being quick and easy, and the other appearing to require a little more preparation and time on your part. Exhausted and totally unenthusiastic about the prospect of investing anymore of your time and energy, you chose option one.

There is but a brief moment when no one is talking. The static from the intercom fills the void. “Do you want fries with that?” cuts the silence. Before long you are back on the road, paper bag and disposable cup in hand. Bubbles dances across your tongue and the fizz tickles your senses as you suck back on your soda. With a smile of contentment you head for your favourite spot.

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Image Source: The Hamster Factor – Drive Thru (Flicker: https://goo.gl/fid01Z)

William Badke nailed it!

We are creatures of habit.

We are creatures of comfort.

Most importantly we are creatures of convenience.

This week’s readings had us indulge on the topics of copyright practices and evaluating and curating online resources. As I navigated the streets of these readings, I found myself left with a bad taste in my mouth.

Why?

I had come to realize that I am just as guilty as any other when it comes to the act of indulging in convenience. All the while playing the ignorance card and turning a blind eye to the truth. My menu options were skewed and clouded with the need for convenience.

Are yours?

In the article, The Convenience Factor in Information Seeking, William Badke paints a very clear message. We are creatures of convenience. Our learners are creatures of convenience. When it comes to seeking out information online, Badke states “convenience trumps all other reasons for selecting and using a source (2014, p.68).

Convenience = going to the drive thru instead of prepping and cooking dinner when you get home.

Convenience = using generic search engines to seek information online. Using copyrighted materials because a lack of convenience (the time to read and understand, the time to seek out materials that are not copyright restricted)

Quality

Zipping into the fast food lane certainly satisfies my desire for convenience. It also satisfies my need for consumption (consumption of brain food, educational resources/ Information). However, it is achieved by drawing upon resources that are not of the highest standards and quality. As Badke suggests, they are merely “pretty good” (2014, p.69).  Debbie Abilock, agrees with Badake. The act of pursuing convenience does play a large role in the information gathering process. In her article, How can students know whether the information they find online is true – or not, she indicates that “realistically, we have neither the time not the patience to analyze every source and fact thoroughly” (2012, p.71).

Fast Food = convenient way to obtain “food.” However its quality pails in comparison to picking up fresh produce and preparing it at home.

Fast Food = Sources of information that are lacking in credibility, accuracy, reliability, relevance, expertise [Bromann-Bender 2013, p.42, Abilock 2012, p.71, Badke 2014, p.69]. Using sources of information and not adhering to the copyright. 

So. What’s the big deal? This one time, I was too tired to cook so I went to the drive thru.

Bad taste in the mouth reason 1:

Truth is – we are creatures of habit – it wasn’t just this one time nor will it ever just be ‘this one time’.

As the articles written by J. Bromann-Bender (2013), Badke (2014), L. Hay and C. Folley (2009), and A. Zmuda and V.H. Harada (2008), explain it is imperative that we change our diet. We stop feasting on the convenient buffet of drive thru lanes positioned so perfectly on our route, and start educating ourselves and our students how to feed our brains and our research ethically and effectively.

Bad taste in the mouth reason 2:

Though fast food is convenient and alludes to being fast. Everyone knows that in the long run, all it does is leave you needing more. I am sure you have the shared experience that when you eat at one of those places in a matter of hours you find yourself digging around in the cupboards at home looking for snacks. Your appetite is never fully satisfied. Not to mention, should you attempt to eat while driving, you may end up with a disaster on your hands (caught violating copyright). Spilled soda or perhaps a pesky ketchup drip on your new shirt. The only thing that was keeping you going that day, looking good in your new shirt, now ruined.

Just don’t do it.

It is easy to follow the car in front of you, to get in the stream. What’s the harm, everyone else is doing it.

I call this the lemmings’ road to convenience.

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Image Source: Andrew Barclay – lemming (Flicker: https://goo.gl/NyWhXG)

The harm is that you now know better.

Don’t be a lemming, unless you’re going to be the one blocking the way.

