STAGES WITHIN THE INFORMATION PROCESSPlanning Stage (by the end of Grade 9)
During the planning stage of the information process, students are usually involved in a thematic unit of study, or they may be encouraged to pursue a topic or issue of personal interest. Part of the planning or defining stage for students involves determining what their purpose or task really is. They need to be able to clarify the task, to put it in their own words, and to work out a plan for its completion. Students (and teachers) may need help with identifying topics for this type of inquiry:
Small group discussion can be useful for identifying topic(s) and questions that they would like to have answered.
Whole class brainstorming can be used to identify areas of interest, and from those areas questions to be answered can be designed. Brainstorming is also a useful strategy for determining prior knowledge and understanding of a particular topic, issue or information problem.
Learning stations can be used to provide background information/knowledge so that students are better prepared to choose a topic for further inquiry. This type of activity also helps students identify the sources of information which can be used later to explore a topic in more depth, to find appropriate "answers" to their questions.
Rubric creation which can be used during the process to monitor a student's work throughout the stages in the Information Process. These are also useful in helping students see what type of product will be required as well as evaluation criteria for these. Products may be written or other types of representation and may be accompanied by oral presentations... individually, or by groups.
Topics for inquiry, and information problem-solving activities generally, need to interest and stimulate students. Instead of simply assigning a "research topic" such as, "Find out about the dangers of smoking," or "Make an anti-smoking poster," students might be asked to consider the following critical challenge:
"Create a poster advertisement to discourage fellow students from smoking, effectively employing the techniques of persuasion without distorting the evidence!"
Students should also be encouraged to develop a set of criteria which they can use to determine whether or not the content in the sources they have chosen will meet their particular needs. Some factors to consider include:
Reliability (is authoritative)
Validity (is on target)
The planning stage for tasks and problem-solving assignment requiring information processing, can be so much more meaningful and thought provoking when students' interests are combined with curriculum content, appropriate learning resources in a variety of formats, and learning outcomes for information literacy... in creative and challenging ways.
To view samples of learning strategies/cognitive organizers for students, click on Learning Strategies. You may wish to download/print these strategies, and adapt them for your students!
Show Me The Student Learning Outcomes For This Stage
Show Me The Gathering Information Stage