As I approach the beginning of the new year and I am thinking about transitioning into more of a project-based classroom, I can’t help but feel a little anxious because my students are not equipped to research and analyze information found online in a quick and efficient manner. So what am I to do about it? Well.. take matters into my own hands… OF COURSE.
Why is this important you may ask? Many students open up google, type whatever comes to their mind, click on the first few links and if they don’t see anything rather quickly they give up and say they can’t find anything. Sound familiar? It does sound familiar to me and I want to equip my students with the skills it takes to 1. Take the time (even if it’s a few seconds) to think about what they are going to search. 2. To look at the links provided and make an informed judgment on whether it may or may not help them. 3. Tell if it is a legitimate 4. Learn how to scan a web page for the information they are looking for. I have found some resources I plan on using to help my students with these skills.
The following articles have good strategies to start teaching students how to research and analyze information online:
Best Practices in Teaching the New Literacies of Online Research and Comprehension
Five Steps to Teaching Students How to Research Online and Filter Information
11 Ways to Teach Savvy Search Skills
Teaching students to brainstorm to come with keywords is a critical skill. At first it may seem like it is time consuming and boring but it will help students search more efficiently. Once they have practice that thought process will go on in their heads and they will no longer need pencil and paper but for starters, brainstorming is best. Teaching students how to skim websites, read headings and using Ctl + F will really speed up and make the time they spend figuring out if a website is useful more efficient. When students are equipped with the right tools they are more likely to be successful. This builds confidence in them and that confidence will help them figure out more challenging problems down the road.
My plan is to start off my scaffolding this information for my students and of course practicing it as much as possible. To be able to participate in a project-based learning environment students have to be fluent in these skills. If they are not they are going to have to rely heavily on the teacher and what we want for the students is for them to be successful in their future endeavors. These skills will help them problem solve for the rest of their careers and lives.
Here is a video on Teaching Students how to research: