Wednesday, November 6, 2013

To Google or not to Google?

Our inquiry project (see previous post for details) is has been going on for several days. The students have been looking at images, political cartoons, and paintings of the Reconstruction Era.
Some are making connections and asking good questions about Reconstruction.

So, now we are at the point where students need to research their questions. Do we send them to the databases or to google?

I know that the databases offer articles that are more middle school oriented, with built in lexile levels, images and engaging videos. My favorite database is Student Resources in Context by Gale at the moment. But, students don't like using the databases! They want to Google everything.

In the past, the librarian would set up "Path finders" for students, and bookmark reliable sources, great videos or organizations that had good resources. The librarian did a lot of work vetting the sources for the students. The students went to the resources and found the answers to their essential questions without worrying about knowing about transliteracy or how to evaluate sources. Does this serve the students well in the long run? Isn't part of learning knowing how to find the answers?

This is where I struggle. I know that databases offer the best articles for kids, but what if they can't access the databases? Shouldn't they know how to evaluate the sources? How to use the advanced tools to search more effectively? Shouldn't the students learn how to look at images, videos and other media to gain information?

We are going to give them a tour of Student Resources in Context, and World Book Online today. We will encourage them to use these databases today, but tomorrow we will give them some tips and tricks on evaluating good websites and how to search effectively on Google. We will see which method yields more results.

1 comment:

  1. I think what you are doing is perfect. There is importance in solid resources. We know that their information is accurate, rich with information and a good source to support any topic. It is equally important students know that. You also realize that Google is a real life tool, acknowledging it and making sure that the students are skilled Google navigators. That is an additional essential skill that they need and now they will also have when finding the answers to any questions.