Researching in a Digital World: How Do I Teach My Students to Conduct Quality Online Research?

Researching in a Digital World: How Do I Teach My Students to Conduct Quality Online Research?

Researching in a Digital World: How Do I Teach My Students to Conduct Quality Online Research?

Researching in a Digital World: How Do I Teach My Students to Conduct Quality Online Research?

Synopsis

As digital natives, our students are certainly at home online, but how much do they know about using the Internet as a research tool? Do they know how to ask the right questions, find the best and most credible resources, evaluate the facts they come

Excerpt

Do you send your students to the Internet to do research? I ask teachers this question when I lead workshops, and overwhelmingly, their answer is yes—even in the primary grades. Then I ask if they teach any specific lessons to prepare students for researching in an online environment. Equally overwhelmingly, their answer is no. Because our students are digital natives, right? Even the youngest of them seems able to intuit how to manipulate all kinds of digital devices, how to create and upload content, and how to find entertaining things online. This leads us to assume they are Internet competent and completely web savvy. But do they really understand how to find the best of places for research and how to analyze all the sites their device dexterity helps them find? the answer is no.

Here is something else I’ve learned from my workshops: Teachers absolutely believe that teaching Internet literacy is necessary. Yet it isn’t happening—and not because of the time constraints, although that is certainly a factor. the main issue is that many of us don’t have a great deal of Internet literacy ourselves. the intricacies and operation of Wikipedia, domain name suffixes, search engines, browsers, how to find who is publishing particular site content, how Google decides what to list first on a search page, how to use punctuation to get better search results—for many of us, these remain mysteries.

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