Design Studio & the New Literacies Inquiry Project


"Only the curious will learn and only the resolute will overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient." -- Eugene S. Wilson


Background

The philosophy of the New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute is based on the time-honored approach of “learning by doing.” As Wilson implies, inquiry is the path to education. Through a project-based inquiry process, your team will create a PBI Global Product and an innovative instructional plan to be used in the classroom that incorporates cross-cultural collaboration, interdisciplinary content, and new literacies prompted by emerging technologies.

The aim of the project-based inquiry approach is to provide the opportunity for you and your students to engage in what Newman, Bryck, and Nagaoka (2001) describe as authentic intellectual work. They describe the distinctive characteristics of authentic intellectual work as the “construction of knowledge through disciplined inquiry in order to produce products that have value beyond school” (p. 14). Through a focus on authentic intellectual work, we aim to engage you and your students in learning opportunities that connect to the world. Likewise, elements of project-based inquiry possess what John Dewey referred to as productive inquiry, which is "that aspect of any activity where we are deliberately (although not always consciously) seeking what we need in order to do what we want to do” (Cook and Brown, 2005, p. 62). Our aims are to engage you and, in turn, your students in intellectual work that has depth, duration, and complexity, and to challenge and motivate you and your students toward knowledge creation that relates to your educational context.

Authentic intellectual work also requires that learners make use of a range of literacy skills as they interpret, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and otherwise work with materials and information.
Authentic intellectual work involves:
  • Construction of knowledge: learning through analysis, evaluation, and other active high-level tasks.
  • Disciplined inquiry: in-depth learning on focused topics.
  • Value beyond the inquiry activity: the production of usable knowledge that has “personal, aesthetic, or social” significance outside of school or professional development.

Description of the Inquiry Process & Resulting Products of Learning


Your inquiry work will be driven by your team's content area themes and the questions that you generate given your intellectual interests in conjunction with a focus on new literacies. Working in teams during the week of the Institute, you will collaborate to generate a compelling question and complete an inquiry project. Your inquiry will be content focused. For example, your team might be interested in engaging in inquiry with your students about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The inquiry process could involve exploring the potential health risks that genetically modified (GM) foods pose. An inquiry question related to this topic might be: "To what extent are GM foods safe?"

To facilitate the inquiry process, we will take a Design Studio approach represented in the diagram below.

INFOGRAF-DL-med-circle-1024x749.png
Developing a question: What questions do you and your team have that might serve as the focus for your inquiry? What shared interests and/or motivating discontents do you and your partner have about some aspect of the content and curriculum you teach? How might you frame your ideas into a compelling question that would communicate your intent to others, especially your students?

With a question in place, your team will continue through the steps of the inquiry process outlined in our diagram above and examine technology tools, content, and pedagogical strategies related to your topic. Your primary goal is to create two products of learning that you will share on Friday in the Design Studio Showcase. The Two Artifacts of Learning include:
    • A PBI Global Product (Animoto or Prezi)
    • An instructional plan (PBI Global Wikispace) that you and your teammates will use to plan and conduct your PBI Global with students.

Inquiry Process Benchmarks


Use the following Inquiry Process Benchmarks to help your team stay focused on the process and the artifacts of learning that you will share on Friday in the Design Studio Showcase.

Monday Benchmarks
  • Are you a member of a PBI Global team?
  • Does your team have a theme for your PBI Global?
  • Has your team agreed on a compelling question for your PBI Global?
  • Have you created a 1-minute video explaining your compelling question?
  • Do you understand the 3 NLI frameworks?
  • Have you reflected on what you are learning about PBI Global?
  • Have you reflected on what you are learning culturally from your PBI Global partners?

Tuesday Benchmarks
  • Are you going through the PBI Global process with intention?
  • Are you gathering and analyzing information to inform your PBI Global product?
  • Have you creatively synthesized claims, evidences, and reasoning (CER) on your PBI Global Claims Sheet?
  • Do you understand affordances of the web 2.0 tools discussed thus far?
  • Have you reflected on what you are learning about PBI Global?
  • Have you reflected on what you are learning culturally from your PBI Global partners?

Wednesday Benchmarks
  • Have you critically evaluated and revised your PBI Global product? (Using the 3-level evaluation)
  • Have you begun preparing to showcase your PBI Global product? (Prezi or Animoto)
  • Do you understand affordances of the web 2.0 tools discussed thus far?
  • Have you reflected on what you are learning about PBI Global?
  • Have you reflected on what you are learning culturally from your PBI Global partners?
  • Have you begun your instructional plan with your PBI Global partners?

Thursday Benchmarks
  • Have you critically evaluated and revised your PBI Global product? (Using the 3-level evaluation)
  • Have you finished preparing your PBI Global product? (Prezi or Animoto)
  • Do you understand affordances of the web 2.0 tools discussed thus far?
  • Have you reflected on what you are learning about PBI Global?
  • Have you reflected on what you are learning culturally from your PBI Global partners?
  • How far along are you with your instructional plan for your PBI Global?

Friday Benchmarks
  • Have you shared your PBI Global product and instructional plan with your NLI colleagues?
  • What did you learn from your colleagues during the Design Studio Showcase?
  • What steps will you take to become a teacher leader in your school?
  • Have you reflected on what you are learning culturally from your PBI Global partners?
  • How far along are you with your instructional plan for your PBI Global?
  • What steps will you take to maintain communication with your PBI Global partners in preparation to implement PBI Global with your students?



References

Julie Coiro's website addressing Instructional Strategies for Critically Evaluating Online Sources

Cook, S. & Brown, J.S. (2005). Bridging epistemologies: The generational knowledge between organizational knowledge and organizational knowing. In S.E. Little & T. Ray, (Eds.). Managing knowledge: An essential reader (2nd ed.). (pp.51-84). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Dewey, J. (1927). The public and its problems. Athens, OH: Shallow Press.

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054.

Newman, F., Bryk, A. & Nagaoka, J. (2001). Authentic intellectual work and standardized tests: Conflict or coexistence? Chicago, IL: Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Spires, H., Hervey, L., & Watson, T. (2013). Scaffolding the TPACK framework with literacy teachers: New literacies, new minds. In S. Kajder's and C.A. Young (Eds.). Research on English language arts and technology (33 - 61). Greenwich, CN: Information Age Press.

Spires, H., Hervey, L., Morris, G., & Stelpflug, C. (2012). Energizing project-based inquiry: Middle grade students read, write, and create videos. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(6), 483-493. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/JAAL.00058

Spires, H., Kerkhoff, S., Graham, A., & Lee, J. (2014). Model for Inquiry-Based Disciplinary Literacy. Disciplinary Literacy for Deeper Learning MOOC-Ed. Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University.