Module #5
Mod 5 Activity 2


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Activity #2 Question:
Share what you found to be most interesting with the "digger deeper" into the 21st Century Information Fluency website, and share a teaching strategy you plan to utilize from one of the tools/resources from the website with your students or colleagues this Fall.

Laurie Sloma’s response: This school year I am going to focus on incorporating more technology into my high school math classroom. As I do this, one aspect that I want to focus on is searching effectively. The Full Circle Kit provided many wonderful activities to incorporate into the classroom. “Getting Started” will teach the students basic search strategies and types of searching. “Optimal Queries” will teach the students to form an initial query to find better keywords. Along with these lessons I would also use the Action Zone games which are search challenges, some similar to the ones we had to complete by finding the URL of specific pictures.

There were also many resources found as articles, blogs, and podcasts. In one of the articles the author suggested having the students keep a personal log of a search, again something that can be done online, as the student is learning to search more effectively. Of course as I write this I can’t find the article to name the author. I just went back to the 21st Century Information Fluency website and discovered more things I had not seen my first time around. I do not think I will ever get over how much information is out there.

As the students work on searching I would also use “Search Wizard” in the Wizard Tools. It teaches the students how to use a Google Advanced Search. I went through the hints that were given and learned so much. Whenever I searched on Google I would use quotation marks. Why? I have no idea. It’s just something that I did. Once in a while I will leave them out or throw an “and” in the mix. Now I know how to adjust my keywords to make the search more effective.

Another great use of this site would be at an inservice at the beginning of the school year. Even just going through the Search Wizard would be a great help. I have to think that I am not the only person who needs help in searching in Google. (ok, I hope I am not the only person!) Also, in the Full Circle Kits there was one titled “Web 2.0.” I have heard many times to not use Wikipedia as a resource. In an article by Doug Johnson, “Wikipedia: Ban it? Or Boost it?” he states, “The ability to evaluate and defend one’s choice of information source becomes as important as finding an answer to the research itself.” We need to help the teachers realize that we need to teach our kids to evaluate information constantly by looking for the same information from multiple sources, seeing the stated and unstated bias by the author or the sponsor, etc.


Jodi Rupnow's Response:
I once again found myself unable to pull away from my computer. I found so many great resources to share with my colleagues and the graduate students I work with. One of the great finds I came across was an area in the workshop links under the Full Circle Resource Kit. It was titled Five Things Every Child Should Understand About Online Searching Before Starting Middle School. This was a nice comprehensive list that I will share with my colleagues as we work with our elementary students. I also found a terrific podcast called The Connected Classroom. This podcast focused on the interplay between online tools, communities of learning and pursuing our passions. This is definitely something I will share with my students in Marian's Ed. Tech. program. I am also looking forward to incorporating some of the Action Zone games into my courses. Like Laura mentioned, there were hints that I picked up as I went through the various challenges and there are many areas of opportunities for in-services with these materials. You could run a whole workshop based just on the fantastic resource on this site. If we hope for our students to do effective searches, we need to model this for them and learning through quality materials like the ones found on this site can help us meet this challenge.


Debbie Figueroa's Response: Ok. So. As an English teacher, I thought I was pretty good at searching for information. But, quite honestly, as revealed in the multiple MicroModules on keyword searching and the Internet challenges, I suck. I never did find the dog with the berret or the original writer of the 500 Useless Facts. When I worked on the citation tutorial, I got EVERY SINGLE question wrong (I even put in the wrong current date!). The hurt was only intensified when my husband looked over my shoulder and snickered at my results. Yet, I can rationalize that I have never had to look for such specific information. When my kids research in my class, they find information about topics and then eventually narrow their searches based on the material found. Luckily, we have several databases containing both primary and secondary sources and have subscribed to Noodlebib so that we can use the citation format, annotation device, and bibliography creator. So, at least I think I have learned the importance of walking kids through the searching process and of maintaining patience while teaching students how to find relevant and reliable information on the Net.


One cool tool that I plan to include in my AP English course this year is the Interactive WSI (Web Site Investigator) http://21cif.com/wsi/#cases. Although a bit of a hokey name, the concept is awesome, having kids walk through how to determine if a site is a reliable source, with MicroModule activities on authorship, bias, accuracy, etc. Although I have a much briefer online tutorial that I have used in the past, I really like how it walks through the various components and then lets them "investigate" whether a site has merit or not. I think the kids will love the interactiveness and can "report out" in unbiased language on their finds. Certainly, I plan to share this resource with my department and the media specialist at my school, and I am also a staff developer for our building and have access to planning district inservices, so the gems introduced in this class, I am sure, will pepper its way in my teachings and throughout the building. Why reinvent the wheel?

