Information Inquiry Model:

The information inquiry model that is used for this inquiry project is the 8Ws of Information Inquiry by Annette Lamb. These steps of inquiry learning were derived from the who, what, where, when and why of writing the first paragraph in a newspaper article. Lamb’s 8W’s are Watching, Wondering, Webbing, Wiggling, Weaving, Wrapping Waving, and Wishing. According to Callison, “her list is given in a cycle similar to other models, but she keeps the process open, allowing for entry at any point for the inquiry process to spark.” This is a wonderful way to allow students at all learning levels to utilize this model. Students that are struggling may use every step of this model to aid them in completing their task at hand. Others that have a better grasp on expectations but are lacking in one or two areas can use just the steps that they need to be successful. In this inquiry project students are asked to do many different and new things. But in some way I believe all of the 8W’s of Lamb’s information model are covered.

There are many benefits of incorporating a information processing model into the classroom. The two biggest is giving students time to reflect and giving them guidelines. The first, allowing the student’s time to reflect on the overall process of inquiry give students the needed time to be able to think about their process as much as their product. And by permitting the students to evaluate not only themselves, but the project as well they can learn what needs to be done differently in the future to increase comprehension. The second benefit by using a model is it gives students guidelines that they can follow, so as they proceed through the inquiry process it should lessen their feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed. According to Harada and Yoshina, “A model or framework for the information search process defines the skills and competencies that learners need to master if they are to become effective locators, evaluators, and users of information.” And this in turn supports the American Library Association in its development of the Standards for the 21st Century Learner.

The drawbacks of using an information processing model are few, but important. One of the drawbacks is by incorporating these into collaboration efforts with teachers they will feel as if they are being asked to “do more work.” So it will be of the upmost importance for the media specialist to demonstrate that it will not mean more work but smarter work. Not to mention, that since there are many models to use the media specialist needs to work hard on finding the most appropriate one to use with each product. Just because they are used to one versus another does not mean it should be used at all times. Students in the elementary just being introduced to the inquiry process should not be expected to use a more advanced model such as Pathways to Knowledge and Inquiry. They should be introduced to a model such as the Super 3 so they do not become frustrated and shut down.

Wrapping versus Transforming and Synthesizing

The Wrapping step in Lamb’s 8W’s corresponds, in the REACTS model, to the transforming and synthesizing steps. This model designed by Barbara Stripling and Judy Pitt was designed to ensure quality products come from high level thinking. In both these models this is the step that helps students plan their products and allows them to bring together the information to form their own conclusions, and then creatively present what they have learned. For this project students are given the opportunity to select what the end product will be a comic strip, Voice Thread, or song.
Allowing the students to choose is giving them the chance to shine and allow the students to have a vested interest in the outcome. The greater the interest, the more likely the researcher is willing to commit greater effort to the research process.” (Information Power, 1998, p. 149) The wrapping stage correlates with the Indiana Science Standard 8.1.8 that states that humans help shape the future by generating knowledge, developing new technologies, and communicating ideas to others. It also correlates with the Standards for the 21st Century Learner 3.1.4 (Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess), 3.3.4 (Create products that apply to authentic, real-world contexts) and 4.1.8 (Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning).