(Framework Of Skills for Inquiry Learning)
What is FOSIL and why is it important?
FOSIL stands for Framework Of Skills for Inquiry Learning. FOSIL is an approach to learning through inquiry with an underlying framework of skills.
As schools budgets are squeezed tighter and tighter is it important that both schools and school librarians understand the value of collaborating in an approach to learning through inquiry. FOSIL enables teachers and school librarians to work together to create independent, digital and information literate students of the future.
We are living in a world where fake news and misinformation are common, many jobs of the future will require some form of digital capability and unfortunately, our student's ability to think critically and evaluate information continues to be a problem. The Fosil Group was set up in 2019 to share a solution to this in the form of FOSIL which offers inquiry as an approach to learning. All resources are freely shared under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 for the good of all. Teachers, school librarians and academics have come together to create resources for you to use, adapt and share. All they ask is for credit and for you to consider sharing on the forum any resources you create. These tools help educators to design and resource, effective inquiries - often as a collaborative team involving teachers and librarians supporting students engaged in inquiry.
There are other frameworks available which can be found on the CILIP ILG's (Information Literacy Group) page of options, which includes FOSIL. An overview and a brief history of FOSIL, along with some other models, can be found on their Models & frameworks page. However, a word of caution from the IFLA Guidelines. Because creating a successful model involves years of research, development, and practical experimentation, and adapting a successful model requires a deep understanding of the theoretical foundations of that model, schools without a model should take care when deciding how to proceed. This is why FOSIL has been chosen. It is important for school librarians to focus on one framework going forward, not only giving a collective voice but also the ability to share our knowledge and recognisable resources. Furthermore, FOSIL is the framework of choice for the Great School Libraries campaign making it even more important for school librarians to be aware of what it is and what it offers.
Why is the link to IFLA so important?
IFLA is the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, which is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. The Great School Libraries working group has decided to endorse the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) School Library Guidelines as their standard for school libraries which provides us with a concise definition of what a school library is:
“A school library is a school’s physical and digital learning space where reading, inquiry, research, thinking, imagination, and creativity are central to students’ information-to-knowledge journey and to their personal, social, and cultural growth. This physical and digital place is known by several terms (e.g., school media centre, centre for documentation and information, library resource centre, library learning commons) but school library is the term most commonly used and applied to the facility and functions”
This definition provides us with a clear vision for what our school libraries and librarians should be aspiring to, and the accompanying Guidelines and associated workshop materials for implementing them provide us with powerful tools for realising this vision.
Central to this definition is inquiry, both as a stance and as a process, which provides a clear link to this Learning through Inquiry aim.
Furthermore, the IFLA School Library Guidelines is rooted in the IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto (1999), which views the school library as "providing information and ideas that are fundamental to functioning successfully in today's information and knowledge-based society, and equipping students with life-long learning skills and develops the imagination, enabling them to live as responsible citizens".
The IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto (1999), has been updated for the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2020 in Dublin (15-21 August) following extensive international consultation, and we eagerly anticipate its publication.
I am delighted that FOSIL is endorsed by CILIP SLG, SLA and CILIP ILG. Please share this Key Issues - FOSIL -Based Inquiry for school librarians: an introduction document created by CILIP SLG.
We hope you will join our journey by signing up and joining the conversation on the forum. However, if you feel you would like to talk to someone about this or would like to book some training this is available too.