My head is still spinning from EduBloggerCon but I want to write down a few notes and impressions of my time today. My goal today was to really listen, participate, ask questions, and think. I barely went online and I barely tweeted out a link (I figured everyone else had the smackdown covered.)
I facilitated a session called “Crap Detection and Student Research” and asked teacher-librarians and all interested educators to discuss how we can effectively teach research skills. Here are some of my fragmented thoughts
- Angela Maiers passionately explained her view of literacy. Critical literacy can start at pre-school with the types of questions we ask students. When reading, we ask the student to answer these questions: What is being said? Who is sharing the message? Why is it worthy of my attention? We read with the writer in mind and then when we write – we write with the reader in mind. Just imagine if every teacher K-16 led their students with these type of questions, evaluations… we wouldn’t have high school teachers complaining that “kids today don’t know how to properly cite sources”.
- We can model for students how to attribute authority during everyday conversations & when teaching. For example, say ” According to the source __________ …” instead of just stating a fact. By modeling this type of references, we constantly are asking our students to evaluate the source, is it credible, what is the author’s point of view. We can change how we frame the conversation … “How does the author fee about …” Ask more questions and give less delivery of information. When older students are stating a fact, ask them to back up their statement with a source or reference.
- By placing our students in the position of authors themselves, we give them the opportunity to really care about their topics and then they take ownership of backing up their topics.
- When doing more formal research, give the students scaffolding to help them through the process. Joyce Valenza said “Don’t place the oweness on the child.” Search tools can help compensate for the their lack of knowledge of how the search process works (like Google WonderWheel and Timeline) but we need to model the lessons and show them our thinking process. Joyce discussed having high school students created critical annotative citations of their research to explain why they used a particular sources and how it demonstrates evidence of their research. They need to “search with intention.”
- David Warlick stated several times that students need to CARE about their research topics. It’s not just enough these days to “do research” on a topic. Instead of writing a report ABOUT something – conduct research that supports a goal, an opinion, a comparision or something they are passionate about. One of the Australian teachers shared a great project done at their school – something like a CSI crime investigation to teach and model critical thinking and investigative research.
- Howard Reingold work was cited, Crap Detection 101 and the Critical Thinking Wiki.
- Instead of using a checklist to evaluate websites to check for credibility (ie, source, author intention, domain) we can use all type of sources – including primary sources of blogs, twitter, & wikis to check facts against and develop those critical evaluation skills.
My overall impression of the session is that I really want to think about how I frame my questions with my students when they are conducting research in the library. I hope to influence teachers to “work in a project-based environment where the core values of inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation and reflection” (vision statement taken from Science Leadership Academy).