Information-Rich Learning Concepts

Information-Rich Learning Concepts

Alan Pritchard (University of Warwick, UK)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch169
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Abstract

Williams (2001) points out that plagiarism in pupils’ school work is widespread and, perhaps more importantly, that it has been made significantly easier in recent years as a result of the increased use of and familiarity with new technologies. Lewis, Wray and Rospigliosi (1995) also highlight difficulties pupils have when faced with a large amounts of textual information. Pupils copying passages is not a new phenomenon, but it is quite clear that for many uninitiated young learners, copying and pasting electronically is perfectly acceptable. If learning activity becomes a process of cutting and pasting, then very little effective learning will take place. Pupils need to be taught, and encouraged, to use strategies to assist with the processes of searching and of making selections from the mass of information with which they will be confronted. Learning objectives set by the teacher will not be met if all that takes place is the transfer of text and pictures from one location to another.
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Background

Williams (2001) points out that plagiarism in pupils’ school work is widespread and, perhaps more importantly, that it has been made significantly easier in recent years as a result of the increased use of and familiarity with new technologies. Lewis, Wray and Rospigliosi (1995) also highlight difficulties pupils have when faced with a large amounts of textual information. Pupils copying passages is not a new phenomenon, but it is quite clear that for many uninitiated young learners, copying and pasting electronically is perfectly acceptable.

If learning activity becomes a process of cutting and pasting, then very little effective learning will take place. Pupils need to be taught, and encouraged, to use strategies to assist with the processes of searching and of making selections from the mass of information with which they will be confronted. Learning objectives set by the teacher will not be met if all that takes place is the transfer of text and pictures from one location to another.

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Difficulties With Rich Information Sources

The use of search engines and the skills of defining searches accurately are topics that deserve attention in schools, but the problems brought about by the locating information are of a less-serious nature than those brought about by finding enormous volumes of potentially useful information and not having the skill or knowledge to make effective use of it. The problems can be summarised as in Table 1.

Table 1.
Potential problems with rich information sources
Possible DifficultyComment
          Information Overload          The sheer volume of information can lead to a state of virtual paralysis.
          Plagiarism          Whether intentional or not, it is possible for “chunks” to be copied and presented as original work.
          Inefficient Use of Time          Without specific initial guidance, it is possible to spend a lot of time to no apparent benefit.
          Reliability          There are not always guarantees that the information accessed is accurate, reliable and unbiased.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Schema: A notional mental structure that houses the knowledge and understanding an individual has of a particular topic. Schemas can become very large and are linked through meaning and experience to many other schemas.

Prior Knowledge: Knowledge, no matter how limited, a pupil has at the beginning of a new topic. This knowledge will have been gathered over time in a variety of ways. Some prior knowledge may be flawed or inaccurate, which leads to the need for restructuring schemas.

Deep Learning: Learning that goes beyond the bare minimum. Deep learners come to understand rather than simply to know the subject matter, and are able to make valid generalisations based on it.

Engagement: Becoming involved with a topic at more than a simple and superficial level; a time when individuals come to know and understand the detailed content of what they are studying.

Surface Learning: Learning that goes no further than the bare minimum. Surface learners do not fully understand the subject matter; at best, they are able to recite facts.

Information Overload: A situation where individuals have access to so much information that it becomes impossible for them to function effectively, sometimes leading to where nothing gets done and the user gives the impression of being a rabbit caught in the glare of car headlights.

Constructivist Learning: A model for learning based on the widely held notion that individuals construct their own knowledge of, and meaning for, the world around them.

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