Scaffolding Research and Guided Inquiry

Yesterday was a big day for me!  About a month ago I had been invited to speak to student teachers studying at Otago University in Dunedin about the process of scaffolding research and guided inquiry as part of their Literacy Across the Curriculum paper. I was a little nostalgic and it felt even more surreal walking into a lecture theatre I had sat in during my year at teachers college back in the early 1980’s, only this time I was the one standing at the front talking to students, some of whom had already completed degrees and were now training to go into classrooms as teachers.

The time allocated just wasn’t long enough! There was so much to tell them, share with them and discuss with them.  I easily had enough content to spread across two sessions, but we were constrained to one and so I made the best of it.  My hope is that our short 50 minutes has only just opened up potential discussions as they all contemplate graduation and beginning in their own classes next year.  To that end I have invited them to join me in the new Scaffolding Research and Guided Inquiry Group on the Virtual Learning Network.  I hope we can continue to discuss what guided research and inquiry can look like in classrooms, as these skills are relevant to all subject disciplines in all schools across every year level.

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Resources for supporting the Tertiary Prep Unit

While trawling for great resources to use in preparation for my Tertiary Prep Unit I came across some really fantastic information available online from a variety of tertiary institutions.

For the sessions on note-taking and note-making I shared a great resource put together by Otago University Libraries Student Learning Centre about how to take and make good notes  and from the Higher Education Development Centre at Otago they offer this handout about making the most of your notes.

Otago has also designed equally good resources for managing learning which I shared when discussing study skills with my groups.

Another idea I introduced to the Tertiary Prep guys was the idea of using Study Groups as a way to revise and prepare. Otago has also created great resources to assist with this.  This handout describes how to get the best out of a study group and this one is about their P.A.S.S system (Peer Assisted Study Sessions.)

The Otago University Higher Education Development Centre is a great resource to tap into, and I recommend you take a look at what they do and what they offer.

When running my sessions on Bibliographies and Citations, I shared some great resources created by Waikato University which has good explanations about referencing as well as useful examples for each citation style.  This one is for APA.  What I really love is the drop down boxes they have to give specific examples of each type of reference.  Waikato also has a great list of how-to library guides.

Last, but by no means least, is one I came across recently from Boston College University Libraries which is a comprehensive glossary with definitions of library terms.  Not only does this help students get their heads around what each term actually means, but would also be a great resource for students of information and library science who are also grappling with terms we take for granted as practicing professionals.

If anyone has found anything equally useful, I’d love you to share them!

Web 2.0 Tools #1

Here are my favourite tools for you to have a look at or play with this week:

  • Free New Zealand Photos

Free New Zealand Photos  –  As the title suggests, this website gives you access to photos you can legally use for free.  This would be a great site to share with teaching colleagues or to use in your classes.  I’m thinking there are a great range of uses but the first one that springs to mind for my teachers would be to support the tourism department.  This was shared by Creative Commons NZ.  If you’d like to know more about how to download and use digital content legally then watch this great little video, created here in NZ.

  • Mindmapping: How Students Make Meaning

This blog post by CrazyTeacherLady is all about Mindmapping and how students can make meaning through using them.  It has some very good tips for using them in classes.

  • Web 2.0 Tool for Recording Learning

10 Web 2.0 Tools for Recording Learning is a site with some great tools collected together by a school teacher for other teachers to use.

  • Plagiarism Game

Well done to the team at Snowden Library, Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania for creating this great plagiarism game teaching students about verifying sources by eliminating the goblin threat.  Entertaining as well as educational.  Try it out yourself and see how you go.

  • Using Posterous for Education

Posterous is an online sharing and collaborative space which you can use with groups with the option of making them either public or private.  This link outlines a range of ways in which Posterous can be used in education.  I’m considering this as a way of working with my Tertiary Prep groups next term.