Improving The Research Habits Of Students


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Study results from Dulcinea Media showed that middle and high school students were not adequately prepared to effectively do research online. This covers the study results as well as steps through the process of teaching students proper online research techniques.

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  • Improving The Research Habits Of Students

    1. 1. How to Improve Students’ Internet Research Skills
    2. 2. Overview Dulcinea Media provides free content and tools that help school librarians and teachers teach students how to use the Internet effectively, responsibly and safely. This presentation discusses some current research about students’ Internet research skills, and provides a framework for improving them. All text in blue is a hyperlink that, when clicked on while the presentation is in “Slideshow” format, opens a Web page with substantially more information about the topic. A list of all links is on the last page of this presentation as well.
    3. 3. Lesson Plans Available This Summer Dulcinea Media plans to create free lesson plans on teaching Internet research skills for the 2010-11 school year. To be alerted to the publication of these lesson plans, sign-up for our free email newsletter, which features our best daily content, educator interviews, and tips for incorporating the Web into your curriculum.
    4. 4. Today’s students are digital natives “ It is very likely that our students’ brains have physically changed – and are different from ours – as a result of how they grew up” - Marc Prensky 1
    5. 5. So are they effective researchers? The notion that young people are expert searchers "is a dangerous myth. Digital literacies and information literacies do not go hand in hand.” ”… little time is spent in evaluating information....faced with a long list of search hits, young people find it difficult to assess the relevance…and often print off pages with no more than a perfunctory glance...” - UCL: Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future (January 2008) 2
    6. 6. A recent study: Researchers in the Netherlands studied 5 th graders “on and off-screen behavior” after the students had completed an information literacy program. Most students continued to use Google only, and “students never questioned the reliability of the Websites they accessed” basing judgment only on “relevance for the specific task.” 3
    7. 7. Students search but don’t find... “ Students high level of browsing [is] carried on at the expense of thinking about information need, planning for strategies, and evaluating obtained information.” 4 -- Shu-Hsien L. Chen
    8. 8. An overwhelming experience... “ Electronic media can “ov erwhelm youth with information that they may not have the skills or experience to evaluate.” 5 -- Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, March 2010
    9. 9. Dulcinea Media’s 2010 Survey... Surveyed 300 Students
    10. 10. Survey methods Online survey included 27 multiple-choice and open-ended questions delivered through unique link. A link to the high school survey A link to the middle school survey
    11. 11. Our sample.... 95% of students surveyed said they used computers at home.
    12. 12. Age at first online search experience
    13. 13. General search engine use: <ul><li>71% of high school and middle school students said they use Google. </li></ul><ul><li>9% said Bing </li></ul><ul><li>17% skipped the question </li></ul>
    14. 14. Q: How do you begin your search? I type a question (natural language) -- 48.9 % of middle school students -- 21.4 % of high school students I use keywords --56.5% of high school students --31% of middle school students I use keywords, connectors such as AND and OR and sometimes use quotation marks. --13.7% of high school students --10.3% of middle school students
    15. 15. Q: If a search doesn’t give you good results, what do you do next?
    16. 16. Sample responses: I try another search engine. I try different keywords but if I still can't find an answer, I just think real hard for an answer. I turn my focus on the encyclopedia. I click on something else or type in something else. I play games then use
    17. 17. Results:
    18. 18. How do you decide if an article you find on the Internet is a good source to use for a school report?
    19. 19. Sample responses: If it has the information I need then its good for me. If it sounds good, I know it’s right, and it has a good vocab. I don't know. I just go with it. If It gives me a lot of information it’s good. If it has footnotes.
    20. 20. Results:
    21. 21. Q: How often do you check the author of an online article? Most of the time: 14.7% & 7.1% (high school / middle school) Rarely or never: 57.4% & 71.8% Comment: “It doesn’t really matter who the writer is”
    22. 22. Q: How often do you check to see when an article was written or last updated ? Most of the time: 19.2% & 8.8% (high school / middle school) Rarely or never: 50.8% & 72.6% Comment: “I can’t find it.”
