Dec 4, 2012

Online Research Skills - Teachers are Worried



If you think you are alone, you're not.  According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, many teachers are thinking alike...our students do not have the appropriate skills to filter the multitude of results returned by present web search-engines and, more importantly, have a very difficult time discerning which sources of information are truly credible.

I tend to agree with this study, especially having witnessed student's research abilities (or lack thereof) as a Social Studies teacher.  The curriculum was research-oriented, literally threaded throughout all units.  Early in the year, my observations were right in alignment with the rest of the surveyed teachers.  I will remark, however, that as the year progressed and I continually addressed these issues through direct instruction and continued class activities, the students became more adept at Internet research.  Students ultimately had no choice but to adapt and learn.

As we require students to utilize the Internet for data gathering/research and technology in general, maybe the best approach is guided-immersion.  In other words, we flood our classrooms with the technology and require students to use the resources so much that they have to adapt to the look and feel of the new tech-infused classroom.  All the while, the teachers continually guide the students through the process of learning (including judging the credibility of web resources and viability of tech tools to achieve an end to a means).

Let me know your thoughts...