“Fake News”, social media and critical thinking

BBC_i-reporter

BBC iReporter

This is a fantastic online resource created by the BBC which puts players in the heart of the newsroom to explore sources and make journalistic decisions and attempt to discover what is real and what is fake news.

You are a new reporter for the BBC social media team, and you have to meet your bulletin deadlines through the course of a day.

I tested this out this morning and was impressed by the very slick format full of interactive technology and immediate results.  Players gain points for accuracy, impact, and speed – all of which are crucial in any real news setting.

Links to the New Zealand Curriculum:

This activity meets all elements of the key competencies – the capabilities for living and lifelong learning (which is what we’re all about in the school library business!)

  • Thinking – critically, creatively, and metacognitively thinking while making sense of information, experiences, and ideas to become active seekers, users, and creators of knowledge
  • Using language, symbols, and texts – understanding visual, oral, aural and written language cues to make swift decisions
  • Managing self – being resourceful and resilient while employing strategies to meet challenges under time constraints
  • Relating to others – interacting effectively online while coming up with new ways of thinking and becoming informed decision makers
  • Participating and contributing – in a digital, global environment while understanding the balance between rights, roles, and responsibilities to contributing to online communities

It also contributes to digital citizenship, information and digital literacy skills programmes, and is particularly relevant to Social Studies, English and Media studies teachers

BBC i-reporter

A big thank you to UK teacher and editor of UKEd Magazine, Martin Burrett for posting about this excellent, interactive tool, with potential to have high student engagement.

Advertisements

Formative Assessments: Our Compass for Understanding Affective, Cognitive, and Physical Aspects of Information Search Processes

I have been a huge admirer of Buffy Hamilton’s work for a number of years, and as I venture further into collaborative planning and teaching with my staff it makes more and more sense.

I love her concept of Birds of a Feather searching groups. I also like her concept for pre-research/search mapping. In my experience this is an area in the research process that doesn’t have enough time allocated to it. Having visual maps and scaffolds helps to give it due credence. I also love the “ticket out the door” method of getting students to reflect on the period of work they’ve just completed. It also gives opportunities for more targeted interventions as required.

I encourage you to read this meaty post if you are:
1. following my posts about teacher librarian collaboration
2. interested in the Guided Inquiry process by Carol Kulhthau
3. considering ways to work more closely with teachers or librarians

Visual Pathway to Analysing Texts

I am becoming increasingly aware of myself as a visual learner. This blog post from the wonderful Sally Pewhairangi is a great reminder of this for me.
This had a dual effect on me.
Firstly, I immediately saw the potential for English teachers to use this as an analysis tool for their class novel studies. The students could create their own key as to how to analyse the text, maybe as a plot summary or maybe as a way of charting use of language, or possibly even plotting a character’s movement or development during the novel. I’m sure there are other ways to use it too.
Secondly, it reminded me of why it’s so important to share your ideas with others, and how exciting it is to have new ideas sparked by others sharing their experiences.

FINDING HEROES

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE LOVEMATCH

Contender for the World: Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts.
My Verdict: I was expecting to be swept off my feet by the ‘Queen of Romance’ but was terribly disappointed. A bit too homely for my liking.

View original post

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.

Q.U.I.C.K method for Evaluating Websites

Weighing it up

Dr Susan Sandretto from Otago University gave a stunning keynote address at the recent SLANZA Conference in Wellington on Planning for Critical Literacy. She is an engaging speaker and able to communicate well the need for us as teachers and librarians to create opportunities for teaching students about critical literacy and have them explore what it means to analyse text critically.  I have been fortunate enough to hear Susan speak on two previous occasions and she has been pivotal in giving me the necessary skills to design these two lessons, which help students grasp this concept in a digital environment.

This is the poster I developed using information Susan gave in hand-out form at her workshop I attended about two years ago.   I had several teaching colleagues also attend this workshop, and these posters were ultimately displayed in classrooms throughout the school.  I even saw it on the wall of my friend’s home office when I was visited her recently – she also happens to a former teaching colleague!

Critical Literacy Poster

Lesson 1: How to Evaluate a Website – Q.U.I.C.K

Searching the NetThrough observing typical 12 and 13 year old students’ behaviour in using computers to research, I realised they needed a lot of guidance to achieve effective results.

As part of developing an embedded programme towards achieving this aim, I designed this lesson to get Y8 students thinking about how to decide whether a website they are looking at is a good choice for their research needs.

I would typically teach this lesson after having already taught the class about keyword searching and selecting websites from their results.

The Quality Information Checklist is a great resource to engage students with how to evaluate websites and promote discussion in small groups about why it’s important to do this.

 

Lesson 2: Evaluating Websites

I have designed another lesson activity that I typically teach in either Year 9 or 10 where I remind them of the Q.U.I.C.K steps and get them to use as many as necessary to evaluate an assigned website. Here’s the lesson plan and a link to the Livebinder resource:

Evaluating Websites - Hoax lesson

It really brings home the message to students that just because a website looks slick and has lots of bells and whistles, doesn’t make it appropriate, relevant, correct or even true.

Pizza, The Research Process and Resulting Lightbulb Moments

How often do you observe your students, especially the younger ones, in the act of research? And how many of them choose to sit down at a computer, type in their question and then click on the first website in the list?

Getting them to understand there is a process they can follow for effective research results, and that there are some steps they need to take BEFORE plonking themselves in front of a computer screen is a bit of a mission, wouldn’t you agree?

So I have developed several strategies aimed at teaching the process of research in an attempt to make it as transparent as possible for students.

Strategy 1:  Developing and embedding a school-wide research process

This is the visual to support this:

Research Cycle

This works well as an A3 poster displayed in the library and in classrooms.

It can also be inserted into workbooks or assignment sheets to reinforce and remind where applicable.

Strategy 2: Identifying each step in the process

Find

This supports your school research process and helps as a visual reminder for students which is the main step in the process they should be using at each stage.  I have used this as a small symbol at the top of each page in my research booklets.

Strategy 3: Explaining the research process

This can be tricky as no matter how concise we are or how simple we try to make it, it can be difficult to explain research in terms our students can understand.  Several years ago fellow librarian and good friend Donna Watt explained the way she went about introducing research to her junior students (11 and 12 year olds) to a group of librarians and teachers as part of a professional learning day.  Several in the group had real “light bulb” moments as it became clearer to them and they began to think about research in a different way.  Donna was kind enough to allow me to create the power-point I’ve shared above using her Pizza Process idea.

Last term I used this presentation with all of our Year 8 classes before embarking on a unit where I was teaching online research and note taking skills.  It worked very well.  I created cards with each research step visual on it and made up sets of them to use in small groups as an activity after running through the power-point.

Here is my lesson plan for this:

The Research Process Activity