Tech, Teaching and Me

Trying to turn off my brain by writing it down

Student Research

on October 20, 2012

Teaching students to navigate through the countless information that is available to them at the touch of their fingertips can be a daunting job for anyone! As a young student (really just a few years ago), I would be assigned a project, and head to the local library for a Saturday afternoon of researching, dime gathering for making copies and paper and pencil for note taking. For the most part, this process is completely changed over the years.

Teaching students the basics of research should be a cross curricular objective now. It should be similar to learning to be a good digital citizen. Evaluating, interpreting and analyzing effective research, just like cyber etiquette and digital safety, needs to be taught in all grades, in all subjects. According to the article, “Evaluating and Using Web Based Resources” teaching users the basics of interpreting the website information can be a critical first step.

For example, understanding the basics of website information as listed below:

• .com for a commercial company
• .edu for an educational institution
• .gov for a U.S. government
• .mil for a U.S. military organization
• .net for an Internet resource company
(such as an Internet Service Provider
• .org for nonprofit organizations

A very useful summary of helpful facts at the end of the article was, “Rather than restricting use of resources, guidance in their appropriate use provides students with an important lifelong skill. This involves a five-step process that includes:
1. identification of potential resources,
2. evaluation of appropriate resources,
3. integration into the research paper,
4. citation of the resource, and
5. verification by the instructor.

From the readings in this session of the Capstone II course, I found Kathy Schrock’s website. This website was especially helpful and informative on a variety of topics. I found some helpful tools and information about website evaluation. I gathered many helpful resources for smart researching lessons and tips for my students to use. This helpful list of the five W’s of website evaluation is wonderful resource and visual reminder of how to quickly assess any website. I discovered a very effective worksheet for website evaluation to use for middle schoolers. Additionally, I found a very intriguing lesson for middle schoolers about “Banning DHMO:Dihydrogen Monoxide”. After a little research, students will (hopefully) discover this dangerous chemical is merely water.

Teaching students to not just”Google” and mindlessly copy and paste information is a necessary life skill. Learning to evaluate, analyze, and critically assess the information from any website is a vital research skill. This skill must be consistently and continually reinforced throughout every curriculum and through every year of the educational process.

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