This research project was conducted on a combined 4/5/6 class of 20 students who were participating in the Kids Design Challenge Pushcart Project. The class worked intensively on this project one day per week over a period of 23 weeks. The teacher of the class had the group one day per week as part of RFF arrangements and fills the role of both teacher-librarian and science teacher at the school. The entirety of the project involved students participating in:
- Researching and designing a push cart
- Building a pushcart
- Presenting a poster display detailing design process and scientific investigation
- Fundraising and seeking sponsorship
- Designing a team identity
- Racing the pushcart and participating in performance trials
- Being interviewed by a challenge judge
- Presenting two PowerPoint presentations
All of the requirements of the project were fulfilled in groups thus students were expected to work cooperatively throughout. There were however individual contributions made to the group tasks, for example: Each student prepared a slide for the PowerPoint presentations; all students had an aspect of pushcart design to research and so on.
From models to the real thing.
A mixed mode methodology was used to gather the experiential data for this research project. The data collection methods used were observations and written reflections, (qualitative) and questionnaires / survey (quantitative). The survey was used as recommended in the School Library Impact Measure (SLIM) toolkit, an instrument designed to measure changes in students’ levels of knowledge and information literacy skills over the course of an Information Learning Activity (ILA) (Todd, Kuhlthau and Heinstrom, 2005).
A total of 20 students took part in the inquiry unit; the breakdown of the class was yr 6 – 10 students; yr 5 – 3 students; yr 4 – 7 students. Data was collected on four occasions during the ILA. Initially I did an observation of the class whilst they were researching pushcart design and again after the cart was built and the class was working on five group tasks (pushcart decoration, scientific investigations, sponsorship letters, and pushcart identity and poster production) during the lesson. The first questionnaire (Appendix A), was completed a few weeks into the project after a holiday period and was used as part of revising what they had done and checking to see what they could remember. The final questionnaire (Appendix B), is referred to throughout this report as questionnaire 2 but it is modelled on the third questionnaire / survey from the SLIM toolkit. This was completed one week after the students had completed their final Road Safety / Adventure Course at Sydney and submitted the final PowerPoint presentation. A total of 15 students completed both questionnaires and it is the results of these that have been included in this study.
TECHNOPUSH LEARNING REFLECTION #1
1. Take some time to think about building and racing a pushcart. Write down in point form what you already know about it.
2. How interested are you in this topic (pushcarts)? Tick the appropriate box.
Not interested at all
3. How much do you know about this topic? Tick the appropriate box.
I know nothing at all
I know a little bit
I know some things
I know a lot
I know almost everything
4. When you research a topic (e.g. Pushcarts) what do you usually find easy to do?
5. When you research a topic (e.g. Pushcarts) what do you usually find hard to do?
TECHNOPUSH LEARNING REFLECTION #2
1. Take some time to think about the Technopush project. Now write down what you know about it.
2. How interested are you in this topic? Check (ü) one box that best matches your interest.
Not at all ☐ not much ☐
quite a bit ☐ a great deal ☐
3. How much do you know about this topic? Check (ü) one box that best matches how much you know.
Nothing ☐ not much ☐ quite a bit ☐ a great deal ☐
4. Thinking back on the Technopush project, what did you find easiest to do? Please mention as many things as you like.
5. Thinking back on the Technopush project, what did you find most difficult to do? Please mention as many things as you like.
6. What did you learn in doing the Technopush project?
7. Remember back to the research you had to do for Technopush, how do you now feel about your research? Check (ü) one box that best matches how you feel.
Unhappy – I don’t feel confident with how it turned out ☐
Confused – I don’t really know what I was looking for ☐
Confident – I think it turned out OK ☐
Happy – I’m really happy with how it turned out ☐
8. Had you ever travelled to Sydney before you went for Technopush?
Yes [ ] No [ ]
9. Had you ever been on an overnight school trip before Technopush?
Yes [ ] No [ ]
Todd, R. J., Kuhlthau, C. C., & Heinstom, J. E. (2005 ). School Library Impact Measure
(SLIM): A Toolkit and Handbook For Tracking and Assessing Student Learning
Outcomes Of Guided Inquiry Through The School Library. Center for International
Scholarship in School Libraries, Rutgers University. Retrieved August 11 from