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Skill 2 – Process Information

 

Skill 2 Schema – Process Information : 2.1 Identify Pertinent Elements of Information, 2.2 Analyze Information and 2.3 Visually Represent Information

Description of Skill 2 – Process Information

We complain when students copy information word for word into their work. We can see that they find it difficult to integrate their material and to understand complex or abstract concepts. In the researching-processing-presenting process, the way the information is processed is often biased or neglected. This is the difference between a surface and an in-depth analysis. The act of processing the information permits the search to be refined. In addition, the result of processing information this way is what forms the first step in preparing an adequate presentation of the results of the completed work.

This skill is essential for students as it allows them to deal with all of the information available to them and to learn intellectual rigour. Students who know how to process information can better identify relevant information, use in-depth analysis and visualize data, ideas and concepts important for the work to accomplish. It is therefore one way of exploring a subject more deeply, of understanding content and of supporting a rigorous intellectual process. Processing information is in fact the pivot of a problem-resolution process.

Supplemental Information

Processing information is often seen as an intellectual process requiring reflection. However, this mental step can be supported by technology.

The information to be processed can be of a different nature: data, ideas, facts, observations, concepts, works, etc.

This step can be completed using:

  • Information from a document search (from articles, magazines, journals or books);
  • Information provided by teachers (e.g. lecture notes);
  • Information gathering (search or data entry);
  • Information collected by observation.

Note that achieving this skill keeps students away from “copy-paste” and is an excellent way to avoid plagiarism.

Requirements - Suggestions

Students demonstrate their ability to select appropriate methods of processing information in order to extract information, to analyze and visually represent it according to the work to be accomplished and on the nature of the information to be processed.

Depending on the topic, students must know how to compare, distinguish, describe, classify, retrieve, explain, synthesize and relate all elements of the information.

They must be able to deal with their subject in depth, to explain its facets and answer questions about it.

Students must also be able to reuse their knowledge in other situations (transfer). It is possible and relevant (even unavoidable) to measure the quality of the processed information. This is often measured in the students’ final assignment. To strengthen the development of this skill, intermediary assignment may be required. For example:

  • A short interview where students explain their choices and approach;
  • A selection of annotated and marked documents;
  • An extract from archived information;
  • A demonstration of the steps of the analysis carried out;
  • An annotated visual representation.

Potential Tools

In order to process the information, students will have access to the following broad categories of tools: office tools, specialized analysis tools and creative presentation tools.

In Practice

In programs of study, one can easily find elements of competencies and performance criteria linked to this skill. For example: characterizing, choosing wisely, justifying, comparing, analyzing, appreciating, making links, pointing out, describing, detecting, interpreting, etc.

The three objectives of this skill are complementary and autonomous ways of processing information.

For example, in Early Childhood Education, a task might consist of illustrating the links between the life conditions of children and their behavior. Students could be asked to identify concepts (such as life conditions and behavior) from case studies and texts on child psychology. They would then visually represent the links between cause and effect using a table. Two means of processing the information are used in a single activity (2.1 Identify… and 2.3 Represent…).

A teacher may also ask that one of the three objectives be performed without involving the others two. For example:

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