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Research

How to Pick Reliable Websites: The Infographic

Here’s a nice infographic on how to evaluate websites for authenticity, reliableness, and usefulness. Feel free to grab it and share:

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Categories: Digital Citizenship, Research | Tags: | Leave a comment

Citing Sources: The Infographic

EasyBib, the first name most educators think of when citing sources, has created a useful summary on MLA guidelines for citing sources. Best of all, it’s an infographic you can grab and post on your wall (with proper citation, of course):

Click here for the original post.

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Categories: Digital Citizenship, Research | Tags: | 2 Comments

How Tech Teachers Can Benefit From Historical Research Tools

Teaching technology is a difficult profession because people learn in different ways and at different rates. However, one thing that can make it easier for students to learn is for teachers to include instructions on basic academic skills like vocabulary, keyboarding, digital citizenship, and research.

The better a student’s vocabulary, the easier it is for them to improve their comprehension and express themselves in oral and written form. The better a student learns how to use a keyboard, the faster and more accurately, they can work with a computer. The better a student’s digital citizenship, the more safely they can navigate the Internet websites, staying away from scammy links. Finally, the better a student’s research skills, the easier it will be for them to sort out the true from the false.

Technology has made it easier than ever before to do research. Besides an abundance of sources, the Internet provides ways to sift and sort through massive amounts of information through the use of search engines and advanced filters. Compare this to the old school way of doing research: spending hours in a large library and slowly filling out flash cards. Now research is as efficient as doing a Google search to find relevant websites and then bookmarking the site for later reference.

However, besides these online tools, tech teachers can also benefit by borrowing research tools used by historians.

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Categories: History, Research | Tags: | 3 Comments

Plagiarism: What it is and how to identify it

plagiarism.png

Man is a thinking creature. We like evaluating ideas and sharing thoughts. That’s a good thing. The more we collaborate, the smarter we all become.

Implicit in this is that we don’t claim someone else’s ideas as our own. In fact, it’s illegal to do this. Read through this rephrasing of American copyright law:

“The law states that works of art created in the US after January 1, 1978, are automatically protected by copyright once they are fixed in a tangible medium (like the Internet). BUT a single copy may be used for scholarly research (even if that’s a 2nd grade life cycle report) or in teaching or preparation to teach a class.” –Jacqui Murray, Ask a Tech Teacher

When we claim someone else’s work as our own, be it text, artwork, movies, music, or any other form of media, it’s called plagiarism:

“[Plagiarism is the] wrongful appropriation of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions”

The rules and laws surrounding plagiarism aren’t nearly as well-known as those that deal with, say, driving a car or illegally crossing a street. The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics surveyed 43,000 high school students and found that:

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Categories: Digital Citizenship, Research | 3 Comments

Use Unconventional Research Sites to Inspire Students

26551959 Couple Of Students With Laptop In Library

I read recently that 70% of millennials get their news from Facebook. Really? Isn’t Facebook a place to share personal information, stay in touch with friends and families, post pictures of weddings and birthdays? So why do students turn to it for news? And then, not two days later, I heard Twitter has reclassified their app as a news  purveyor rather than a social media device. Once again: Who gets news from Twitter? Apparently a lot of adults. No surprise news shows are littered with references to listener’s tweets and presidential candidates break stories via their Twitter stream.

One more stat — which may explain the whole social-media-as-news-trend — and then I’ll connect these dots: 60% of people don’t trust traditional news sources. That’s newspapers, evening news, and anything considered ‘mainstream media’. They prefer blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.

So when it comes to research, are you still directing kids toward your grandmother’s resources — encyclopedias, reference books, and museums? No doubt, these are excellent sources, but if students aren’t motivated by them, they won’t get a lot out of them. I have a list of eight research sites that walk the line between stodgy (textbooks) and out-there (Twitter and Facebook), designed by their developers with an eye toward enticing students in and then keeping their interest. It’s notable that most are free, but include advertising. The exception is BrainPOP — there are no ads, but it requires a hefty annual fee:

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Categories: Research, Reviews | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Dear Otto: Evaluating Faculty Websites

tech questionsDear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please contact me at askatechteacher at gmail dot com and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Melissa:

