Supporting Student Research. Appendix H

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1 Appendix H Inquiry and research are key strategies of this course. Although the choosing of an inquiry is an essential first step, the hard work of teaching and practicing literacy skills during the inquiry is a key piece of Social Studies instruction. The literacy skills involved in locating, critical analyzing, managing, and personalizing knowledge, and creatively displaying a synthesis of one s learning are all skills that must be intentionly taught--in context. This course provides many contexts for student inquiry. Appendix H demonstrates the following sample of digital tools and resources that can support lifelong learning and literacy skills: Boolean search logic used with various search engines E-library Electronic Internet Inquiry Search and Evaluation Log Mind Maps and Wordle Hyperlinking student writing Bibliography makers

2 Supporting Student Research NARROWING YOUR SEARCH ON THE INTERNET - USING BOOLEAN LOGIC Boolean Logic. A wealth of information exists on the web about mosts topics. When a search is conducted using a popular search engine, every article that contains even one of the words in your search field will be a hit. The search engine cannot read your mind; most engines respond to some basic code that helps your search to be understood by the various databases. Boolean logic is the use of AND, OR, and NOT (called logical operators) in combination with your search terms or words. They could be illustrated this way when searching for cat (the term by itself, yields hits) and dog (the term by itself yields hits). Note how the illustration below shows how the number of hits changes depending on how you want cats and dogs related in your research. By using logic operators the hits significantly expand or narrow. AND NOT OR (narrows search by requiring more terms to be present) (narrows search to exclude terms that frequently appear together (broaden search to include more similar terms: either, or, or both) cat AND dog (yields hits) Note: --using parentheses ( ) allows only one of the terms to include similar terms: eg. (cat OR feline) AND dog --using quotation marks means I want exact words, in order, searched Each search engine is slightly different than the others. Some may require the logical operators to be in capitals. Most provide advanced searches to define the search logic for the user. Example: Using the Search Engine Bing cat NOT dog (yields hits) cat OR dog (yields hits) Using the search engine bing.com, we try our luck with the long phrase land is important to Aboriginal canadians (capitals are not necessary)--without using logical operators. Over one million results (at the time this search was conducted) are displayed that have some/any of those search words. In other words, some of the hits may have only one of the terms (words) in the text of the website! It would take a long time to separate the relevant from the irrelevant... Next Step: narrow the search using logical operators H2

3 Logical operators (the use of quotation marks plus using AND in the example to the left) will help us reduce the number of hits. First, using quotation marks groups Aboriginal Canadians together as a single term. Then with requiring land AND Aboriginal Canadians to appear together in a website, will get results narrowed closer to our research goals results is a significant narrowing of returns! Finally, we will try our luck with a phrase in quotations that expresses our exact desired search, land is important to aboriginal Canadians. We are telling the search engine those exact words must be present in that exact order! The results are shown to the left no results were returned! However, bing tries to display results as close as it can to the exact phrase but in its own interpretion of your intentions. Even though you want hits that talk philosophically about relationship to land, bing s results to the left could be helpful. Because in returning hits that display lands that are important to aboriginal Canadians, the reasons for the importance of the lands may be touched on and thus you may have an example for your point. Bing gives you 17 possibilities to explore much better than ! CONCLUSION: Boolean logic is essential to broadening and narrowing search results. Finding search devices that match one s learning preference is equally essential (eg. meta-search engines, search engines, directories). Bing.com displays a record of all my recent search terms; ask.com lets me pose a question and offers me other questions that may be a part of my search; Quintura.com automatically creates a cloud of main ideas about my topic. These are all alternatives to the popular Google. H3

4 Supporting Student Research SEARCHING WITH E-LIBRARY E-Library is a virtual library made available to all students and teachers in the NWT (username: nwthomework and password: learn). Again, in a search for the Grade 5 inquiry, Why do Aboriginal people think the land is so important? one would be very lucky to find an article with the exact phrase land is important to Aboriginal Canadians. This search term is too specific (see above) the search must be broadened by using e-library s advance search option and create your query (see left). This gives you a palette of logical operator choices (right) You try: "first nations" AND importance AND land WITHIN 15 This means you want your search to include all the exact words within quote marks (first nations, importance, land) and you want them to appear within about 15 words of each other so that they will likely compose one idea answering your inquiry question. If you didn t insist on being within 15 (or some similarly small number), the words could again be randomly dispersed throughout the document. This approach to searching yields better results. In fact the results give a newspaper story about a museum being built on sacred ground (an excerpt is shown below). This story would provide a striking example of the importance of land to Aboriginal Canadians and non-native intentions to be respectful and cooperate. Once again, having control of the logical operators has refined this search to a useable story that could be further researched in a search engine. H4

