Here I go getting ready to get on my soapbox about research and the skills our students need to be taught. I just read this article from Edudemic http://edudemic.com/2012/09/students-online-researchers/ which I encourage all to stop and read and now I am trying to look at some new ways to ensure our young technology savvy students know how to properly research and evaluate resources. Students today have so much so fast at their fingertips that they do not even stop to think about the resources. Back in the day when we trudged through the stacks or microfiche evaluating our resources seemed obvious and expected, but today students just have not learned or been taught the value and one day this lack of knowledge will cost students a great deal. Educators we must be the leaders, role models, and teachers of these skills just as we were taught years ago. So here are my tips:
1. Students must not begin with Google. We must teach students the better databases and search engines to use.
2. When using a search engine even Google, students need to know how to use Advanced Boolean search tips such as using and, or, not, and using keywords and phrases placing “phrases” in quotation marks. I am linking here to Edudemic and an article titled 50 Search Engines You Probably Don’t Use Yet.
3. As students are searching the Internet and using various search engines they must learn and know how to evaluate websites. Here is a link to a mini-poster from Kathy Schrock titled The 5 W’s of Website Evaluation.
3.Teach students a process to their research. The Big6 is one I advocate for but their are many different ways but teach and model a way to do research. Here is a link to Kathy Schrock Information Literacy Page where you can find some different models and much more!
4. By all means everyone must site their sources. Here are links to just a few sites where students can easily create citations, but I always tell students databases are the best these have citations already created for the user.
The big issue is first as teachers we must model these research methods to ensure our students know we are serious when we teach these skills. One last great research site I want to share is well done by the Upper School of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. My advice to educators let’s use all these resources to help our students to become stewards of information literacy. Now I am stepping down.