Having now taken a closer look at the place of inquiry learning as it is represented in the Australian curriculum, it is clear to me that there are significant strengths and weaknesses of the Information Learning Activity in question. The approaches that were taken in the development and application of this Information Learning Activity can be linked to the inquiry approach suggested within the history Australian Curriculum framework. There is a strong emphasis within the inquiry methods suggested in the History Australian Curriculum on the analyses of primary and secondary sources of information. Throughout this Information Learning Activity, consideration was given to providing students with access to both of these information sources. In particular primary sources included a number of guest speakers who had specific roles to play in the history of the school. Particular secondary sources include an excursion to a local history village, and the use of online sources to access photos of the past and present physical elements within the school community.
The aim of this unit of work was to provide students with opportunities to explore, recognise and appreciate the history of their local area by examining examples of the past and considering their significance and impact on the present day. This focus had potential to provide students with opportunity to examine the physical environment that they interact in on a daily basis.
Another significant strength in regards to being about link to the goals of the new Australian History Curriculum framework was that students were made aware of Inquiry questions they would have opportunity to investigate during the initial stages of the information learning unit of work.
Many of the students participating in this Information Learning Activity were able to demonstrate that they were able to “analyse aspects of daily life to identify how some have changed over recent time while others have remained the same. They describe a person, site or event of significance in the local community.” (ACARA 2012) This according to the Year 2 achievement standard outlined in the History Curriculum framework, is the desired outcome of a unit of work.
The approach that was undertaken however, limited the students potential to develop information literacy skills because of the lack of information available to the students on the teacher selected topic. A significant weaknesses of this Information Learning activity was that these early years students were very much guided through most aspects of information gathering during this inquiry unit. When gathering information about the past history of their school environment it was difficult to provide opportunities for early years students to independently gather information from a range of sources. This was because a large of amount of information that related to the preselected topic was not age appropriate. Therefore this limited the opportunities for students to be able to independently gather information, beyond guest speakers, and an excursion. In saying this however, once provided with this information, they were able to readily gain information about present aspects of their school environment. They were then able to link the teacher provided information to this.