Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reflection on my Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom course.

Final Reflection:

Throughout our course work in “Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom” we learned about the benefits and methods of implementing inquiry based projects.  Inquiry projects require students to get involved with the content and interact with the material so that they learn via practical interaction rather than passive memorization.  As a math teacher, I have fallen victim to traditional class lessons especially as time constraints and expectations for performance on standardized tests are increased.  I have tried to incorporate projects and activities with an inquiry style, but I often wait until after our early spring standardized tests when our pace is less frenzied.  My fear has been that without traditional instruction, students will miss important concepts.  What this course work has shown me is that although the process is different, the level of understanding and comprehension is as good, if not better, than traditional, lecture style education.  Engaging with the material, students are able to form a working understand of the material via interaction, thus facilitating a relationship with the material and leading to a sense of investment and ownership with the content (Eagleton & Dobler, 2007).  The philosophies of constructivism and socioculteralism support the notion that students learn more when they make something and interact with others in order to learn and inquiry project provide opportunities for students to engage in these activities (Eagleton & Dobler, 2007).  By further incorporating technology in the inquiry project, student interest is increased and the project integrates modern relevance to the project.

A significant component of successful inquiry work is the incorporation of the new literacy skills that speak of the adept use of technology.  This includes the searching, navigation, assessment and synthesis of technological resources.  These new literacy skills ensure that students do not just merely fumble around online hoping to find what they need.  They use search techniques and specialized search engines to ensure that the search yields worthwhile results (Eagleton & Dobler, 2007 and November, 2008).  Students use techniques such as REAL, Read the URL, Examine the content, Ask about the author/editor and Look at the links (November, 2008) or ABC from Beth Phillips where students assess the Author, Bias, Content, Dates, Editor/owner (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009b) to determine the viability of the information.  Dr. Douglas Hartman reviewed that new literacies encompass Questioning, Searching, Evaluating, Synthesizing and Communicating (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009a).  I am impressed by the direction that teachers can provide students as they work within these new literacies while still encouraging independence.  Via the use of modeling, strategic approaches and guided practice, students are able to develop their skills to become better consumers of online information.

As I move forward, the content from this class will change how I ask students to collect information.  Previously, any internet searching that my students completed was much more hit or miss.  I would encourage them to go to their favorite search engine, type their topic into the search box and then just explore the results.  After our coursework, I have come to realize this process could be streamlined and focused.  Additionally, I believe that the techniques for determining the reliability of a website are so important to incorporate into classroom instruction.  Too often, we provide our students with pre-cleansed information where they do not need to cast a critical eye at the information they see.  The vastness and independent publishing aspect of the internet require that students be critical consumers rather than collectors of information.  I believe that these skills will certainly serve my students well in my classroom and well beyond.

For my own personal development, I would like to continue to explore the communication aspect of inquiry learning.  This would manifest in two ways, opportunities for my students to share their knowledge and manners of instructing my students in a dynamic style.  Though I have learned about myriad presentation options including VoiceThreads, slideshows, wikis, blogs, etc., I want to learn the best ways to bring these technologies into my classroom and how to instruct my students in the use of these programs.  As I tend to be “self-taught” in most technology mediums, I often miss features that I do not use and my knowledge is limited by my vision/creativity.  I would like to learn programs more thoroughly so that I can open up all functions and options to my students.  Additionally, I hope to broaden my knowledge of technology so that I can instruct my students with technology incorporation.  I am lucky to have just received an active whiteboard in my classroom and I want to use it to full advantage.  Online tutorials and extensive explorations of technology will build upon my base knowledge.  Participation in technology workshops at my school will allow me to understand the programs that are available to all students.  I continue to request enrollment in training within district and I actively seek out technology courses and continuing education outside of school.  Additionally, I am active in online communities and blogs that discuss technology, often with an educational focus like dy/dan, lifehacker, Blue Skunk Blog, 2 cents blog and Let’s Play Math.  I believe that my best resource for furthering my education on this topic is my enthusiasm and excitement for technology!


Eagleton, M. B., & Dobler, E. (2007). Reading the Web: Strategies for Internet inquiry. New York: The Guilford Press

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009a). Program 2. New Literacies. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009b). Program 6. A Teacher's Perspective: Evaluating Information Online. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

November, A., (2008) Web Literacy for Educators. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Logged In

logged in from josh schaub on Vimeo.

I don't understand the language, but the video is quite interesting nonetheless!