Research and Information Fluency -EDTC6431

Research and Information Fluency

Module 3 Reflection

EDTC-6431

I have really had a great week this week. I have found a better balance of time this session.  I learned about our new tools and explored these tools all while having great ongoing discussions which have been exciting.  Although, there seemed to be a rather large amount to get through this week, it all seemed to be seamlessly connected.  The online tools, twitter.com, diigo.com and citeUlike.org all offer another way to connect, share information and research to promote a new teaching opportunity. However, I am still unsure of the viability of some in the classroom.  Our readings provided the basic knowledge of these tools, insight into research for students and teachers and an in depth retrospective of technology over the last 20 years.

In the reading, Beyond the Book, the author explains how the superintendent, James Tenbusch, is teaching students to think critically, to become researchers and to focus on the bigger picture. “Students, more than just typing keywords into Google, learn how to come to an answer independently, using their own ideas about the lesson, subject, or debate at hand. According to Tenbusch, schools teach kids how to read, write, and add, but they generally don’t teach them how to speculate, hypothesize, and free associate.”  Tenbusch goes on to provided examples of how to get started and references to research sites and strategies finding multiple sources.  This article coincided nicely with our exploration of diigo, a tool used for social bookmarking, annotation, archiving and organizing.

I found diigo to be extremely user friendly.  diigo provides options for collecting, highlighting, storing and sharing information- all at the click of a button.  I even signed up for our class group page and have shared a few items of interest with the class.  I can see great value in this tool as I move forward and begin the collection process that will become part of my curriculum.  To be able to share this with other teachers and to be a part of groups of like-minded and engaged individuals while keeping a personal record of sites I have found useful ,as well as any notes about these sites, is incredible.  I feel like diigo offers what facebook, twitter, email, blogging, annotating and organizing site all offer separately but conveniently in one spot.   I am sold on this tool!

I also explored twitter and although I have signed up and become part of this classes twitter group I am not altogether sure I am convinced of the value in an elementary age setting.  I recognize that it could be a useful tool for sharing information among teachers but I have a hard time picturing the practicality in the class room itself.  However, I did like the ideas throughout our discussions this week of using for daily thoughts or updates for parents so that they could know what was happening in the class. When I signed up and began the exploration of twitter I found the constant spew of trivial tweets overwhelming and ridiculous but once I set up a group to follow it narrowed the number of tweets and focused my interests.  I think I have to give twitter more time, like I said in one of my tweets, the jury is still out.

I really enjoyed the video from Edutopia, Using Today’s Technology Tools to Study Yesterday’s, and valued the span of technological tools and hands on tools this school incorporated into this project.  It was amazing to see the teachers work as a collaborative team to expand the students’ knowledge.  Through the guidance of the teachers each group of students was able to present their own unique and working design.  The students seemed empowered by this project and genuinely involved in every group doing well as they competed for the best design.  I attached this additional video to show another example of project based learning from an elementary school in Waterville Washington.  The teacher, Diane Peterson says, “kids use their own personal level” when addressing the abilities of students with regards to art, science, technology and math.   They work together with local farmers and staff from the University of Washington to form relationships and integrate each individual’s knowledge through group work and shared technology.

Overall I found this week full of useful tools to explore more.  I am sure that I will continue to use diigo and will have to wait and see what the verdict is on twitter.  I think that information fluency is key, and, with diigo I found that fluency to be user friendly, easy to organize, re-visit, and annotate.  I think that the more tools and techniques we have for research and sharing tools with other teachers and students the better off we will all be.

References:

Moses, Alexandra R. (August 2008) Beyond the Book- a New Role for Your Students. Edutopia Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/student-web-research-technology-literacy

Edutopia. (Release Date 6/25/08)  Using Today’s Technology Tools to Study Yeasterday’s Edutopia, Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/ferryway-video

Edutopia, (Release Date 3/8/2005) Overview: Technology Empowers Student Fieldwork, Edutopia, Retrieved from  http://www.edutopia.org/toad-tracking