    23. 23. Conclusions of Dulcinea Media survey <ul><li>A majority of students: </li></ul><ul><li>Rely almost entirely on Google; </li></ul><ul><li>don’t know how to formulate a sound search query; </li></ul><ul><li>don’t have a valid strategy for when they get poor results; </li></ul><ul><li>can’t articulate how they know when content is credible; </li></ul><ul><li>don’t consider the author of an article or his credentials; and </li></ul><ul><li>don’t check when a work was created or last updated. </li></ul>
    24. 24. In other words... WE’RE LOST
    25. 25. Improving Internet skills starts with you <ul><li>Teachers must enhance their own information literacy skills, and learn better how to teach them. </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t do it alone; collaborate with school librarian and fellow teachers, and also develop a personal learning network. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Models & Resources for Web Research Review the Big6: excellent information for teachers. 8 Share the “Ergo” model for search with students. 9 Review SweetSearch Ten Tips for Better Searches, a continually evolving repository of research advice.
    27. 27. Step One: Define the task <ul><li>Explain natural language vs. keywords; nouns vs. verbs. </li></ul><ul><li>Students should rewrite assignment in their own words. </li></ul><ul><li>Then, “brainstorm several keywords and phrases. The ones you think would appear and wouldn’t.” 6 </li></ul><ul><li>Use &quot;keyword category concept maps” 7 </li></ul>
    28. 28. Define the task (cont’d) <ul><li>Students can use Rockwell Schrock’s Boolean Machine to visualize how connectors work. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage use of advanced search options </li></ul><ul><li>Allow students to consult Wikipedia only to develop keywords for search; use this article, Top Ten Reasons Why Students Can’t Cite or Rely on Wikipedia, to explain why Wikipedia cannot be relied on or cited. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage students to dig deeper, finding the right source takes longer but saves time writing a report </li></ul>
    29. 29. Step Two: Decide Where to Search <ul><li>Encourage “Google Holiday” to lessen dependency. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage students to use at least 2 search engines including specialty/meta search engines. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a list of “approved sites” and encourage students to conduct a search on each of them. </li></ul><ul><li>SweetSearch is our custom search engine that only searches 35,000 sites we’ve evaluated & approved. </li></ul><ul><li>Looking for primary sources? Use this article to find the best places online to locate primary material. </li></ul>
    30. 30. Step Three: Outline & record search strategies <ul><li>Teach students to document their search strategy so they don’t keep “looping” and “backtracking” through same sites and searching same keywords. </li></ul><ul><li>Students could create free accounts in Diigo to highlight, annotate and store their research. </li></ul>
    31. 31. Step Four: Evaluate site credibility <ul><li>Teach students to be skeptical. Anyone can publish anything on the Web. Focus on finding the best information, rather than the first information that sounds good. </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm information with several sources. </li></ul><ul><li>No one thing will tell you if a Web site can be trusted. Every aspect of a Web site must be reviewed to see if the information is accurate, up to date, objective and authoritative. </li></ul>
    32. 32. Evaluation (cont’d) : 3 Simple Questions <ul><li>Who? Identify the author, and publisher of every site, and evaluate their credentials. </li></ul><ul><li>Why? Establish the writers’ motivations as a lens for evaluating credibility. </li></ul><ul><li>When? Determine when an article was published or last updated; if you can’t, confirm the currency of the information elsewhere. </li></ul>
    33. 33. Evaluation (cont’d): Are you kidding me? <ul><li>What is the site’s editorial policy? Do editors or experts review the information? Is the information thorough and complete? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the article satire or a parody, not meant to be taken seriously? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this the original source of the article, or is it taken from another site? Cut and paste a sentence into a search engine to see if it appears on other sites. If it does, figure out which site was the original publisher and evaluate the credibility of that site. </li></ul>