5 ELECTRONIC INTERNET INQUIRY SEARCH and EVALUATION LOG Show your choices by cutting and pasting the black-centered circle ( ). Word process your search experience. (NOTE: Ownership/Registrant Check is intended for Grade 6 to adult to evaluate credibility of sources) Search Tool Used (broadening; narrowing, checking out the source ) Meta Search Engine: ixquick, metacrawler use Search Engine: ask, google, bing, quintura Directory: kids.net.au directory.google Public Knowledge/Bookmarks: wikipedia delicious Ownership/Registrant Check: who.is, search the names Next Steps and Comments My 1st Search Phrase: Search Tool Used (broadening; narrowing, checking out the source ) Meta Search Engine: ixquick, metacrawler use Search Engine: ask, google, bing, quintura Directory: kids.net.au directory.google Public Knowledge/Bookmarks: wikipedia delicious Ownership/Registrant Check: who.is, search the names Next Steps and Comments My 2nd Search Phrase: Search Tool Used (broadening; narrowing, checking out the source ) Meta Search Engine: ixquick, metacrawler use Search Engine: ask, google, bing, quintura Directory: kids.net.au directory.google Public Knowledge/Bookmarks: wikipedia delicious Ownership/Registrant Check: who.is, search the names Next Steps and Comments My 3rd Search Phrase: Search Tool Used (broadening; narrowing, checking out the source ) Meta Search Engine: ixquick, metacrawler use Search Engine: ask, google, bing, quintura Directory: kids.net.au directory.google Public Knowledge/Bookmarks: wikipedia delicious Ownership/Registrant Check: who.is, search the names Next Steps and Comments My 4th Search Phrase: Adapted from Warlick, David (2009), Redefining Literacy 2.0, Santa Barbara, California: Linworth Publishing H5

6 Supporting Student Research UNDERSTANDING TOOLS: LINKING MIND MAPS AND WORDLE Two Conditions: Taking notes, developing a voice, personalizing information, conveying a context and synthesis of learning are all outcomes that teachers desire of student inquirers. Understanding is the end goal of learning. How can teachers help students to take notes of information that meet the their personal learning goals instead of copying, cutting, pasting other s ideas without a plan? Often students copy information that they are hoping is significant or will sound good! Obviously, personal engagement is the first hurdle to helping students want to understand topics; helping them understand the information they find or toss away is the next essential step. Digital Presentations. When personalized learning takes place, the communication of that understanding can be enhanced through skillful use of ICTs. Another challenge presents itself how to communicate what one claims to know. How can the digital presentation be designed to reflect learning? Many students and adults take a measure of comfort in being able to see all the data that they want the audience to see in their digital presentation slides. Just in case they forget a key point, it will be on the screen to back them up in a memory lapse. The careful scrutiny and undivided attention that the audience would give a lone speaker (without a digital presentation) is softened by the partial darkness of the room and the divided attention of the listener/viewer to the digital presentation. This can be a problem if the audience is unsure of where to direct their attention: the slides or the spoken voice? The screen or the speaker? The audience may not get the compelling message that was intended if there is competition between the medium and the creator. Can we build the inquiry rubric to place a greater weight on say more where the student projects only a few words or a phrase on each slide? The goal is to get students used to working from a mind map--reconstituting their learning with the mind map as a prompt and earning big say-more-than-what-is-on the-slide points! Two technologies can be employed to correlate both the act of taking notes and creating digital presentations in making understanding, and compelling communication easier: mind mapping software (such as the free xmind) and the word cloud (a weighted list in a visual design) creating software Wordle--or both in combination. Mindmapping Use mindmapping software to capture the big idea of what you want to say. Your curricular topic may be the Grade 5 story of the Northwest Resistance. Using a KWL approach, you determine you want to know the 5W s and H of the topic (who, where, how...). Your mind map will branch out with those topics. As the student gathers information and makes sense of it, single words, or simple phrases are placed in the mind map as leaves on the topic branch. Later, the student will be asked to reconstitute her learning and will use the mind map to write paragraphs paragraphs of that reflect understanding of those initial ideas. This work is recursive because the H6