As J. Valenza states in the article Curration, “human filters make a difference. Librarians can be filters in the best sense of the word” (2012, p.20). We need to teach ourselves, teach our colleagues and teach ourselves to steer clear of convenience. In so doing, it is vital that researchers in all stages of life and learning be shown the value in searching curated electronic databases. I can assure you these databases rarely provide misleading information ultimately resulting in futile research attempts (awareness of the electronic databases presented in Lamb, 2013).

Image Sources: Pleuntje – Search (Flicker: https://goo.gl/OpvKjd), Jaime – andes, ny (Flicker: https://goo.gl/2wwLvS), Rachel – misleadning  (Flicker: https://goo.gl/J6LMqo)

It is easy to blame others and seek the path of least resistance. However, you are in the driver’s seat. The choice is yours and yours alone. Are you going to continue going to the drive thru “just this once” or are you going to make the active and necessary change to get home and cook for yourself?

I’ve decided to wait until I get home.


Featured Image Source:

Image Source: Ian Muttoo – Drive Thru (Flicker: https://goo.gl/7rLKBc)

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Below you will find the readings that influenced my reflection in addition to a section titled Growing On.

Readings that influenced my understanding:

Module 5

  • Hay, L. & Foley, C. (2009). School libraries building capacity for student learning in 21CScan 28(2): 7-26.
  • Noel, W. & Snel, J. (2012). Copyright matters! (3rd edition). Ottawa, ON: Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC), Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA), and Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF).
  • Zmuda, A. & Harada, V. H. (2008). Looking to the future: Providing resources to support 21st century learning. Librarians as learning specialists: Meeting the learning imperative for the 21st century (pp. 103-115). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Module 6

  • Abilock, D. (2012). How can students know whether the information they find online is true – or not? Educational Leadership 69(6): 70-74.
  • Badke, W. (2014). The convenience factor in information seeking. Online Searcher 38(6): 68-70.
  • Bromann-Bender, J. (2013). You can’t fool me: Website evaluation.” Library Media Connection 31(5): 42-45.
  • Brooks Kirkland, A. (2013). Teacher-librarians as content curators: Strong contexts, new possibilitiesSchool Libraries in Canada 31(2): n.p.
  • Lamb, A. (2013). Electronic databasesEduscapes: Electronic Materials for Children and Young Adults.
  • Valenza, J. (2012). CurationSchool Library Monthly. 29(1): 20-23.

Growing On:

Last week I questioned how the inquiry process was structured and set up within a class. I found that I needed to see it to get a better understanding of how it is organized. As such, I took to the internet. Dare I say, I GOOGLED IT. Oh My! Evidence to what I noted above, I am guilty. Even with all the professional readings I did, I needed to see it in image form to attach it to my schema.

The feedback provided on my first learning log highlighted that inquiry based learning is a collaborative process. It is not individual. This helped refine my understanding and allowed me to take a breath when my initial fear of having 20 different topics was not at what the inquiry process was talking about. Whew!

When I came across http://mrsmyerskindergarten.blogspot.ca the concept of inquiry based learning was solidified. A voice in my brain confidently said “you could do that” and I am starting to believe that voice. For the final assignment I can anticipate referencing Mrs. Myers and her wonderful resource.

Things I was excited about regarding curating:

LibriVox,  PebbleGo, World Book

Things that made me go….oh gee:

Copyright rules around background music – I feel I need to investigate this further.

Questioning how often the resource acquisition questionnaires (ERAC) are actually used at a school to school level. I find that we often purchase resources simply because a teacher has requested it. In fairness one of the articles did mention that this has been a shift in the teacher librarian realm.

Cheers Ashlee Dearin

 

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Drop in a Bucket

Inquiry, is a drop in the bucket.

 

As I made my way through the four modules, my understanding around this analogy became more apparent. Though I have not taken direct references from these readings they have certainly shaped my understanding. Perhaps my view will shape yours.

A drop in the bucket.

At first glance, a small drop doesn’t seem to be very insignificant. However, this is not the case, especially when you take the time to question and think about it. One drop can cause a dramatic difference, so too can an inquiry question.

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Image Source: LadyDragonflyCC, Dripping Maple Goodness (Flicker: goo.gl/rx8BnF)

The drop.

A question. Not just any question. The type of question that when it falls will create an initial upset to the learning system. It is chaotic and unpredictable, and yet beholds an immense beauty.

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Image Source: Anthony Roderman, Cylinder Splash (Flicker: goo.gl/wMLqoT)

The beauty is in the unknown.

How is the splash going to impact the environment around it?

Will it make an impact at all?

Based on my new understanding, I can answer it most certainly will.

Once the initial impact is absorbed (the question), and its power is harnessed (linking to prior knowledge and initial guidance), the real beauty is revealed as it ripples outward.

The ripples.

The pursuit of understanding. The active engagement in the process of discovery. As the ripples move outward, understanding is broadened. So too are the ripples.

But why the bucket?

The bucket is key.

Purpose.

Rarely is a bucket filled for a lack of purpose.

They are often filled out of necessity or desire. For sustaining life or for fun. They have a clearly defined purpose.

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Image Source: Bex Walton, A drop in the bucket (Flicker: goo.gl/W8zZfK)

I have come understand that the inquiry is grounded and attached to a meaningful purpose. A purpose that must be directly connected to the person who holds the bucket.

In our current education system, far too often the purpose is rooted in the necessity or desire of someone else.

Sadly, when that is the case, the learner is restricted and has difficulty holding on to the information being conveyed. As a result, our learners are working with strainers. (Reflecting on: Robinson, K. (2013). Ken Robinson: How to Escape Education’s Death Valley. TEDTalks. Youtube.). It is imperative that educators providing students with the appropriate tools and opportunities to learn how to learn. Strainers need to be sold and replaced with buckets.

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Image Source: MyEyeSees, Strainers (Flicker: goo.gl/sBGFFm)

Some may argue however, that a bucket is too confining. Inquiry is not something to be confined. I would agree. However, when it comes to inquiry is my understanding that a certain degree of confinement is necessary to force the ripples back to its original source.

Reflection.

The return allows the learner to reflect upon and question all that was acquired on the journey outwards.

All the while, drop after drop continue to fill the bucket creating a natural ebb and flow. Ultimately making the learning and understanding much deeper than it was the drop before.

At this point, one might argue that the bucket is still confining.                                   Eventually it will be full.                                                                                                                 Then what?

This is a good point. One must look at the bucket through the lens of a growth mindset.

When the water nears the top, this does not indicate that the inquiry is over. It merely indicates that the learning is now ready to splash over or be poured into new areas of understanding and questioning.

Transfer. The deepest level of understanding.

As mentioned previously, our system is broken. Instead of allowing our learners to interact and play with their drops using the ebb and flow that comes naturally to them. They are being sheltered and confined by the adult in charge (Reflecting on: Robinson, K. (2016). How Schools Kill Creativity. TEDTalks. Youtube.)

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Image Source:  Roy Sinai,Watching The Rain (Flicker: goo.gl/SWzW6O)

How unfortunate.

Millions of drops.

Locked away.

Learners of all ages, and in all areas of learning, must be provided the opportunity to explore areas which holds meaning and purpose to them. When provided the opportunity to explore these areas their true potential of learning will be unleashed.

Image Source: Tom Driggers, Splash Play (Flicker: goo.gl/yrkW9u)                                                                                                      Image Source: Natalia Medd, Paper boat. When all is  possible… (Flicker: goo.gl/eYSZ76)

As I have been working my way through the readings, I have been made aware that I have a lot of work to do. As do many others.

It is hoped, that I will find a way to allow my drops (questions around the implementation of inquiry) to fall into a bucket, so that the waters will not only deepen but perhaps “flow” out of the bucket and into a water table. Ultimately allowing a community of participatory learners to flourish.

Image Source: Iowa Digital Library, Boy playing with boat in preschool (Flicker: goo.gl/7B1BI1)                                                                                                                                Image Source: Iowa Digital Library, Boys playing with toy boats, (Flicker: goo.gl/7gZCBV )                                                            Image Source: Iowa Digital Library, Girl playing with toy boat (Flicker: goo.gl/AcBdf6)

Inquiry is a drop in the bucket.

