Jim experienced a high level of success when teaching research skills using LearnPath guides, as a tool during teaching and also as a resource that students could refer back to.
LearnPath has also helped to facilitate collaboration between library staff and teachers. Through the curation of guides, library staff have felt empowered and more positive about their role in the school.
In this video Jim discusses these, and a number of other benefits, of introducing LearnPath at his school.
I first heard about LearnPath at last year’s software conference in Brisbane and my interest sparked a little bit with that, and I wondered how that could work practically in the schools. There was some great examples from people I chatted with there.
One of the first tasks I did was a preliminary year 11 community Family Studies group that were doing research skills. And they had to do a question called “the media has a negative impact on a teenage girl’s perception of body image”, which was quite a difficult task.
They had to get some research papers and answer that question. So, the first thing we did was I created a LearnPath guide on the whole unit that we were doing. Within that LearnPath guide, we looked at the idea of Boolean searching and I put some terms up and explained to the children how Boolean searching works.
We also then looked at the information process, the way that it can be sometimes ambiguous, and that you don’t always get an answer at the end of that lesson. It takes some time to process.
And then we looked at some databases from the State Library, and we found a couple in Australia, New Zealand points of view, Reference and also in ProQuest. So I put this on the LearnPath guide.
We’re also a ClickView school so I put a number of ClickView videos in there as well.
We also found a few YouTube clips on the idea of how the media can affect body image for teenage girls. That turned out to be really successful double period lesson. The importance of the LearnPath guide was it gave the students a place to go back to because there’s so much information coming their way in that double period that they simply couldn’t take it in.
But the students just kept coming back to that guide to be able to look at keyword searches. Which databases was I at? How do I do Boolean searching? So that was a real positive for that class. That particular instance of the LearnPath guide was wonderful.
All year 10 and 6 science classes had to do a research task on chemicals and they were allocated a chemical. They had to respond to the question, “should the use of a particular chemical in the household be discontinued?”
If you’re a non-science year 10 student, that can be very difficult. So again, I talked with the science coordinator, and we got her class to get State Library cards and we went down that database line again.
But the interesting thing about collaborating was, after doing the lesson with the students, she went back to class and she told her other colleagues in the science department. Then by the end of the day, and by the end of the next day, I had all these other five teachers talking with me about when can they book their class in? And when can you do that presentation that you did with the science coordinator?
So I ended up doing that presentation another five times, with the whole of year 10, and what really came out of it, we had a LearnPath guide on referencing, and that was something that they could really get their hands on and go back to again, to be able to get that aspect right.
So that was a really positive, collaborative, and collegial process.
I think the ability to be able to go back to somewhere that’s, you know where it is, and the information will still be there, you can bookmark it. And you can do either a simplistic step-by-step process, or you can make a little bit more detail wherever the scenario requires.
I like the way that LearnPath allows you to link other sources on a particular assessment task. You’re not just in one particular source, you can bring together a number of sources.
It’s also been really empowering for my library staff. This has been a real positive with LearnPath. The fact that once they know how to curate a LearnPath guide and put things, whatever the task might be into it, their relationships with other staff members, they’re feeling positive about themselves in their role in the school. It’s been a wonderful element of LearnPath in my book.
All our reading guides, our reading lists, we put those in a LearnPath guide and one of the 7 to 10 statements is the ability to engage in wide-reading. So a lot of the year 7 to 10 English teachers they’ll bring their class to our library once a fortnight, but before they come, they’ve already looked at the LearnPath guide. They’ve looked at the type of novel they’d like to read.
We’ve genrefied our library so it gives us an opportunity to, students an opportunity to, go to a particular genre or try a new genre. All those are in our LearnPath guide. So that’s been a wonderful, collaborative effort from staff and students at the school, and our teachers of course.
We do, it’s been wonderful. I have a book club at our library and we were doing “To Kill a Mockingbird”. A lot of the students in my book club are year 8 and 9 and the language can be quite difficult in “To Kill a Mockingbird” at times.
I found that LearnPath had put their own guide on the community portal ... (Content Hub sorry), the students then went, and I guided, to show students where that was.
So we had a number of students who were finding it difficult are able to use the links that were on there to get further information to look at Harper Lee as an author, that had a little click link to the Gregory Peck black and white film, which was great.
We had a look at that in Book Club, that little clip, and also a study guide. So, students who were struggling with getting around the language were able to access the study guide and use that. That was just a nice example of something I didn’t have to do, but I just showed them where it was and it allowed students to be able to access that novel in a much deeper and more meaningful way.