Students had time to experiment with the Google Search Tips I outlined in the Day 3 blog entry, and I directed them to two library online resources (Ebscohost, and Student Research Center).
While the goal is to have kids explore and dig for information, they are hitting roadblocks. Some of the obstacles I have heard today:
- What if I can't tell if my plant is endangered or not?
- I can't find any companion plants for the Black Prince Heirloom tomato!
- Nothing comes up for possible problems with the Kentucky Heirloom tomato.
Because most searches about heirloom or endangered plants take kids to seed companies, kids are experiencing an exercise in learning when to be specific with a search and when to be general. This adjustment in search strategies will still take some time.
The experience is stretching my students because the information they need is not necessarily readily available or on the surface. Resource books are even difficult to find!
Tomorrow, I will be sharing a Google Doc that lists some online resources that they have not explored yet: videos, podcasts, infographics, and additional blogs. In my experience, kids do not often think of a YouTube video or a podcast as a source of information. Perhaps they think of those mediums as purely for entertainment. Maybe it is because education is constantly putting up STOP signs when it comes to the validity of online resources...i.e. Wikipedia.
Learning to become a discerning young adult is valuable practice. At times, kids need the experience of learning to search online and they need the autonomy of making decisions and problem solving.
Odds are, some of my kids will be satisfied with the first pieces of information they find. Some will become frustrated with the struggle of finding the information that they want. Others will continue to search (even with enough information already gathered) until guided to stop and evaluate what they collected.
At the end of class tomorrow I will collect their worksheets, evaluate them, and make myself some notes so that I can conference with each student next week. We will confer about what they are curious about and want to explore further for a project.