Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.
Here’s a great question I got from Ms. F:
Question: I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Instructional Technology. I struggle with the district standard for Inquiry & Research. I can’t seem to find just the right type of assignment/topic because searching this, that, or the other thing is just random, out of context, an exercise in learning key word searching, finding reliable sites,synthesizing info. If I make it too simple they can find all the answers on one site and then just plug in the facts. I had 6th do a What-Happened-In-Your-Birth-Year project where they identified different categories and then searched for an event in that category: Movies (and then find the Oscar winner for that year), Sports, Science, etc. Right now the 7th grade assignment is comparing e-Readers (price, memory, size, features) using a spreadsheet, then drawing conclusions.
Any great ideas that would interest middle school students are welcome!!
Here are some ideas:
- keyword searching:
- Evaluating websites
- digital privacy:
- Digital laws
- watch this on Fair Use
- watch his on Creative Commons licensing–sharing information
- Digital Passport has a unit called Mix n Match where student put together pieces they find online, providing appropriate citations. You can follow their idea or do a similar one using an Animoto Ed Account
Hope this helps. Be sure to check out our Digital Citizenship ebook. It has a lot more hints.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.
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