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Introduction

Sauce is a research and problem solving process aimed to provide information literacy skills for learners to use in problem solving and research. The process is designed to…

  • Be usable within a full range of schools regardless of their technological resources and equipment.

  • Provide a useful problem solving and research tool for learners within individual and collaborative learning situations

  • Provide teachers with a tool that helps them create tasks that require learners to use higher thinking skills.

  • Places learners in situations that require them to use their prior knowledge combined with acquired information to solve a problem or meet a need.

  • Give teachers and learners a structure within which information literacy skills can be acquired and practiced within relevant and realistic contexts.

  • Provide a tool that simplifies the integration of ICT across the curriculum and incorporates development of the Essential Skills.

Rationale: Sauce has been designed as a tool to help teachers and learners by implementing a number of facets:

 

Information Literacy

Collaborative and Individual Learning

Essential Skills

 

Higher Thinking Skills

Problem Solving

ICT integration

 

Information Literacy

Text Box: . "The ability to access, evaluate, and use information from a variety of sources." C Doyle

 

I believe that information literacy consists of a range of skills that can be defined as critical and technical. If we are to provide our pupils quality learning experiences within information literacy then we need to ensure full coverage of the range of skills.
Technical Skills Critical Skills  

 

 

Locate Information

Acquire Information

 

Store Information

 

 

 

The ability to identify an information need.

 

Comprehend Information

Discard irrelevant information

 

Validate relevant information

Use information to:

        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

        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

 

Communicate the outcome appropriately, clearly and creatively. Justifying decisions where relevant from gathered information.

 

Communicate relevant information appropriately clearly and creatively.

I define an information literate person as one who has the ability to:

 recognise an information need, locate, access, store, retrieve, comprehend, analyse, critique and utilise relevant information to make valid, appropriate and insightful decisions as well as being able to communicate and validate those decisions creatively and appropriately.

This means that an information literate person has to be able to do much more than just gather and re-present information. The ability to use information as a tool in decision making is central to being a literate person. This is one of the major foundations of the SAUCE model.

Text Box: Higher order thinking skills are developed .. within  contexts that call for students to relate what they are learning to their lives outside of school by thinking critically or creatively about it or by using it to solve problems or make decisions.  Brophy 1992

Higher Thinking Skills

 

The process of gathering information makes little usage of

the higher thinking skills, it is when the information is being

used as a tool to help in solving problems and decision making that the higher thinking skills are really utilised. This is when comprehension is essential, and where anlysis, application, synthesis and evaluation become essential processes for the learner. To place our pupils in this situation is also a major focus of the SAUCE process.

Problem Solving
Text Box: Students learn best by doing, and doing is best when it is lifelike –When it involves engagement with real or near real problem solving.    Sergiovanni  1995
Problem Solving is recognized as a major context for learning and a logical context for higher thinking skills to be applied and developed. If research is to have any real value it must have a purpose or context for application.  The placing of our pupils in relevant problem solving activities is the third major intent of the SAUCE process.
 

Collaborative and Individual Learning

We do learn as individuals so SAUCE is structured in a manner that pupils working alone can use it. 

Text Box: Young children learn best when they become active workers rather than passive learners.
They make more progress..when they are permitted to work together in groups to solve complex tasks, allowed to engage in class discussions and taught to argue convincingly for their approach in the midst of conflicting ideas and strategies. Even young children can do these things well with a little encouragement.
    Harriet Tyson  1990
However given the large amount of literature and research that points to the positive benefits of collaborative learning SAUCE is also a tool that encourages teachers to place learners in collaborative problem solving situations where the sharing of understanding, ideas and thoughts becomes a positive learning factor for each individual involved. A further benefit is in distancing individuals from the experiences of failure and creating a positive learning climate where all those involved share in the groups’ successes.

Text Box: The New Zealand Curriculum specifies eight groupings of essential skills to be developed by all students across the whole curriculum throughout the years of schooling.
The New Zealand Curriculum Framework.  P17
Essential Skills

Our curriculum framework contains seven essential skills that are to be a major focus of teaching and learning in our schools. An examination of these skills, especially communication skills, numeracy skills, information skills, problem solving, self-management and competitive skills, social and co-operative skills as well as work and study skills shows that collaborative problem solving is a context within which the skills become applicable and an environment within which learners will be required to develop and practice the relevant skills. SAUCE is a process that gives teachers an environment that will facilitate the development and application of the essential skills. The Sauce handbook for teachers also contains an assessment rubric that facilitates the evaluation and tracking of learners’ development across the essential skills within a collaborative environment.

ICT Integration

ICT in schools is not about the teaching of software and technical skills. This is a thought pattern that developed when computers first appeared in schools and has been hard to shift. The power of ICT is when the technologies are utilised as a tool that enhances a teacher’s professional performance and enhances the opportunities for a pupil’s learning. We need to focus on the learning and teaching because the acquisition of technical skills will occur naturally within the context of learning. We need to remember that ICT is not a solution that creates learning and that   PL + ICT = PL  (poor learning plus ICT equals poor learning). As we look at integrating ICT into learning and teaching we need to focus on creating effective and quality learning situations. The focus of SAUCE is to provide a tool that facilitates good learning. It is a tool which naturally encourages the use of a wide range of technologies in natural learning contexts. It can be utilised in any curriculum area where prior knowledge is combined with acquired information to help the learner find workable solutions and to create new ideas and knowledge.

 

OVERVIEW

 

Knowledge or Information

 

Information is the foundation on which we build knowledge

These two words are not interchangeable.

(Adapted from Ham, Tree of Knowledge diagram, P5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information of itself has no value.

 

Knowledge is when information has become relevant enough to the individual to act on.

 

As knowledge and understanding grow learners move from merely reacting to information to being able to make valid, informed, reasoned and insightful decisions.

 

Learning is ultimately the process of using information to build knowledge, deepen understanding, acquire skills and gain experience. These should all lead to the increase of wisdom. Individual learning has value, but the process of increasing knowledge and wisdom is usually enhanced when participants actively share their understanding.

 

The major objective is to move away from low-level activities that have information as an end in itself and move into situations where the information is a tool being utilised to deepen understanding. This is accomplished through problem solving in collaborative situations.

 

This process encourages learners to move beyond gathering and presenting information into the building of knowledge. For this to happen this model provides a means for teachers to guide learners along a route that requires the use of the higher level thinking processes and encourages the sharing of understanding.

 

In the communication stage the focus is not on the reproductive presentation of gathered material rather on the communication of the ideas, solution or opinions formed and validated where necessary from gathered information.  

 

 

Setting the task

 

The success or failure of the model rests on 2 issues:

  • Pupils are set up for success when key words and phrases from relevant resources are embedded in the task.

  • The task is set incorporating appropriate cognitive verbs. Verbs that link with the higher thinking levels of Bloom’s revised taxonomy will guide learners into operating within the higher thinking levels during the using stage.

Formulating the information seeking questions is done by the learner/s during the Acquiring stage. Leave the learners to ask the how, what, when, where, why and who questions.

 

Acquisition

 Acquisition of relevant and valid information is really only the laying of the foundation for completing the task. Prior knowledge needs to be used and considered, however a well structured task will require the learner to add further information to their prior knowledge so that they build a foundation that will allow them to complete the task. Another analogy is that the gathered information is actually a tool that the learner will use to solve the problem.

Prior Knowledge

Prior knowledge is an important factor in the overall picture of the information a learner will need to complete a task or solve a problem. This model recognizes the value of prior knowledge but also assumes that the learner needs to acquire information beyond their current knowledge and understanding to complete the task.

Learners will possess an existing bank of knowledge which is insufficient for their needs. A broader information foundation will have to be laid on which they will build knowledge through the higher thinking processes and bring the task to completion.

Acquiring Information

The acquisition of information is a process that involves a number of steps.

Very rarely will a learner travel sequentially through the steps, their path will often cycle back to previous steps as they review their progress, find new material or come across problems as they search for relevant information.

 

The main steps of this process are:

  • Define key words and phrases

  • Write the search questions

  • Choose appropriate source

  • Select relevant information

  • Validate information

  • Assess and review progress

Laying the information foundation is necessary for task completion.

The very fact that we are involved in acquiring information indicates that our prior knowledge is insufficient to do the task.  This stage allows the learner to build an adequate foundation by adding relevant and valid information to their prior knowledge.

 

Using information

 

Many definitions of Information Literacy stress the learners’ ability to use the information in a practical manner. Even Doyle’s (1994, p.1) simple definition provides this focus. "The ability to access, evaluate, and use information from a variety of sources." My own definition of Information Literacy also carries the same focus, “To be information literate is to be able to locate, access, acquire, comprehend, analyse and critique relevant information, then utilise it to make valid, informed decisions and also communicate those decisions appropriately with validation where necessary.”

This model targets very strongly the expectation that learners will utilise the information in a practical manner usually to solve a problem or need. The model focuses on the solution and the learner communicating the final solution instead of communicating the gathered information.

It is during this stage that the pupil will use many of the higher thinking skills as the task is solved, the need met or opinion formed and defended.

 

Communication

 

The challenge for us as teachers is to change our thinking in terms of printed product from a research based activity. Traditionally we have looked for, expected and accepted printed product that contains found information. If we look carefully at the verbs that we use in our higher-level task construction the end product may be an artifact, idea, system or solution. This means that communication can be in a variety of media and forms.

Vanishing Foundations:   When we view a finished house or building the foundations are not visible.

It is important for us to realise this when learners present their finished product in whatever form the task requires or allows.

The emphasis in this model is on clear creative communication of the solution, only using gathered information where relevant to validate decisions and choices made.

 

Evaluation

 

There are two aspects to the evaluation, Product and Process. The minor focus will be on the finished product. He major focus will be on the process that the learner has moved through to complete the task.

The handbook contains a number of assessment rubrics that focus on three levels of independence demonstrated by the learner in the Essential Skills, the Higher Thinking Processes and in the various aspects of the SAUCE process.

Some examples are:

Higher Thinking Skills
Demonstrates discernment of:
  • Values and assumptions

  • Errors in logic

  • Irrelevant and invalid arguments

  • Differences between fact and opinion

  • Bias

Shows some discernment of:
Shows no discernment of:

 

Essential Skills

 

Communication Skills

  • Communicated confidently, competently and creatively in an appropriate manner and medium

  • Attempted to communicate in a suitable manner and medium covering the major points adequately

  • Demonstrated low confidence and required assistance to communicate some major points or relied on others to communicate in group situations.

 

Sauce Process

 

Setting the Scene

  • Can independently identify a need or problem and can structuring higher level tasks

  • Can formulate questions and tasks with adult help

  • Relies upon adults to identify issues and set tasks

 

Summary

The SAUCE model is a tool that provides:

learners the tools to effectively unlock information, and move into understanding.

learners a framework to guide them into effective research and the acquisition of relevant and valid information that is then used in co-operative problem solving

teachers a framework lead students into higher order thinking skills

Provide a framework that leads learners to increasing independence as information literate people.

 

Professional Development

Trevor Bond can be booked to deliver professional development to individual schools or groups of schools. This can be in the form of workshops, staff meetings and Teacher Only Days.