Grade Level Expectations - Communication Arts Information Literacy 1B - Locate and use multiple primary and secondary sources; select relevant and credible information AASL Standards 1.1.2 - Use prior and background knowledge as context for new learning. 1.1.8 - Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry. 1.3.1 - Respect copyright/intellectual property rights of creators and producers 2.1.2 - Organize knowledge so that it is useful. 2.1.4 - Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information 2.3.1 - Connect understanding to the real world. 3.1.1 - Conduct an inquiry-based research process by sharing new understandings and reflecting on new learning. 3.1.4 - Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess. 3.1.6 - Use information and technology ethically and responsibly. 3.2.1 - Demonstrate leadership and confidence by presenting ideas to others in both formal and informal situations. 4.1.5 - Connect ideas to own interests and previous knowledge and experience.
It’s that time of year - research project time. Some may dread it because of the quality of research you receive back or the time it takes to teach how to find good research. You know it may be a pain to deal with the type of things students find to put in their research. Maybe you plan it so that it won’t take very long so you can just get through it.
As you start to prepare for the research, you provide the guidelines, topic and goal for the research project You schedule the time in the library to find books and sources. You schedule time to be in the computer labs for students to find online resources and to create their final product. The entire time you are thinking in the back of your mind what type of information you will be receiving.
Once you have discussed the guidelines, had lessons on MLA, you have scheduled time in the library and labs - you set them loose!! The entire time you are hoping that they find information that makes sense and that actually works for their research topic. You are also hoping that the information the students find actually makes them think and it isn’t just to get something done.
Where do they go for information? Many of them will skip books because they actually have to look in books to find the information. It doesn’t just jump right at them and scream “Here’s the answer!” Even if you require a book source, they will try their hardest to find a book where the information just screams right at them. That’s what they want - they want to find the information quick so that they don’t have to think or try to hard.
They go to what is easiest for them - the Internet. What’s the common phrase you hear students say - just “Google it.” That is the answer to everything. Google will answer every question!!! Not always true. New website - Bing. Advertised to be an easier search but it’s still a Web based search engine which isn’t always reliable. The Internet is so simple - they just type in your question and it comes up with an answer. It may not be the exact answer they students want or are even looking for, but it is still an answer. It is something they can write down and make it look like they are actually finding credible sources and information. They believe these sites hold all the answers and there is no where else they need to look. They do not think they even need to make sure the information is correct or look for other information that agrees.
Easy - all you do is type in the browser name, type in the question. Many times you don’t even have to type in search terms or a word, just a question and it comes up with links and lots of links. -is it too easy? Is it teaching kids how to search? Quick - type in a question and get an immediate response. And there are so many links to look at, so many options for answers. -But are those links and answers the right answer? The best answer? A credible answer? Answers - there is nothing that the Internet cannot answer. It will always come up with some link. -Are those links really answers? Are those links just responding to one part of the search
BUT… Is the Internet - Google, Wikipedia, etc - really all the information at your fingertips? Are you holding all the world’s knowledge in your hands? That’s not the case. There are many issues with the Internet that we and the students need to be aware of when researching. The Internet does not give us all the information in the world. It might actually cause problems then solve them.
Searches on the Internet can be very wasteful. It can waste time - students spend more time looking for a right answer or they waste time looking at information that doesn’t work. They waste time sifting through mounds of links that many times have nothing to do with the search topic. Students can also waste time by sifting through links that lead to no where. Some links may seem like they would be perfect for a research topic but are actually dead links that have been removed from the Web. It causes research to seem harder than it really is. Internet searches can also be counterproductive. Instead of leading students to the correct answers, it most likely will lead students away from their research and their search topics. Many times searches on Internet will make students change their research topic multiple times depending on what information is actually provided. It may lead students to a research topic that would not be able to be proven but sounds cool because the Web has “so much” on it.
Students believe that the entire world has the Web and puts everything on the Web and that everything on the Web must be true. The Internet does not penetrate all nations - most nations barely have the Web. So how is a student going to find good information when most of the world isn’t even on the Web? If a student is trying to find information on a country or specific topic, where is that information coming from - especially if the topic they are researching is on something that not many people can accurately describe. Researchers would put things on the Web that may not be right or even outdated. Researchers putting information out on Web usually take the information at face value, not really making sure that it is right or would really work. They are under such stress that researchers just put information out to have information out. The information that is out on the Web may be extremely biased - students may think they are getting objective information when the information they are receiving leans a bit away from neutral. Global coverage is disappointing It’s incomplete and low.
