One of the coolest Virtcon sessions was Tech Treats or Tricks, by Kathy Beck (no relation). The session focuses on tools to help students research in the digital age.
This is one of those great sessions where you come away with new ideas and new sites to explore as you help students work toward developing research and information fluency.
Kathy points out that students don’t always find the good, meaty content that they are needing when they do a search with Google. Often times, they don’t explore past the first page, or they find content that might not be meaningful or grade-appropriate.
Instagrok (great visual concept mapping!)
Students often don’t realize the important of citing where they have gotten information, or obtained photos. (Actually, lets face it, sometimes teachers aren’t great about this either) Sometimes, we all need a reminder about what plagiarism is.
What is Plagiarism Tutorial (better for older students)
Often, it is because kids don’t know how, or don’t have an easy tool to do the job. Kathy shares a few that will help students (and teachers) navigate through copyright and citing sources.
Citation Machine (best for older students)
There is even a resource for how to cite social media
Evaluating Web Sites
For awhile, I had a few teachers fooled that there was actually a Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. After all, it had a web page. You could donate to the cause. You could read testimonials from scientists. There were pictures. Even skilled, educated teachers fell for a web site that just wasn’t credible, so you can imagine how kids might feel without the right tools for evaluating web sites. Here are some guidelines and web sites Kathy shared to help your students develop these skills.
Stick with the 5 Ws (Who wrote the page, what the page is about, when was it created or updated, where is the information coming from, why is the information useful to me)
Kathy included a whole bunch of great resources from another amazing Kathy-Kathy Schrock. You can find those resources right on Kathy Schrock’s page.
Interested in exploring other websites that look credible, but might not be? Kathy lists a few:
With these tools in hand, students and teachers are prepared to navigate the internet and its treasure trove of information in a responsible and effective way.