Rethinking research in the Google era


Corey believes students are motivated and challenged to read and make deeper connections when they are provided with engaging topics, guided to ask relevant questions, informed of expectations and learning targets, given access to authoritative resources, provided timely and relevant feedback, allowed time for reflection and opportunities to collaborate with others, and presented with an authentic audience for their work.

“I don’t think skimming and in-depth reading have to be mutually exclusive–especially in the context of education,” said Susan Patrick, president and chief executive officer of the North American Council for Online Learning. “If [students are] asked the right questions, [are] engaged and driven to work rigorously, they will process a broader depth of information online, because they have access to a broader perspective of viewpoints, primary resources, recorded interviews with authors, and many more learning materials than the limited amount of reading materials in most school libraries.”

Said Karen Greenwood Henke, managing director for Nimble Press: “What [students] need to make rich mental connections is quiet, unscheduled time to think and write about what [they] have learned.”

Educators also believe it’s their job to make sure students are doing the work correctly by monitoring their comprehension of the subject.

“Library media specialists and teachers must interact with students to monitor their information,” said Ann Martin, AASL president. “[If teachers assess] the information for gaps and weaknesses, students will begin to change the processes by which they seek information.”

The antidote, according to Bosco, is also proper monitoring of students’ habits.

“Any educator worth [his or her] salt knows how to read a paper submitted by a student,” he said. “There’s either the type A paper that is nothing but skimmed information, or there’s the type B paper that reveals in-depth learning.”

Bosco added that educators also need to know how not to skim when reading–otherwise they won’t be able to discern good papers from bad ones. “They need to focus on quality, not on quantity, of assignments, and they need to take their time during assessments,” he concluded.

Links:

“Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

Study: “Information Behavior of the Researchers of the Future”

American Association of School Librarians

Note to readers:

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Meris Stansbury

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