7 research process itself, yields new branches of the topic that pique curiousity or memory. Also the web may reveal places where details are thin on a particular branch and she may have to return to the source for more information. The object is personal understanding. Wordle Although Wordle identifies itself as a toy for generating word clouds from text that you provide, it can be a useful tool to help students understand main ideas, when those ideas are based on repetition. While teachers discourage unintentional repetition during the writing editing process, they also teach students about the emergence of themes as expressed in repeated ideas or words (eg. in literature). This Wordle word cloud (to the right) can help students understand main ideas. Pasting an encyclopedia article on the Northwest Rebellion into Wordle (with a setting for 15 words ) will yield the 15 word word cloud shown here. The larger the font size, the more often the word appeared in the article (NOTE: In this short article, Riel was repeated 10 times, land six times, fear three times, etc.). The word cloud can help students focus on main ideas as they begin their research. Communicating Understanding in a Digital Slide Show The communication of understanding should not be much different in the student s mind than the production process that was followed while researching. The student could use either the mind map or/and the word cloud as their main slide of their presentation. In other words, the word cloud could be a great illustration of their main points and the mind map could explain the inquiry process the student used. This meta-cognitive way of talking to the audience fulfills ELA and other outcomes because the student is expressing preferences and processes about how information is created and used. To challenge students to say-more, give extra points if they use the mind map as their only slide! xmind and Wordle are promoting the following possibilities for the research process: Understanding text better with Wordle during the research process Taking notes in words and short phrases (from several sources) with a mind map such as made with xmind Digitally presenting one s synthesis with a word cloud made with pasting the written essay into Wordle Digitally presenting one s synthesis with the same mind map used while researching These technologies address the two problems outlined above: Plagiarism is discouraged if a mind map is used to keep things brief Saying more during the presentation is the key focus since a skeletal mind map or word cloud is shown, rather than whole paragraphs The audience enjoys the synthesis better by listening to the student orally explain main ideas the kind of ideas that can be compelling because the student is engaged with and understands what the topic and process of research is all about H7

8 Supporting Student Research STUDENTS AND HYPERTEXTING (reading right, down and deep) One way to add value and depth to student-written work is hyperlinking additional web-based information as shown below. What Joe was expecting: gold, rubies, diamonds, What Joe was expecting: gold, rubies, diamonds, Reading right and down (as usual) emerald... emerald... Reading right, down, and deep gold rubies Notice how this student s information product (the following story, Treasure Hunt written in a grade 4 ELA class) can be supported with hypertext by linking various words to useful web-based documents that would expand the reader s understanding of the student s story. Random hyperlinking will not be helpful to the writer or the reader. The full benefit of hyperlinking occurs when the writer intentionally hyperlinks a word for a planned effect, and explains why during the presentation of the work. The hyperlink then becomes a source of illustrations, quotes, charts and further reading for the audience s benefit. The process of preparing the links expand the writer s knowledge as well. Hyperlinking reflects the current pattern of reading right, left, and deeper (Warlick, D. F. (2008). Redefining Literacy Encore (2 ed.). 2008: Linworth Pub Co.). Treasure Hunt by Willem Mount, April 21, 2009 At Southeast Central School it was pretty normal in 4B classroom until recess when Joe Bob found a treasure map. The word spread pretty quickly because all the students came with shovels the next day. Even Joe Bob's friends. At 10:05 when the bell for recess rang, Joe Bob was shocked at how many holes kids were digging. The map said to go back in the school. It was next to his locker. What Joe Bob was expecting: gold, rubies, diamonds, emeralds and jewels. What Joe Bob found: ten dollars, socks, pencil and shoes. Joe Bob went outside and put the treasure in somebody s hole when he wasn't looking (except the pencil because it looked cool). HOW-TO HYPERLINK: (eg. gold ) -Story used with permission from Mildred Hall School and author Willem Mount 1. Open internet browser and use search engine to find gold (google: images ; or Wikipedia: gold ; or trusted online encyclopedia: factmonster, yahooligans, elibrary 2. Find the article or picture you want; copy (control-c; or command-c) the URL 3. Go straight to your story; highlight the word gold 4. In WORD, insert menu; hyperlink ; paste the URL (control-v; or command-v) into the address line and press OK 5. Try out your hyperlink by pressing the control button and clicking your hypertext with the mouse PHOTO CREDITS: gold photo made available for sharing by user PHGCOM in Wikipedia article gold ; ruby photo made available for sharing by user Louise Oriole in Wikipedia article ruby. H8

9 BIBLIOGRAPHY MAKERS The student is done researching the essential question involving Louis Riel, for example, and now it is time to make a bibliography. In this example, the graphic novel by Chester Brown entitled, Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography was used by the student throughout his/her inquiry. The student uses the tool bibme.org to create a bibliography. The title of the book is typed into the Book field. The book results are shown below. The student highlights the Select button to send it into an edit mode as shown below. The student confirms all the details before selecting the Add to My Bibliography button. A citation is shown in a default format. The student chooses the format required for the assignment and it automatically changes the book details to that format. In this example the APA format was selected. The student is given the option of immediately downloading as a Microsoft Word file or saving it into his/her account where all their citations will be stored. Or in this example below, the student may just drag the mouse over the citation, copy and paste into their document. Notice the automatic indenting in the second line. Brown, C. (2007). Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography. Montréal: Drawn And Quarterly (2nd Printing, March, 2007). H9

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