I have heard repeatedly from many of my high school social studies students that they rarely use teacher websites. Most who say they do do so only to obtain homework assignments (many prefer to text other students for assignments rather than go online). In general they report that they do not explore the websites any further than they must.
I do find that AP students use teacher created websites frequently, Honors students less so. 
I am looking for research on measured student use of teacher websites. Commercial sites collect extensive data on visitor behavior (dwell time, click through, and etc.).  Are you aware of any research along those lines?
 ..
I’m not familiar with such research so I’m putting it out to my readers. If you have a teacher website that measures visitors, or if you know of this sort of research, please add a comment and a link.
 ..
I know when I had a teacher website several years ago, it was rarely visited by students, even though I tried to add relevant, authentic information. That wasn’t just mine, either; it was all teachers at the school. My Principal tasked me with evaluating faculty websites to see if it was a content issue rather than user disinterest. I adapted a rubric offered in the public domain by the University of Wisconsin-Stout (I’ve attached it for reference). I found that most teachers (in excess of 75%) 1) didn’t keep them up to date, 2) had the wrong information,  or 3) didn’t even have one. It was the rare individual that had a solid, well-thought out website. That–I shared with the committee–was why students weren’t visiting.

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Categories: Dear Otto, Research | Tags: | Leave a comment

30 Great Research Websites for Kids

5880711 process cycle diagramHere are quick, safe spots to send students for research:

  1. BrainPop
  2. Citation Machine
  3. CoolKidFacts–kid-friendly videos, pictures, info, and quizzes–all 100% suitable for children
  4. CyberSleuth Kids
  5. Dictionary
  6. Digital Vaults–research a topic, curate resources
  7. Encyclopedia Interactica–visual encyclopedias
  8. Fact Monster
  9. Fun Brain
  10. How Stuff Works
  11. I Know That!
  12. Info Please
  13. Insta-Grok
  14. Internet Library
  15. Internet Public Library (IPL)
  16. Kid Rex
  17. KidsConnect–Kids research
  18. Let me Google that for you–all those questions people ask, they could have answered themselves? Here’s a site. They even have stickers
  19. Library Spot
  20. National Geographic for Kids
  21. Nova video programs
  22. SchoolsWorld.TV--educational videos
  23. Smithsonian Quest–sign up your class; student research/explore with the Smithsonian
  24. SqoolTube Videos
  25. TagGalaxy–search using a cloud
  26. Thesaurus.net
  27. Websites by kids and teens
  28. World Almanac for Kids
  29. World Book
  30. Zanran–statistics and data research

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Categories: 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Research, Reviews, Teacher resources, Websites | Tags: | Leave a comment

#53: Colonization Trifold Brochure in Publisher

Create a trifold brochure in Publisher to go along with colonization or another unit of inquiry in the classroom. This project focuses on research and is more involved than #51 History Trifold. Students add lots of detail and lots of research on different colonization topics. Besides Publisher, students learn to research on the internet and copy-paste pictures from the internet

Lesson Plan

Use each panel in the trifold (there are six) to cover a different topic you’re discussing in class.

Click on each page of lesson plan.

You can also use a template in Google Docs, Google Presentations, or MS Word if you don’t have Publisher:

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Categories: Freebies/Discounts, History, Publisher/ DTP, Research, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

#52: Indigenous Cultures Magazine in Publisher

Create a magazine on any topic you’re covering in class using text, pictures, diagrams, charts. Add a cover and a table of contents.

Click on each page of lesson plan.

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Categories: Freebies/Discounts, History, Lesson plans, Publisher/ DTP, Research | Tags: | Leave a comment

Playful Learning–What a Great Idea

playPlayful Learning (Parents’ Choice Gold Medal website) is a well-done, professional-looking website that  offers advice, projects, and visual images touting the benefits of education through play. The reader is drawn into the child-centered imagery and strong basic colors, wanting everything on offer so their child’s play areas can look and work as described.

Let’s back up a moment. Play as the vehicle of education is not a revolutionary idea. Pedagogy has long recommended ‘play’ as a superior teacher for youngers–

Play is the great synthesizing, integrating, and developing force in childhood and adolescence. –PsycINFO Database Record 2012 APA,

The play of children is not recreation; it means earnest work. Play is the purest intellectual production of the human being, in this stage … for the whole man is visible in them, in his finest capacities, in his innermost being.~ Friedrich Froebel

In general, research shows strong links between creative play and language, physical, cognitive, and social development. Play is a healthy, essential part of childhood. —Department of Education, Newfoundland Labrador

Young children learn the most important things not by being told but by constructing knowledge for themselves in interaction with the physical world and with other children – and the way they do this is by playing.” –Jones, E., & Reynolds, G.  “The play’s the thing: Teachers’ roles in children’s play”

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Categories: Education reform, Homeschool, Parents, Research, Reviews, Websites, Writing | Tags: , , | 2 Comments