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Inquiry Project #1 Search Information On The Internet


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Inquiry Project #1

Published in: Technology, Education
  • Positives. I liked…
    - the variety of questions you asked.
    - The connections you made to the readings
    - How you observed their “temperament” and “attitude” as well as their search behavior

    Suggestions. For next project, I want you to really try to…
    - include some specific details or examples from your observations. For example, what did enter into the search engine? What were they’re topics? What is an example of a frustrated student? All the data in this project seems “boiled down” to general descriptions.
    - Try to ask them as open-ended ,rather than yes/no questions.
    - Make your report fit the presentation mode. In this case, you were to produce Powerpoint slides. I thought some slides had too much information, and seemed at times to be basically a short paper put onto slides.

    ~David W.
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  • Positives:
    • Connected to the course readings

    • Included popular culture in your teaching (i.e., Star Trek”).
    • Included multiple data sources.

    • Too much text information in your Powerpoint slides. Need to make changes to fit presentation mode, such as using subheadings and keep text short but informative. Tables and diagrams can be used to present data and findings.

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  • Jerrod nice work! This sounds like a very interesting assignment for your kids. Do you think they enjoyed it? I found it interesting the variety of number of sites each student needed to complete the assignment. I would assume that the ones who had a greater number of websites had a higher quality report.

    Thanks for sharing your interesting findings! ~Sarita S.
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  • Dear Jerrod,

    It is interesting that one of your students found it frustrating that he found information and its contradiction on the web. I wonder how he would have reacted if that is what he had been assigned to do, as BBruce suggested?

    Your students share so much with the ones I observed, even though they are older. They also seem to think of questions and answers as having a one to one correlation, and to be satisfied by choosing the first answer they come to that 'matches.'

    There seem to be isolated cases of students who transcended this--one student who used a subject specific search engine, for example. I wonder if having a conversation with him would be informative--how did he learn to do that?


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Inquiry Project #1 Search Information On The Internet

