Why science teachers need both information literacy skills and content-specific knowledge

Loving the science teachers who have been willing to share their thoughts and experiences through the Information Literacy Skills research project. We’ve had an English teacher also share her observations, and I just know there’s more to come. This is such an exciting project to be part of!

Information Literacy Spaces

kid smart lightbulb brainI was marking Year 12 Biology NCEA reports on the extreme environment of the deep ocean and reading about the goblin shark and the adaptations they have to survive in this dark inhospitable place when it struck me that I was correcting the grammar and punctuation in my head! I had always considered myself a teacher of biological information, but I realised I was emerging as a facilitator of students learning biological concepts for themselves and writing like scientists. I was also a teacher of search techniques, a collaborator with other professionals, namely our school librarian who knows infinitely more about referencing than I, and a facilitator for students to formulate focus questions to keep themselves on track. This came as quite a shock after so many years in the job!

Reflecting on my own path through the education system, I can recall doing very little research or peer review…

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How do we put a spotlight on literacy?

As the secondary librarian on this research team, I am conscious that information literacy features at many library-centric conferences, which illustrates the point Lisa makes in this blog post about preaching to the choir. My focus, since becoming involved with this TLRI, is to extend the conversation into wider education groups, to begin some of the conversations that need to happen, and shine a light on the examples that provide evidence for the success on student outcomes when teachers and librarians work together to make IL skills visible in the classroom.

Information Literacy Spaces

mum-photo.jpgIt’s a month now since I returned from the (very) sunny Northern Hemisphere, and the tan lines have all but faded away. The trip certainly included plenty of fun (and shopping!), but most of all it was an opportunity to present our research findings at two significant conferences on higher education.

Both conferences looked very relevant to the work we’re doing in the Information Literacy Spaces project. The first conference was the European First Year Higher Education Conference, held in beautiful Utrecht. I had high hopes for this conference, as I have a long-held interest in student transition to higher education, both from a research perspective, but also in my role as a Director of Teaching and Learning at Massey University. And, indeed, there were some interesting papers. But the whole focus of the conference seemed to be about testing students at point of entry and ensuring students’ skills/knowledge matched…

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Making the implicit explicit: Reactions to chemistry report writing and collaborative learning

One of the collaborations I’m involved with through the Information Literacy Spaces research project, Jess is one of the teachers in our Science department and is so open to ideas and working with others. I hope to get her to collaborate on another blog post about the working we’re doing with Year 7 Science, alongside Heather, a very experienced Science teacher.

Information Literacy Spaces

Visible Learning Hattie

It’s fair to say that when I left teachers college three years ago I had greatly underestimated how much focus there would be on teaching literacy strategies. As a science specialist, I had been taught some scientific literacy, but mostly it was theory-based or examples given during lectures of other peoples teaching practice. As a learner, I find it a lot easier to implement new techniques into my teaching if I can watch or talk to someone who is already giving it a go. This made it difficult to know where to start when I came to realise just how much support my students needed with literacy.

Before Southland Boys’ High School became involved in the Information Literacy Spaces research, I was already working with our amazing librarian Senga White, as well as English teachers on different literacy strategies for junior science. When Senga approached me about the new project…

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