(So not just in Geography but I was desperate for something quirky to name this post).
Locating, Evaluating and Organising Information Sources
AAAAARGH!!!! I sure I’m not alone in feeling frustrated after spending hours searching library databases and other sources only to come up empty handed, it can be likened to searching for hidden treasure at times. Alternatively, its almost as exasperating to find yourself buried under a mountain of resources and have to discern between what is useful and what is not. Being able to find information, and then assess its usefulness, is not about talent, its about technique.
In an age where current high school students are digital natives, it is not about who has access to information and who does not. Clark (2013) believes that the new digital divide will be based around students who know how to effectively find and curate information, and those who do not.
Hands up those reading this that have NOT used Google to find an answer, solve an argument, or to search for some obscure fact we once knew but have long forgotten. I don’t see any hands! We all do it, our first port of call for facts is good old Google.
What we don’t want, is our students thinking Google is the fount of all wisdom. Google, Wikipedia, and other online sources of information have their place. They are a valuable starting point if you’re not quite sure what something is about. However, they are not the best place to find scholarly articles and conduct quality research.
The Australian Curriculum values research and evaluating skills enough to include them in the progressions of Literacy general capabilities through the years. The key idea of comprehending text through listening, reading and viewing requires that students use a range of strategies to comprehend, interpret and analyse these texts, including retrieving and organising literal information, making and supporting inferences and evaluating information and points of view (ACARA, 2016).
In view of this, I’ve created an online resource to demystify the process of retrieving, evaluating and organising information sources for students. The value of this resource is that it uses acronyms, enabling students to remember the steps, and through practice lead them to conduct research intuitively. There are three components to my resource, for students that learn visually I’ve created a Youtube video (I kept it to three minutes for those with short attention spans), for those that prefer to read something online there is text, and for others that prefer to download and print, there’s downloadable PDF version. In addition to this, because organising resources is just as important as finding and evaluating them, I have provided a downloadable and editable Source Notes Summary Sheet to help students organise the information they have found.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2016). f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/literacy. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/literacy
Clark, H. (2013). Do Your Students Know How To Search? . Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/student-search-skills/