  1. 1. CEP 806 <ul><li>Inquiry Project #1 </li></ul><ul><li>Finding and Using Internet Information </li></ul><ul><li>CEP 806 </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Wong </li></ul><ul><li>J. Dohm </li></ul><ul><li>September 21 st , 2007 </li></ul>
  2. 2. Ideas, Predictions, and Explanations <ul><li>What steps do students take to find science content online? </li></ul><ul><li>Do students understand the basic abilities of a search engine and how to use them? </li></ul><ul><li>Are students able to identify quality websites from others? </li></ul><ul><li>Do students question the material they encounter on a website? </li></ul><ul><li>Do students check to make sure the information they discover is accurate? </li></ul><ul><li>Do students know how to properly document internet sources? </li></ul>Inquiry Questions
  3. 3. Project Predictions <ul><li>Students will have a general knowledge of search engines. However, they will spend a great deal of time on their searches due to a lack of understanding how to select keywords and use quotations </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of the students in the class will struggle to identify quality websites. Some students will use poor sites due to a false sense of trust in what they encounter on the internet, while others will simply lack the drive to search for quality sites. </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of the students will not investigate the validity of the information they find. Some will simply believe their information to be correct, while others will lack the motivation to push their research further. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Project Predictions Cont. <ul><li>The biggest problem the students will have is documenting what they find on the internet. Students will not know the proper form for documenting internet sources. Several members of the class will believe that the search engine they used is the actual source. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Plan <ul><li>“ Developments in technology pose interesting challenges for universal literacy. In principle, new technologies-ranging from crank-up radios to digital video on the Internet-could provide access to texts and tools for writing for all people throughout the world” – Bertram Bruce </li></ul><ul><li>In recent years technology has become an ever more present means of educating students in the classroom. Technology allows educators to explore new methods of teaching, and opens up a world of information to students. Many classrooms use projection televisions with computers to allow entire classes to view the same material simultaneously. Teachers are able to put lectures into PowerPoint presentations instead of the traditional note taking. Perhaps the most important technological advancement has been the accessibility for students to computers. </li></ul>Explanation and Background
  6. 6. Explanation and Background Cont. <ul><li>In the school I currently work at there is three computer labs. Each lab has an adequate number of computers to accommodate a typical class load. In terms of teaching students and creating entertaining and effective lesson plans, these computer labs are great. However, it has become increasingly obvious that this technology comes with a new set of problems. </li></ul><ul><li>In his article, Credibility of the Web: Why We Need Dialectical Reading , Bertram C. Bruce states “most users quickly see the problems that arise. Issues of privacy, plagiarism, pornography, hate sites, commercialism, and simply wasting time arise regardless of the topic.” Students have also grown to expect to find information instantly. They have spent their entire lives around computers and as a result have come to trust and accept the information they encounter on the internet. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Explanation and Background Cont. <ul><li>Students of today have rarely, if ever, had to use traditional sources of information when performing research. Very few of my students would know how to find information in a traditional library. As a result of this, they perform much of their work on a computer, searching the internet for information. This creates problems when students are ineffective at using search engines. Students must know how to find, evaluate, and document quality sources. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Project Description <ul><li>The subject of my inquiry project was “Star Wars” Technology. This project required students to write a four to five page research paper about technology found in Hollywood movies. The students were allowed to choose any movie from the “Star Trek”, “Star Wars”, or “James Bond” series. In order to write the paper, they must choose a specific technology that they believed could be possible. They then needed to research the topic and determine if the technology was indeed possible and if it already existed. </li></ul>The Research Assignment
  9. 9. The Research Assignment Cont. <ul><li>Out of convenience I chose to perform this project with my 9th grade science class. This class contains eighteen students. Out of this eighteen there is a wide range of academic ability. This class was given three full class periods to conduct the research for their paper. Following these three days the students were allowed two additional days to write and proof read their work. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Data Collection Methods <ul><li>Student Questionnaire: Students were required to answer the following questions as they performed their research. </li></ul><ul><li>What search engine(s) did you use in your search? </li></ul><ul><li>What words did you type into the search engine? </li></ul><ul><li>(Write down what you entered for each search performed) </li></ul><ul><li>How many searches did you perform? </li></ul><ul><li>How many searches did you perform before you found a quality source? </li></ul><ul><li>Why did you choose the sites you did? What made them quality sources? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Post Assignment Interviews <ul><li>Student Interviews: Each of the fifteen students who completed the assignment on time were asked the following questions in a post assignment interview. </li></ul><ul><li>What technology did you choose to investigate and why? </li></ul><ul><li>Approximately how long did it take you to find quality information on the internet? </li></ul><ul><li>How effective would you say your searches were? 1-very poor 5-very effective </li></ul><ul><li>How did you determine if a website was quality or not? </li></ul><ul><li>How did you verify that the information you found in your sources was accurate? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Teacher Observations <ul><li>Data was also gathered through simple observations of the students as they performed their work. </li></ul><ul><li>This method allowed for observations of not only how the students approached the project, but also their attitude and temperament when searching. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Assignment results <ul><li>Of the fifteen students who completed the assignment, one used a subject specific search engine. The remaining fourteen students used Google, Yahoo, or Ask Jeeves. </li></ul><ul><li>When entering words into the search engine, three students entered entire questions. These students had difficulty finding sites that dealt with the assigned topic. Only five students in the class documented that they used quotations when entering keywords into a search engine (Aprx. 33%). </li></ul>Questionnaire Responses
