Students will focus on research when they are assigned a research essay or presentation. Their work is focused. They have a topic to search. In some ways the students will do a good job filtering through information, finding new sources, and strengthen their skills in a traditional lesson. But then you ask them to do a quick search for something in a different setting…
Throughout the year I try to integrate small search activities that connect to the goals of the lesson. This enables the students to practice their research skills, while allowing me to develop creative and fun assignments.
I like using images for different creative assignments. From typography projects to finding photos for a setting in a story, there are so many ways to ask students to search or use images for your lessons. I wrote a series on photographs in the classroom that covers some specific ideas. But one of the best aspects of researching images is reinforcing copyright issues. Having students search with certain filters, making sure to credit the owner of the image and even producing images to share reinforces the importance of copyright. This can be done in any class.
Book and movie reviews are underappreciated in the classroom. For almost all literature I have students search reviews of the book or author. This is done for different reasons, but I always try to ask them to reference the review or reviewer, to use credible sites, and to write their response to the review. It’s always fun to talk with the students as they read reviews, especially if the reviewer has the opposite opinion of the student.
#research #school #keywords. Social media is a tricky world regarding research. But I think it is an important area for students to investigate and analyze. Many students have a presence on social media, but they usually don’t see it as an area to find information. A hashtagged word or phrase can produce useful information, especially when students are involved in a lesson that deals with current events. If I use a social media search for a lesson, I ask the students to reflect on the quality of the results. At times, students don’t find anything useful, that’s OK because they went through the process of analyzing the results.
Like having a Google Jockey during a lecture, I have posed questions for students to answer during a traditional lecture. I place the question on a slide, with a timer, and then let them search during the time. I have had them record their answers on paper, on a shared Google doc, or just discuss what they found during class. I don’t use this often. It takes time to create powerful questions while also dealing with what to do with the answers. But when I do, the class discussion becomes dynamic, especially if students find different answers.
I hope this series generated some new ideas for you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. Would love to hear how you are teaching research skills.