Tech Tuesday #5
Google Custom Search Engines
Yesterday, I caught wind of a little research project being conducted in our English II pre-AP classes over a little book called Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. The teacher graciously allowed me to take a look at the assigment handout, which led students through a webquest, exploring various topics relating to Nigerian history, culture, and the author himself. On the assignment page, specific websites were listed for students to access depending on their topic. I saw a library-infiltration opportunity and pounced!
(Time-out for a little soap-box on teaching students information and research skills.)
|Used with permission from the creator, Sean Gallo, http://www.seangallo.com|
More often than not, research seems to be a "stop-and-do" unit of exhausting, lengthy days in the library or computer lab. Students and teachers spend days and weeks pounding away at research topics, meeting minimal requirements for number of sources, note cards, direct quotes, working toward completing a checklist of research tasks rather than engaging in transformative, authentic inquiry. Rather than pushing research back and back until afetr "the test" or reserving it until May when we're eager to mark the days off of our calendars until summer, my proposition is this: let's teach narrow and in depth--one bite at a time.
Google Custom Searches allow us to streamline one part of the inquiry process (exploring and searching) so that students can dig deeper into another part of the inquiry process. Here's what you can do as a teacher or librarian to help "cut the meat" for our young researchers: