Stage 4: Communicating, presenting and evaluating
During this stage, students communicate, share and present their new knowledge and understanding with others. There are many ways in which this could be done, depending on the nature of the enquiry. It could be a website, a report, a video documentary, a radio programme and so on. It is likely that the work will be shared and saved as a resource for others to use in the future.
During the course of their enquiry students may have opportunities to present and communicate their emerging findings to their peers and teachers, which means that communication and evaluation is something that suffuses the whole enquiry cycle.
In view of the ‘vision’ of Enquiring Minds, it is important that students are enabled and permitted to find an audience for their work that extends beyond the school walls. A useful notion is that much of the work usually done in schools is of the ‘fridge door’ variety, in which the teacher sets a task, students complete it, the teacher assesses it, and the students take it home where it might be ‘published’ for a while on the fridge door. There is no real problem, no real demand, no real need, no real knowledge product.
Against this, Enquiring Minds hopes to encourage a situation in which teachers and students develop relationships with local communities which allow students to undertake research into topics that are meaningful and where students know their findings will be taken seriously. This is also the key to developing students’ skills of evaluation, since they are more likely to take seriously the advice and feedback of the audiences they work with.
Some of the things students and teachers might be doing at this stage include:
- creating videos, PowerPoint presentations, radio broadcasts, websites, games, graphs
- writing reports, articles
- constructing models
- performing - drama, role-play, delivering presentations
- presenting arguments to a wider audience, to key ‘stakeholders’ or experts
- refining their work, conducting further research to fill in the gaps
- creating interim products to further their knowledge-making (eg letters, e-mails etc)
- reflecting upon their goals and whether these have been achieved, and identifying further action or research.
There are number of features of this approach:
First, the possibilities for doing this type of enquiry work are greatly enhanced by new technologies. Simple technologies such as video and digital cameras, along with PDAs, all provide useful opportunities for data collection and communication. These can be linked up with relatively small numbers of computers.
Second, this type of enquiry requires schools and teachers to develop new types of relationships with their local communities.
Third, this type of knowledge production is not new; schools have enabled students to undertake projects for long time. What is new is that students have the role as knowledge producers. It requires a leap of imagination so that instead of imagining schools as places where young people come to get educated, schools are research sites populated with a large number of ‘enquirers’, undertaking enquiries that are meaningful to them and their communities.
During this stage of enquiry it is important for students to do some of the following in order to communicate and reflect on their enquiry:
alter, amend, appraise, articulate
assess, celebrate success, change, communicate
evaluate, exchange, express, improve
modify, peer-assess, perform, present
reconstruct, re-draft, reflect, review
revise, rewrite, speak, transform, verbalise