Jen Doucette's answers:

I agree with Debbie and Laurie. I have been amazed at just how inept my skills are at searching when exploring these various micromodules and interactive activities on the CIF site. Yet, at the same time, I am so excited about the various ways in which I can teach these skills to students and still allow them some freedom to practice on their own. I did have a few favorites in this week's module that I discovered. One of my favorite was looking at the Full Circle Kits, specifically the information on Ethical Use of information. Because I belabor the point so much in 9th grade, my students are afraid of not citing what they should and understanding what is necessary to cite. This full circle kit gives me numerous lesson plans to begin creating powerful in class activities to help this skill. In addition, there are numerous activities in the "Action Zone" that would allow my students to practice hands-on being able to identify what needs to be cited. This is an invaluable as I struggle with this concept every year.

I also loved the challenges in the Action Zone I struggled with finding many of the answers, but I do know that my students always love a good challenge. I can see taking the final 15 minutes of a class, and giving them a search for Kermit (one of the challenges on the page) as an exercise to reinforce what I have been instructing during the class, but also letting them compete and have fun with this knowledge. These challenges will feul my students excitement!

Overall, I agree with Debbie. For years, I have been trying to reinvent the wheel with the LMTC ladies at our school. We bend over backwards trying to make these research skills releveant and interesting to high schoolers. The past few lessons have given me many ways to do both of those things to my students.


John Handsaker:
1. Testing my own skills in the Database Choices Action Zone takes the old adage “practice makes perfect” to new highs. I practiced each challenge, always improving, but never able to obtain the score to beat. In the Reno Air Race, I could find the correct database in the 8 minutes, but searching for the answer took longer. The picture of the dog with beret had to have been deleted, unless the tags for the picture were really strange. To communicate patience, practice and encouragement to students, the 21st Century Information Fluency web site for personal development is a great teacher aid. I also found the pod cast interviews with Dennis O’Conner and Carl Heine very valuable. Both teachers had interesting comments about web searching in the classroom.
2. I’ve discovered so many resources I’m excited to share with my colleagues. I think, for this year, I’ll keep the focus on student research. This is a big part of the middle school curriculum. Our teachers have developed a fantastic research program that is collaborative between subject areas. However, these projects consume a large amount of library and computer lab time. One way to promote more effective use of time would be to use the “Wizard Tools.” It would enhance the evaluation and citation criteria that are already part of the grade students receive as well as provide more meaningful structure and practice using research methods.
I have found the MicroModules tutorials and Search Challenges are valuable assets for instruction. I could envision tutorials used not only by teachers to further their development, but many could be used by students. They seem to cover a range of topics involved in researching information on the internet, but are still tied together with the national technology standards. I found the search challenges were helpful after reading the MM tutorials.

Julie Skelton:
I like many of you have found just how unskillful I am at searching. Understanding the fundamentals of searching sure make a world of difference. Understanding database searches was a good one for me, I am in the process of labeling my guided reading library books and I would search the level for a specific book only to find the information I was getting was not correct. I would see search results for "databases" but then realized once again that any person can post whatever they want online, and again it was not necessarily accurate. This will be something I share with my colleagues because we are all in the process of finding and labeling books for our classroom collections. It is a time consuming process, and searching smarter has given me back some oh so precious time! I also agree with so many of the posts here, teh Wikipedia argument hit me as well, and teaching kids those skills on evaluating resources. I also appreciated the Five Things Every Child Should Understand About Online Searching Before Starting Middle School. I will be sharing this with the fifth grade teachers in my building as well as my parents.

Amy Heesen:
I am again amazed by the wealth of information that is available. The 'Getting Started'section would very valuable for students as they are learning to use the internet and getting useful and valid information. In this section, I found the section,Do you Google?, of using alternate search sites for finding reliable information than just one. I like many students, use just Google to find the information that I am searching for. Sometimes it is also true that I run into difficulties finding new or valid information. Teaching students other sites will help them expand their knowledge of the internet and finding information easier and more reliable. Other valuable information that I found would be helpful for students is choosing the keywords they are using to find the information that they are searching for. I also really liked the activities that are linked with the information that is learned. It allows the user to test their keyword searching skills and see if they are able to find the exact information that they are looking for. My viewpoint when I look at these steps is to find information that will help the students that I work with find ways to help expand their knowledge of the English language. What I am finding are useful tools for them and all students to use and learn in many of their classes. I enjoyed looking at the 'Five Things Every Child Should Understand About Online Searching Before Starting Middle School'. This is a great resource for all teachers to look at and expecially the computer class teacherto help and support the students as they are learning to use the interent efficiently.