Visit to Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB – 2016

KPRDSBLast week I also visited Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB in Port Hope to learn with their group of teacher librarians. So happy that the weather has been behaving for January visits in the field! Their project this year brings together 9 teacher librarians (TL’s) to focus on developing the research skills of students. Their overall inquiry question for the Learning Connections project is:

What strategies will have an impact on students’ ability to think critically and develop research skills to become effective digital literate learners?

This was the first of 3 days for the TL’s: the first day together for learning and developing their Theory of Action; the second day will be in school work with the consultant, Michele; and a third day will be back together as a group to share their learning.  It is also expected that the team will share their work system wide during their full day of learning with all TL’s and with staff in their schools.  The group is using Edsby as their collaboration platform.

The goals for this meeting were:

  • We will have a clear understanding IMG_1670 2of the collaborative inquiry process
  • We will will begin to develop background knowledge of student research skill
  • We will create a theory of action to guide our next steps – advice: target a group that the teachers want to focus on

Activities and resources:

The team examined and discussed a few resources to help develop their understanding of the collaborative inquiry process along with gaining an appreciation for the importance of research skills. The first, was the video “Introduction to Collaborative Inquiry” by Jenny Donohoo.  This was a great way to introduce inquiry and got everyone thinking of these four steps:

  • Framing the Problem – Come up with an action keeping the students’ needs in the forefront: what are the gaps? what are the needs?
  • Collection of evidence – Decide where you will gather the evidence and is the evidence valid? Gather baseline data.
  • Analyzing the evidence – What does the evidence reveal and what can you use to move forward?
  • Collecting and Sharing – What worked, what didn’t, what gaps still exist?

The group also read and IMG_1671discussed the Ministry’s Capacity BuildingSeries document “Literacy for a Connected World“. This is a great resource to gain a better understanding of how to support today’s learner. The table on page one provides a summary of what is important to be a successful literate learner.  Another excellent resource that we read (this was printed for us) was:  “Searching for an answer: The Critical Role of New Literacies While Reading on the Internet“.   The article emphasized that “the ability to search and locate information can be described as the gatekeeper skill in online reading”. Which leads to: if you can’t find the relevant information, you don’t even get to the reading.  Although the article is from 2006, I still found it quite relevant.

One of the highlights of the day was the way that Michele mindfully took the group through an analysis of their LC inquiry question.  Written IMG_1676like:

What strategies will have an impact on students’ ability to think critically and develop research skills to become effective digital literate learners?

She then asked the group: what do these four key phrases mean to you? Through discussion we certainly gained better understanding of our students’ needs and required skills.  A great set up for the group to then develop their own Theory of Action keeping the students in mind.

IMG_1687 IMG_1688 IMG_1689 IMG_1690

Most teachers were able to formulate a first draft for their Theory of Action.  Of course, as with any inquiry, these may be refined or changed as part of the learning process.  Here are 2 examples from the day:

  • If I teach students to effectively, efficiently search for and identify appropriate website, using advance search, then students will be able to use their time and resources more efficiently in order to become more competent, confident digital literate learners.
  • If I teach students how to use reliable, appropriate and relevant online websites to find information, then students will be able to more authentically question and effectively assess the information they are finding to become more information literate.

Thanks for the great day Michele and the KPRDSB team!

Unfortunately, I missed a great fun pic of my fuel gauge on E IMG_1292while on the drive there, but I was more focussed on getting gas than remembered that this could have been my pic.  Luckily the sun cooperated and provided a blinding sunset drive home.  I was so happy to see the clouds in the horizon and the rest stop to take the pic was a benefit for more than one reason.



2 thoughts on “Visit to Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB – 2016

  1. This sounds like an amazing project. In fact I think it is possibly the most important question in Ontario education today. I am very much looking forward to more news from KP!

  2. I agree! Michele has certainly nailed this need. I think it is important learning for educators as well, since most of us can only go as far as a Google Search. It is challenging to know what, where and how to search in order to get the information you are really looking for. You won’t get the right answer if you don’t ask the right question.

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