19 Things for Hamden Hall

Week 3: Research and Using the Internet

Posted on: May 4, 2011

Week 3 is devoted to Research and Using the Internet. The tools I will share with you this week are intended to help you help our students be responsible online, use virtual resources efficiently, and join the global community. This is our biggest week with SIX things, but you only need to choose two to explore (of course, you’re welcome to look at more!)

Another reminder: you do NOT need to click on every link, or take part in every activity, to participate. Even clicking on one link per “thing” is a great start!

Click on the links below to jump right to a particular section, or scroll down to see all of them.

Digital Citizenship
Advanced Web Searching
Creative Commons

Thing 5: Digital citizenship

What is it?

Digital citizenship can be defined as “the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.” Read through DigitalCitizenship.net’s nine elements of digital citizenship for more details.

Choose one of the videos on this page to watch. These were made by students at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Each video focuses on a different aspect of digital citizenship.

How can you use it?

Try it out!

Take the Frontline Digital Nation quiz on digital parenting, but replace “child” with student. See where you stand on this issue.

And finally…Google yourself! Type your full name, in quotes, into Google and see what comes up. What do you think of your digital footprint?

Thing 6: Advanced web searching

What is it?

Did you know that there are ways to search the internet that allow you to be more specific about what you’re looking for? Sometimes this is referred to as searching the “deep web,” which simply means that you are getting results that are not always available through basic searches.

Watch this 3.5 minute video on using Google’s Advanced Search.

How can you use it?

Here are some rubrics that focus on research skills:

In addition, some students struggle with conducting effective searches. (Watch this great video where two students talk about their search strategies.) To help them, I created a worksheet that guides them through narrowing down or broadening their searches, as well as encourages them to find synonyms and other words and phrases that can help them. Here are some resources that can help you assist your students with their search strategies:

  • The KWHL chart is a good way to get younger students thinking about how to find information.
  • The Inquiry Chart can help students start tracking what they know and don’t know – and need to find out – about a topic.
  • Basic Steps in the Research Process is a good overview for older students.
  • This guide is great for older, more sophisticated students and encompasses boolean operators and truncation.

Try it out!

  • Do a search for information about deforestation that you would consider acceptable for a student paper or report. Complete the search in both Google’s basic and advanced searches. Compare the number of results you get and the quality of the results.
  • Now do a search for another topic of your choosing, either one of interest to you or one you are teaching in class. Do the same comparison as before – perhaps try different advanced options this time.

And did you know…

You can access tons of resources that aren’t findable via Google by searching databases, which are collections of articles from newspapers, academic journals, print books, and magazines. Check out our library’s databases here and also be sure to visit iconn, the home of the state of Connecticut’s database collection, which is available for free to all Connecticut residents.

Thing 7: Creative Commons

What is it?

Did you know that the instant a work is created, it is automatically copyrighted All Rights Reserved by law? Creative Commons is a new way of licensing content that allows media to be used freely without violating copyright laws. Watch this 3 minute video, Wanna Work Together?, about what Creative Commons is and how it works. Incorporating Creative Commons into our lessons is a great way to inform students about using media responsibly.

How can you use it?

When asking your students to find and use any kind of media, encourage them to use Creative Commons searches. See my quick guidelines for finding CC-licensed work in an eighth grade English project. Here, see how it’s built into a fifth grade lesson.

Try it out!

Search the Creative Commons image database for pictures related to a topic you are teaching in class. See if you can tell what kind of Creative Commons license each photo has.

Try searching for videos and songs, too. When you get your results list, click on the different tabs at the top of the screen to change the kind of media you’re looking for!

Thing 8: Wikipedia

What is it?

We all know what Wikipedia is, but do you know its ins and outs?

Start by watching Wikipedia in Plain English

Then look at the lesson I did with 6th grade on The Pros and Cons of Wikipedia.

How can I use it?

Look through some of school projects based on Wikipedia:

  • At Croatan High School, an AP Biology class is contributing content to biology-related articles. See the project page for more information.
  • At Fort Worth Country Day School, a history teacher developed a project based around expanding articles found at Category:History_stubs.
  • At Durham School of the Arts, as part of the English I curriculum, students improved and created pages for young adult novels  in an effort to reduce teen vandalism of these vulnerable pages, as well as to provide students with an authentic writing assignment.

Now check out some of the lessons listed on Finding Dulcinea’s Wikipedia in the Classroom page:

  • ReadWriteThink offers a lesson plan that incorporates Wikipedia and Web reading into a lesson about reading analysis and investigation.
  • North Shore Middle School’s Wikipedia page is created and hosted by kids, and is a good example of how kids can use Wikipedia.
  • National Science Digital Library has an article about using wikis in the classroom. It focuses on how editing wikis can teach younger students lessons about composition, word processing, computers and information organization.

Try it out!

Visit any Wikipedia article and click on “edit” to see what the back end of an article looks like.

Then click on the “discussion” page to see if anyone has commented on the article!

Finally, click on the “view history” tab to see how many times the article has been edited.

If you’re feeling ambitious….

Visit an article listed on one of the following “stub” lists on Wikipedia. A “stub” page is one that has a brief definition but not enough information to be considered a true article.Try to edit the stub to add information about the topic! To edit a Wikipedia article, click on the “edit” tab. You do not have to be logged in to edit!

Sports stubs
Culture stubs

Thing 9: Skype

What is it?