Searching is not easy. Everyone can search for something - the better question is can students actually FIND information? Students are can surf the Internet better than anybody. They know how to aimlessly look through the Internet. They do not know how to actually look for and find information that is needed. Typing in a question will not automatically result in the answers. Typing in one word or even two words will not automatically result in the exact information needed. However, that is how students believe will happen when they search on the Internet, which is why they always go to the Web. With the bad searching and the amount of information that comes back in a Web search leads to information and search overload. This then causes students to shut down. They say they need more time as they need to look through everything. They don’t even want to do the project any longer so they don’t which leads to bad grades. Students also believe that when they type something into a search engine (Google, Wikipedia) that it searches ALL of the web; it doesn’t. It searches an index that may not be updated with new information. The Web is actually more complicated than what is seen on the surface.
More than one place to look besides Google. “Googling it” won’t always work. Google and the Internet are the exact same thing. The information is on the Web; Google is a way to find the information. Many times other search engines will retrieve information that Google will not. A search engine, like Google, only covers part of the Web. Students think that by using one way to find information that all knowledge they need will be found. They need to understand that they have to keep searching in order to find what they really want. Students turn to search engines for any task when many of those tasks can more easily be done without a search engine. Because students turn to Google and other search engines for all information, they may find that the Web does not have any information on their topic, which usually is not true at all. By thinking that there is no information on their topic, students may find it harder to find information and make it harder to finish research.
The Internet is large - almost every printed document created in the last 15 years is on the Web. The Internet is quite large - however Many of the links that are on the Web include dead links - links that don’t exist or lead the students to a useless site or information that is not valuable. Compare the Internet to an online resource and the online resource will pale in comparison to the amount. However, an online resource has structured information - full text, no porn, no juvenile toys, no repetition of the same data, no fake sites. The Internet does not have searchable metadata or help manuals.3 Online resources also have a better search language for students to use when needing information. Internet information is invalidated and unstructured as well as not organized. Internet is actually quite small.
Those that search on the Internet are lead to believe that the results to searches will be completely objective. However, this is not always true. The ranking order of some well known search engines is usually influenced by the advertisements on those search engines. The sites of advertisers who pay more will rank higher on the results list. The ranking order may also be influenced by Web site builders. Some Web site builders will do anything to guarantee that their Web site ranks higher in a results list. This means that students may believe that they are finding good information where they may actually be receiving information that is completely biased and incorrect. Because certain links are listed higher in a ranking order, students automatically think that it’s the most correct; it has to be the right link if it’s listed first. The search results on the Internet usually may mirror the cultures, politics, and human beings who create it and promote it.
So, now what do we do? Do we deny students to use the Internet? We can’t keep them away; the Internet may be a good start. Students have to research - they need to learn. Online resources are resources they can use with a bit more confidence and be able to find all the information they need.
So many more options
Like having all the colors of the rainbow, online resources provide knowledge and information on all subjects. Some resources are subject specific which can make it easy to find information. Databases like Opposing Viewpoints, Wilson Web and Facts on File specifically target opinions, library science, and history. However, most resources are broad enough that they will cover any and all subjects. Most resources pull from a wide variety of periodicals so that there will be a larger amount of results to pull from. Can make the search vague or specific - depending on what the topic is
Search to fit your needs - much more narrow of a search depending on what the student wants to find. The structure of the search can be as limited or as broad as the student needs. Students can search for articles with a certain amount of words, full text, etc. Students could even choose the years to look for in an article. Less info to search and sift through. By narrowing a searching, students do not have to dig through links that may lead to no where. The results list from a search may only contain a few articles that more correctly fit the search topic than on a search engine. A narrow search provides accurate results that fit the topic more appropriately.
Online resources are much more reliable and have more well known journals and periodicals that results are pulled from. You know that you’re getting something that is credible because the periodicals are academic journals or professional magazines. They are materials that professional people created and did not just make up. The results that are provided won’t be dead links that lead to no where. The results won’t be outdated or provide information that is not even correct.
With a database, you can use information from one source to use as new search topics. Students are “surf savvy” not really “search savvy.” By seeing how the databases provide paths to get the information, students will learn quickly how to search on databases so that their search skills improve. New information can be created by the searches that are used on the online resources. On most of the online resources, there will be a part of the screen that will list other things to search or other ideas that relate to the search topic. Students can use those ideas to narrow their search as well as to provide a deeper understanding of the search topic and the research.
Online resources won’t have advertisements so the database will look cleaner. There will also be no one person who is driven by the money in advertisements that will affect the results that are found. When a student searches, the results will come with what fits. If there are no results, there won’t be any. Can be frustrating as it will usually be something the students are not used to. But it will teach students how to search properly and efficiently. It will also teach students how to better search because a broad search topic will result in a large amount of results that may be overwhelming. However, students will quickly learn by using more online resources how to use the interface and find a better way to search for a topic. Online resources are not created by a person which allows for a much more objective way to search for topics. Also allows for results to be collected by relevance and not by money or a person trying to get their information across.