It is a catalyst for change.

I understand that and can see its value.

That awareness aside, I feel that I am still very much in “strainer mode”. My days are often filled with surface level teaching. Teaching that I currently feel is not filling buckets. Instead, what is taught falls out the holes my practice has constructed.

I found comfort in Selma wassermann’s article Teaching for Thinking Redux: A Curriculum Model for Classroom Practice. It stated “Not every classroom activity needs to be, or should be, an activity in which rigours thinking is applied (2010, p.84).”

I took this to mean that a certain level of surface learning (teacher directed) needs to be covered in order to provide the foundational skills required. As a result, I grapple at the idea of implementing inquiry learning and finding the balance between the use of the strainer and the bucket approach. Furthermore, I am working on defining the parameters of how I would structure inquiry learning within the restraints and confines presented by the changed curriculum and the disconnect between grade appropriate resources. The readings painted a very clear process. However, I feel that some key information on actual organization and implementation was missing. Therefore, I will conclude by posing my wonder.

While orchestrating an inquiry learning program, do each of the students actively pursue their own inquiry topic? More specifically are they open to selection and direction that reaches outside of the confines of the curriculum topic or theme of the week or time? Envisioning 22 different subject topics and the need to adequately guide and support seems like a teacher nightmare and a fast track to management disaster.

Or is it structured in a way whereby the teacher provides content knowledge on the big idea and theme, and then within that umbrella the students define personalized inquiry question to pursue further?

At the elementary level, I feel that the first scenario would result in a strainer like collapse of understanding. I would also find it difficult for student collaboration to dig deeper in conversation if they were all working within different subject matters.

As such, I hope to continue to grow in my understanding. Im now on the market for a sturdy bucket.

I have some drops to catch.

Ashlee Deairn

Resources that shaped my thinking.

Module 1 Readings

Altman, A. (2014). Skipping Out. Time 183(15): 12.

Coatney, S. (2015). Essential questions and answers for implementing inquiry. School Library Monthly 31(5): 11-13

Stripling, B. K. (2003). Inquiry-based learning. In B. K. Stripling & S. Hughes-Hassell (Eds.), Curriculum connections through the library (pp. 3-39). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Stripling, B. K. (2004). Using inquiry to explode myths about learning and libraries. CSLA Journal 28(1): 15-17.

Stripling, B. K. (2008). Inquiry: Inquiring minds want to know. School Library Media Activities Monthly 25(1): 50-52.

Wiggins, G. (1989). The futility of trying to teach everything of importance. Educational Leadership 47(3): 54-59.

Module 2 Readings

Ekdahl, M., Farquharson, M., Robinson, J. & Turner, L. (2010).                                              Points of Inquiry: A Framework For Information Literacy and The 21st Century Learner. Vancouver, BC: BC Teacher Librarians’ Association (BCTLA) and BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF).

Module 3 Readings

Gainer, J. (2012). Critical thinking: Foundational for digital literacies and democracy. Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 56(1): 14-17.

Knodt, J. S. (2010). Teaching for creativity: Building innovation through open-inquiry learning. School Library Monthly 26(9): 41-44.

Moreillon, J., Luhtala, M. & Russo, C. T. (2001). Learning that sticks: Engaged educators + engaged learners. School Library Monthly 28(1): 17-20.

O’Keefe, P. A. (2014, Sept. 12). Liking work really matters. The New York Times, p. 12.

Robinson, K. (2013). Ken Robinson: How to Escape Education’s Death Valley. TEDTalks. YouTube.

Robinson, K. (2016). How Schools Kill Creativity. TEDTalks. Youtube.

Wassermann, S. (2010). Teaching for THINKING Redux. Phi Delta Kappan 91(5): 81-84.

Whalen, S. P. (1999). Finding flow at school and at home: A conversation with Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education 10(4): 161.

Module 4 Readings

Hamilton, B. J. (2011a). Creating conversations for learning: School libraries as sites of participatory culture. School Library Monthly 27(8): 41-43.