Skype allows you to, among other things, make voice and video calls over the Internet. Visit Skype’s “video calls” page and click on “See how easy it is to make video calls with Skype.” Skype can be a powerful tool for connecting your students with people around the world… or in their own backyard.

Skype needs to be installed on your computer in order to use it. We can do that for you!

How can I use it?

Here are some resources to get you thinking about how to use Skype with your students:

  • Check out the open projects on the Skype in the Classroom page, where your class can connect with classes and people all over the world. You can filter the projects by age group and topic on the left-hand side of the page. (I have listed some interesting ones below.)
  • Visit this Skype in Schools Livebinder to read through what other teachers have done in their classrooms with Skype.
  • Visit the Skype an Author site to see if any authors you like are available to speak to over Skype.
  • Check out the amazing Around the World with 80 Schools project, which allows students to connect with their peers around the globe.

Here are some examples of how teachers have used Skype in the classroom:

Here are some open projects on Skype that look interesting:

  • A kindergarten class wants to learn about other kinds of communities, like cities and suburbs.
  • A 5th grade class wants to learn about the Revolutionary War from the perspective of British students.
  • A 9th grade English teacher would like to collaborate on a poetry slam.
  • A math teacher wants his students to talk with other students about the stock market.
  • An upper school science teacher hopes that people in other countries can offer first-hand observations of different biomes.

Thing 10: Flickr

What is it?

Flickr is a photo storage and sharing website. It is an enormous database of photos taken by people all over the world and can be a great tool for integrating images into your lessons. Watch Flickr in Plain English.

How can I use it?

Flickr helps you connect students to topics they are studying in class, especially if those topics are enhanced by a visual exploration.

For example, teachers can create or borrow virtual field trips on Flickr, or students can create their own using Flickr tags! Here’s one example of a North American wildflower field trip, and here’s an example of how clicking on a “Madrid” tag leads to all Flickr photos on Madrid.

There are several applications that use Flickr that would work for language and English classes:

  • Students can write stories using Five Card Flickr, a tool that pulls five Flickr photos at random.
  • In Bubblr, students add speech bubbles to pictures found on Flickr.
  • With Bookr, students create books with Flickr photos as illustrations.
  • Finally, Phrasr asks students to choose pictures to go with words.

Here’s a great lesson plan that incorporates Flickr in a vocabulary lesson.

This lesson incorporates Flickr mosaics into a unit on food in other cultures.

Try it out!

Go to Flickr and search for photos on any topic at all. You will see thousands of results for each keyword you search for.

Try searching for photos that relate to what you are teaching in class.

Try out Flickr’s advanced search, too!


13 Responses to "Week 3: Research and Using the Internet"

I would like to learn more about using flickr to match pictures to vocabulary words. We pull the weekly words from the novels we are reading and have the kids draw pictures to match. This might be a nice option to use as well.

There are so many great Flickr tools and I bet the kids would really enjoy using them. Phrasr would probably be best for that.

T. Porto 5/5/11
First graders enjoyed the videos and music found on the advanced internet site. So many things to choose from! Wish we had more time.

That’s great! I hope you found it easy to use and will use it again.

Just looked at flickr Advanced Search and found beautiful pictures of spring flowers and spring gardens. The first graders are about to start making flowers, butterflies, ladybugs etc to create their own spring garden. Some lovely photos by Tim Noonan.

That’s wonderful! A perfect use of flickr.

This was my first experience with Flickr. As an avid “picture taker” -this was awesome. Glad I tried it!

I like sharing my photos on Flickr. There are so many beautiful images there… you could spend hours just exploring them.

I have not used the advanced goggle search, many of my students have. I need to catch up with them.

I went on the Flickr site and like the idea of a 5 image story. This would be a fun way to have my students create a story in French using new vocabulary words. I would have them write the story first, then I would correct it with them and review correct pronunciation. Finally, they could present their story to the class.

Deb, I thought of you with some of the flickr applications. I think there are a lot of great ways to incorporate those tools into the language classroom. Glad you chose that one to explore. 🙂

It was interesting to review the “advanced search” techniques available in google. I can see how this would be very helpful for students and faculty alike. I especially like the way you could use google books or google scholar to steer students toward various types of media (going beyond websites). It is interesting to note that, while our students are “digital natives”, comfortable with technology in many ways, they do not fully understand how to make technology serve them for academic needs. This must be the great irony of the generation.

For the second area, I took a look at digital citizenship. While there are many versions of rules for digital citizenship, I found the nine listed on DigitalCitizenship.net’s website quite reasonable. Interestingly, I hadn’t seen #1 before. It discussed digital access as one of our “digital rights.” I find this particularly relevant because I spend much of my free time in the mountains of rural Vermont, where I do not have access to cell phone signal, cable tv, or DSL (yes, we’re still on dial-up–cringe). As a teacher, I feel for my younger cousins who don’t have ready access to the tools they need to do their school work and build friendships. It is certainly a result of supply and demand; there are not enough potential customers to make it profitable for companies to invest in the needed infrastructure and carrying costs for these capabilities.

Hi Sara,
Just looked at Gloster–Virtual Posters with Gloster.
Very interesting but required a lot of instruction and the fourth grade teacher had other specials helping. Might be too much for first graders. Also looked at Voki. Saw a great reading lesson and plans for reading Henny Penny. I was looking for plans in math but
it came up with no results for math. Wish I had more time and a
little more expertise. Terry Porto 5/12

I like the KWHL chart and will look more closely to adapt it to science projectsw; specifically our 4 and 5 science fair projects. The students need to research the concepts that are integral to their project. This will definitely help.

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