  14. 14. Questionnaire Data Cont. <ul><li>The average number of searches performed during the research phase of the project was seven. Three students performed over ten, and four students performed only two. </li></ul><ul><li>The average number of searches performed before finding a “quality” site was three. Seven students claim to have found “quality” sites after their first search. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Questionnaire Data Cont. <ul><li>Five students wrote that they used the sites they did because they were the first they encountered. </li></ul><ul><li>The remainder of the class claimed that the sites they used had the answers they were looking for (had information they could use in their paper). </li></ul>
  16. 16. Questionnaire Data Cont. <ul><li>There was a wide range of answers regarding what made for a quality site. </li></ul><ul><li>Seven of the fifteen wrote responses that were difficult to understand (i.e. had the answer). Only three students in the class wrote responses that said the site had accurate information regarding the technology they were researching. </li></ul>
  17. 17. The Interviews <ul><li>The interviews with the students were much more informative than the questionnaire responses. </li></ul><ul><li>Every student said they used search engines as the main method of searching for information on their chosen subject. Many students said that they used Google because it “is the best” or “it finds the best websites”. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Interview Responses Cont. <ul><li>Twelve students in the class said they found quality sites within ten minutes of searching. </li></ul><ul><li>Two students said they spent more than twenty minutes searching before they found a quality site. </li></ul><ul><li>One student claimed that they could not find anything on the internet regarding the topic of the research paper. This student was one of the students who entered entire questions into the search engine. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Interview Results Cont. <ul><li>Three students in the class rated the effectiveness of their searches as very poor. Five students claimed that their searches were very effective. The average response was a 4 out of five (effective). </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of the students said that a website was quality if they were able to navigate through its contents easily. Four students claimed mentioned that the site had to have “accurate” information. </li></ul><ul><li>Alarmingly only three students said that they checked into the information they found on the sites they used (verified the information as fact). </li></ul>
  20. 20. General Observations <ul><li>There seemed to be a wide range of computer skills in the class. In his article, Twenty-First Century Literacy, Bertram C. Bruce states “students with computers at home typically become classroom experts”. More investigation would be necessary to determine if this is the case here. </li></ul><ul><li>All students appeared to know how to use the internet and search for information. However, some students had an advanced understanding of how search engines work, while others had a very basic understanding. </li></ul><ul><li>Several students became frustrated while researching their chosen technology. For the most part these students were the ones who minimal computer skills. One student who had advanced knowledge of computers became frustrated when he found websites that contradicted each other. </li></ul><ul><li>The three students who did not finish the assignment on time spent much of the allotted research time on websites that had nothing to do with the assignment. These students were using Google to find game sites or research video games that were to be released in the near future. While they obviously wasted their time, they did know how to use search engines. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Data Analysis and Conclusions <ul><li>Every student in the class knew what a search engine was and how to use it. However, not all students were able to use the search engines effectively. </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of the students in the class did not have a true sense of how search engines worked. This is evident in the fact that very few students used quotations around keywords when searching for information. </li></ul><ul><li>After studying the questionnaire and interview responses, it is clear that students struggle to understand what makes up a quality website. Furthermore, very few students attempted to verify that the information they gathered was indeed accurate. Several students had difficulty defending their findings. Many of the websites were found to have inaccurate information. </li></ul><ul><li>When the students turned in their assignments problems were encountered with their documentation. There sources were documented improperly, and in some cases not at all. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Evaluation of Predictions Conclusion Cont. <ul><li>The majority of my predictions turned out to be correct. The students were able to use search engines, but did not demonstrate a strong understanding of how they work. </li></ul><ul><li>My prediction that the students would struggle to identify quality sites also turned out to be correct. While the majority of the students spent a great deal of time viewing sites of little value. I was pleased in the number of students who were able to subjectively analyze the websites they encountered. </li></ul><ul><li>I predicted that students would not check the accuracy of the information they found. Once again this prediction turned out to be accurate. The majority of the class did not perform and investigation about the information discovered. When I made this prediction I was unsure why this would be. I feel now that most students simply lacked the drive or desire to research deeper into their subject. Only a couple students in class appeared to believe everything that they read. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Conclusion Cont. <ul><li>When it came to documentation I was once again correct with my prediction. The students demonstrated an absolute lack of understanding when it came to documenting internet sources in their research paper. This appears to be due to a lack of practice. At this point I am unsure just how much they have been taught about documenting internet sources in their English classes. </li></ul><ul><li>In the end this inquiry project opened my eyes to the way students use technology in a science setting. It has become clear to me that students must be taught about the technology itself before it can be used effectively as an educational tool. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Sources <ul><li>Bruce, B. Credibility of the Web: Why We Need Dialectical Reading. Journal of Philosophy of Education (special issue), 34(1), 97-109. </li></ul><ul><li>Bruce B. C. (1999-2000, December/January). Searching the web: New Domains of Inquiry. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 43(4), 348-354. </li></ul><ul><li>Bruce B. Twenty-First Century Literacy. </li></ul><ul><li>Bugeja, Michael (2004). Don’t Let Students “Overlook” Internet Plagiarism. Educational Digest, October, 37-43. </li></ul>