With Internet, it seems students have to always figure out the site - or how to best use it. The way to conduct a search or the amount of information on the site may change with each search engine. Search engines may try to “update” their site which causes users to have to re-learn how to use the site. Not with databases. It will be the same tools on each database. Maybe set up slightly different but once you figure out one database it will be very simple to use the others. The more students use databases the easier it will be for them to find their information as they will become familiar with the database tools. Each database uses the same types of tools; it may just be set up slightly different depending on the database but it will always be the same type of tools. Familiarity allows confidence so that students will be much more comfortable using online resources which will make them feel confident in figuring it all out on their own.
One database will pull articles from multiple periodicals. Students won’t be stuck trying to find information on one site or one magazine. They will be exposed to all periodicals which provides so much information than just one site. There are so many databases that students don’t have to rely on just one. By having so many databases, students can research their topic on any and all that they want and receive more choices. Students can then decide which database or databases works for them. They can receive general information as well as subject specific information and not have to use the same database. There are some databases for specific subjects - law, history, opinion, etc. If students know what subject their topic fits, they can focus on that database that works with their topic. They don’t have to go sifting through multiple links and articles to find something even remotely useful.
Sam’s Club - a store all about bulk!! Anything and everything you need can be found at Sam’s. It’s the same way with databases. Any and every type of information that is needed can be found on online resources. Databases and other online resources provide the bulk of the information that is needed. If students cannot find information on a database, then their topic may be too specific to even research. Most research or assignments can be exclusively done through the use of online resources. With so many databases available, there is no reason to not get the bulk of the research finished through online resources. By being online and available through most school Web site, there is so excuse for students to not be able to finish any research assignment.
Databases don’t always have to be about research. Teenagers - full of drama and angst. Never know how to deal with situations that cause them so much confusion. What do they turn to? Not really sure - friends, parents. Some of it may be too embarrassing or confusing to explain to another person. Many teens don’t go to the library for their information needs. Many don’t think that the library would be able to answer the questions they have - questions not about a research topic but about them as individuals. Some databases provide answers that could be found on the Internet but are easily available on a database. Searching on the database will provide a more straight-forward answer where as on the Internet, it’s never entirely clear what maybe come up in the results. Teen Health and Wellness answers questions that only teens have. No nonsense takes on every subject that teens may have questions on Numerous features Expert overviews Encouraging World Book also provides answers. Focuses more on life skills - computing, credit cards, etc. Provides links to words - strengthen vocabulary There is a source that teens can turn to that won’t judge.
Databases aren’t just for students. They can be for teachers too. You can use the databases too for your own graduate classes or for your own research. Many of the databases like Ebsco and Gale have academic journals that they use. ERIC - is a database that uses academic journals primarily. Something most graduate classes require for research. Instead of teachers having to figure out a way to find research for their graduate classes, they could use the databases the schools provides as it is broad enough to find and support any topic. It’s easy to use since it’s available right at school -the place you are always at!
Should we stay away from the Internet all together? No. The Internet is not all bad. The Internet is a good place to start. It provides ideas on topics and could lead students to a perform a better search on the databases. However, databases provide so much more - reliability, credibility, bulk of the information, a better search, better results. Databases will provide answers where as the Internet primarily may not. Using databases more in every class possible will increase students’ information competency. Useful for further education and academic purposes Useful for being a life-long learner which is the goal of any high school education. Online resources will help students access information in multiple formats, not just a Google search. Students don’t even know these resources are available. Introducing these resources to them will open many doors for them in their education and in their lives.
Final project-Online Resources
Online Resources The Reliable Choice http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/564773
It’s that time…. http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/54760
As the teacher, you… <ul><li>Provide guidelines for project </li></ul>http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/81353
Now what?? <ul><li>Not use the Internet? </li></ul><ul><li>Why online resources? </li></ul>
Works Cited <ul><li>Bissonnette, Lonna and Michelle Sharp. Personal Interview. 28 Apr. 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>B urek Pierce, Jennifer. “Redeeming Our Relevance.” American Libraries. Nov. 2009. Library & Information Science . Web. 1 May 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>Kent, David. “ Student Search Skills Using Library Online Resources: A Small Study.” Alki. Dec. 2008. Library & Information Science. Web. 27 Apr. 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>Reuser, Arno H. P. “When Internet Is InterNOT.” Online. Weston, Conn., Jan/Feb 2008. Library & Information Science . Web. 27 Apr. 2010. </li></ul>