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G21-Research

Research 2.0 is a term we've chosen to refer to techniques we can use to find and make sense of information we find online. This document illustrates this concept and provides support materials. Research 2.0 is part of G21 and is written/created by John Hendron.

Rationale

We need to promote the practice of good research skills in school to help develop true twenty-first century skills. Key to a curriculum in twenty-first century skills is an ability to problem solve. Key to solving problems is one's ability to gather, understand, and utilize the body of knowledge available today on the Web.

Definition

Research 2.0 is Goochland County Public Schools' effort to define a methodology for online research skills to be used across all schools. This does not compete with earlier efforts focused around the Big6 system or the system described in A Rookie's Guide to Research. Instead, Research 2.0 enhances these systems for developing information literacy skills.

Infoseeking fluency is defined by several steps:

  • Choosing keywords or search criteria,
  • Choosing a search tool and performing the search,
  • Collecting information that at first glance, looks good,
  • Cite the location of the found information,
  • Summarize what was copy & pasted earlier,
  • Apply keyword tags to what was found.

We believe facets of G21's Research 2.0 model can be developed starting in elementary grades, and carried through advanced projects at the high school level.

Components

One of the key concepts in R2.0 is that of information-seeking fluency. The goal? Build a student's ability to search and organize information more efficiently. Central to "infoseeking" is the use of personal metadata, or folksonomy. We teach the students to apply keyword tags to what they are finding online and elsewhere.

The application of tags helps students quickly summarize the information they find. This in turn affects their ability to develop good search criteria, thus building their efficiency towards finding information.

Our search system is built upon three major steps, each with a hierarchy of sub-steps. These are search, collect, and evaluate. Together, not only are students collecting information and making sense of what they are finding, but they are going through a process that puts them in contact with content through several stages of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. Let's start by looking at the bucket.

The "bucket" is central to search, collect, and evaluate. The bucket can be a word processing document, a wiki, a blog—it really doesn't matter. All that matters is that students can see or design at least four discreet sections within their bucket document. One is for the actual content (pictures, video, and text), one is for a summary (text), one is for the citation (URL), and one is for the keyword tags. Additional sections or tags can be added for evaluation stages of the process.

We have produced (to date) two short videos detailing the search, collect, and evaluation portion of the process. We are currently developing an online course for students that broadens the experience provided by the video with a discussion on sources, evaluation, and more.

The Three Steps

  • Search
  • Collect
  • Evaluate

While we add more discreet steps, you'll see it follows the model above.

Search

What are keywords? How do we start a search? What mechanically do we do once a search engine begins spitting-back results? We encourage students to open each potential match in an individual tab. Then students go through a quick weeding process by closing tabs that are bad matches.

Collect

At this stage, we are asking students to collect what simply looks good. Since so many users of the Web scan pages, we're asking students at this stage to collect what looks good and read it for detail, later. So many students already blindly copy and paste content they find online. We're making it a discreet step in a multi-step process.

Once content is collected, we next ask students to copy the source URL for a citation. The collection of URLs and the application of tags is the process used by popular social bookmarking sites such as delicious.com.

Evaluate

This is a multi-stage process that begins with highlighting on the computer the important parts of what students collected in their bucket document. Once highlighting is complete, students develop a summary. Once the summary is written, students choose keyword tags. Each stage builds upon the earlier one, moving up Bloom's taxonomy, and reducing the amount of information at each stage. Choosing a few keywords forces students to consider what is most elemental about what they captured.

Evaluation of course goes beyond the bucket. Students will once again consider the big picture—the problem they are trying to solve in the context of a project—and then students try and discover which sources serve their needs best. Which ones verify the other? Which ones might contain important quotes?

Conclusion

R2.0 is a method of not only finding information online, but forcing students to interact with it and filter it. This process is, by using the bucket document, pretty transparent. Each stage of the process can be assessed before students move on. Once students are ready, just about any instructional methods can be used to put the newfound information to use.

This method can be expanded to include more traditional resources found in a school's media center. The method's design, above all, was created to help develop a student's fluency with search, collection, and evaluation to carry through not only in school projects, but in casual, every day searches students may engage in using their home computer, cell phone, or future next-generation devices.

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Page last modified on November 04, 2008, at 10:18 AM