Sunday, December 19, 2010

Unexpected results

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to teach 12 classes from years 7-9 how to use and how to access a number of the databases we subscribe to, all part of the curriculum and part of embedding on an as need to know basis we work on at school. While doing this (besides becoming quite sick of teaching the same thing over and over 3 x a day for a week), I also discovered what information literacies we are not explicitly teaching the students because we just have not had an opportunity due to time, need or understanding of what is being missed.

I identified 7 skills that I thought were imperative and urgent to be explicity taught to all of our secondary students and sent out the following email to our secondary staff :

After doing some intensive work with students in years 7,8,9 over the past weeks on Bibliographies and using the right resources for the right information for Science, I have been able to identify a couple of basic skills / knowledge that needs to be explicitly taught to the whole of secondary as there are holes, and would like like some help in integrating these into curriculum.

1. Website and resource evaluation - The CRAP test
2. Diigo (for organisation of bookmarks and information and using groups to finding information - a very useful and powerful tool for teachers as well)
3. Advanced Database use (needs to be for a unit that requires current or controversial information or points of view)
4. Notetaking - the students were keen to learn to do this properly when I mentioned
5. OPAC - accessing their own records, reserving, etc.
6. Smart Google searching (they are going to use it anyway...)
7. Using creative commons for image / music etc resources to be reused in their assignments.

There are others, but these are the main ones for now so we can move forward onto higher level stuff. I am happy to help out in anyway, and would really like to to be involved in either helping you to get these basics into the curriculum, or to teach it myself using some of your lesson time, (as long or as short as you like) or to just support you when it is taught in the lesson as an extra body in the room.

And, Please let me know if you are already doing it, for what year level.

Thanks for your help in this, it will help the students learn better and produce better work.

I had a few responses from staff asking me what OPAC and creative commons meant and was able to answer those. I also had a few requests to run classes for the staff on all those skills (which I will be doing next term) however, the best responses were from teachers I have not worked with yet in the elective subjects such as Art, Economics and Design Technology. Planning is now underway for some class time to directly target and integrate the skills I outlined in the email.

So, this was an unexpected but wonderful result of a simple email that specified what I wanted to do, identified a few skills that needed to be covered (without overwhelming anyone) with a bit of luck thrown in that people were interested at that moment they read the email. Have a go ... you might be surprised at the results.


montglanechess said...

What resources/methods do you use for 'Smart Google Searching' and 'Notetaking'? It's been so long since I've had to sit through either as a student (esp. in regards to Notetaking) that I'm curious what best practices you use. Can you share?

Barbara said...

We are just at the same stage with our secondary students. We shall be following your updates with interest.