    34. 34. Dulcinea Media’s tools <ul><li>findingDulcinea helps users locate credible and complete information online. Its principal sections: </li></ul><ul><li>Beyond the Headlines integrates a range of sources, viewpoints and historical perspectives into a cohesive, balanced view of a current event. </li></ul><ul><li>On This Day is a daily feature that chronicles a significant historical event, based on the best Web resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Web Guides provide a road map to exploring hundreds of topics online, with links to the best resources, ordered logically, and woven with narrative, insights, and research strategies. </li></ul><ul><li>EncontrandoDulcinea, a Bridge for Spanish Speakers, is our Web site for bilingual Spanish-speaking Internet users. Content from findingDulcinea has been translated into Spanish, providing Spanish language guidance to the best English and Spanish language Web links by topic. </li></ul>
    35. 35. Dulcinea Media’s tools <ul><li>SweetSearch a Search Engine for Students, searches only 35,000 Web sites that have been approved by our staff. SweetSearch allows students to choose the most relevant result from a list of credible results, without the distraction of unreliable sites. </li></ul><ul><li>SweetSearch Biographies is a database of profiles of notable people, historic & contemporary, from all regions and walks of life. Searchable by profession, gender and race/origin. </li></ul><ul><li>SweetSearch Social Studies features all of findingDulcinea's content for social studies on one, easily accessible page. </li></ul>
    36. 36. Dulcinea Media’s tools <ul><li>On This Day Challenge asks students to choose a significant event from history and use the Web to research and gather information on the chosen event. Using critical thinking and analysis skills, a student then writes an article on the event, citing the Web sources. Outstanding entries will be published with a byline on findingDulcinea, and prizes are awarded by drawing of all participants. </li></ul><ul><li>findingEducation, a Community Tool for Educators, is a free tool that helps educators find the best online education resources, to manage, organize and share links with students and other educators, and to create Web-based assignments. </li></ul>
    37. 37. Conclusion <ul><li>Students can’t effectively research on Internet. </li></ul><ul><li>The change must start with teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>There are many Web tutorials and tools to help teach these skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Dulcinea Media offers free content and tools to help teach students how to use the Web effectively. </li></ul><ul><li>For more information contact us: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
    38. 38. Works Cited: 1. Prensky, Marc. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” : On the Horizon. NCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001 2. UCL. “Information behavior of the researcher of the future”: 11 January 2008. 3. Els Kuiper, Monique Volman and Jan Terwel. “Students' use of Web literacy skills and strategies: searching, reading and evaluating Web information.” Information Research: Vol. 13, No.3, (September, 2008.) 4. Shu-Hsien L. Chen. “Searching the Online Catalog and the World Wide Web.” Journal of Educational Media & Library Sciences, 41 1 (September 2003) 29-43 5. On “Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving Media landscape” Berkman Center for Internet & Society. February 24, 2010. 6. Kasman Valenza, Joyce. “PowerSearching 501”: Springfield Township High School Virtual Library 7. Eagleton, Maya, Kathleen Guinee, and Karen Langlais. “Teaching Internet Literacy Strategies: The Hero Inquiry Project” Voices From the Middle, Vol. 10, No 3, March 2003. 8. Eisenberg, Mike. “What is the Big 6.” The Big 6: Information & Technology Skills for Student Achievement, (1997) 9. “Research Skills.” State Library of Victoria. Ergo. (2010)
    39. 39. Other Links: Dulcinea Media: Newsletter: Survey (High School): Survey (Middle School): SweetSearch 10 Tips: Schrock Boolean Machine: Can’t Cite Wikipedia: SweetSearch: Primary Sources: Who? Why? When? Original Source? findingDulcinea Beyond the Headlines On This Day Happy Birthday Web Guides encontrandoDulcinea SwtSrch Biographies SwtSrch Social Studies: On This Day Challenge findingEducation