Here’s a nice infographic on how to evaluate websites for authenticity, reliableness, and usefulness. Feel free to grab it and share:
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.
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.
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:
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:
Dear 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:
- Citation Machine
- CoolKidFacts–kid-friendly videos, pictures, info, and quizzes–all 100% suitable for children
- CyberSleuth Kids
- Digital Vaults–research a topic, curate resources
- Encyclopedia Interactica–visual encyclopedias
- Fact Monster
- Fun Brain
- How Stuff Works
- I Know That!
- Info Please
- Internet Library
- Internet Public Library (IPL)
- Kid Rex
- KidsConnect–Kids research
- Let me Google that for you–all those questions people ask, they could have answered themselves? Here’s a site. They even have stickers
- Library Spot
- National Geographic for Kids
- Nova video programs
- SchoolsWorld.TV--educational videos
- Smithsonian Quest–sign up your class; student research/explore with the Smithsonian
- SqoolTube Videos
- TagGalaxy–search using a cloud
- Websites by kids and teens
- World Almanac for Kids
- World Book
- Zanran–statistics and data research
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
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:
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.
Playful 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 LabradorYoung 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”