A Mindtool for Online Research--Reflection

on Thursday, October 16, 2008

I finished making my mindtool, which is meant to help students strengthen their online research and reading skills. Check it out at: http://www.wix.com/cmitton/Science-Fair-Research. I began using it with my students and received feedback from other teachers. Based on both experiences, I've decided to make the following modifications for next year:

1) Before beginning the science fair research project, I'll find a few websites of interest for the class to read together. Throughout a series of mini-lessons, I will introduce the students to Flowgram as I read the site out loud, think aloud, highlight key details, and draft summary notes. Then, I'll have the students work with partners to practice the strategy on another assigned website within Flowgram. Finally, they will work individually on an assigned site in Flowgram. I'm making this change because I realized that learning to generate research questions, navigate search engines, evaluate websites, and then read, comprehend, and reflect about online content is a lot to tackle! Introducing the skills in smaller stages will help scaffold student learning.

2) Secondly, as we used the webquest this year, I added a step into the process. I had the students bookmark each site they'd like to use for their research using Internet Explorer. After they located 3-7 sources, then we added them into Flowgram, highlighted, and wrote summary notes. This chunked the learning for the students into manageable pieces, and it also made writing the bibliography easier.

I'm sure as the students continue to work through the mindtool, we'll need to make some more adjustments. But, overall, I'm really pleased with the progress we're making as researchers and readers!


westendblog said...

I think this is a valid approach. However, I am really curious about about how both print and online experiences, mentioned in your earlier blog entries, would apply. Are we leaving something out here?

Megan Fritz said...

To continue your final statements....and as they progress with the technology and more teachers begin using these tools, you'll have to adjust this project as well.

Susan Martin said...

I thought that your mindtool was very well planned. It was extremely organized and presented the content in a way that was very easy to read and use. Would you mind if I add a link to the mindtool in my science fair blog, http://vfesciencefairinfo.blogspot.com ? Our science fair projects are done primarily at home and I think this would be an excellent resource for parents and students alike.

Carrie Mitton said...

Sure, Susan! I'd be happy to know that more than just my 24 students are getting some use out of the tool!

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