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Information Usage:

The Two Shoppers Analogy


I liken the information process to that of supermarket shopping.

I draw the analogy of two shoppers working down the same aisle.


We watch the first shopper casually gathering food items and on questioning her we discover that the material being gathered is to be taken down the road to another shop and used to set up a window display on food.

This is a gather and present operation.

The second shopper we observe has a list and is making very careful specific choices. On questioning we find that she is obtaining the items required to mix with other ingredients to make a 4 course meal for 7 people.

This is usage.



The questions that must be asked when we construct an information based activity for our pupils are:

“Which type of activity are we creating?"

"Are we asking them to gather information and then re-present it in another venue, or are we asking them to use information in a realistic and meaningful manner?"

I believe that many activities, regardless of how fancily dressed up they are, still belong in the gather/present category.

Changing words is NOT USING, it may indicate a certain level of comprehension, which we can liken to the opening of packages to display contents.

We should be expecting our pupils to use information  in one or more of the following ways:

·        Form or alter an opinion

·        Govern an action

·        Make a decision

·        Form a hypothesis

·        Meet a need

·        Predict an outcome

·        Suggest a solution

·        Analyse a situation

·        Create a product or process

·        Clarify an issue

·        Debate an issue

·        Create a strategy (action plan)

·        Draw a conclusion

·        Socialise or culturalise

·       Improve or create a product or process

·        Solve a problem

·        Prepare a demonstration

·        Deepen understanding

·        Communicate information

·        Develop or improve a skill