Information Literacy and EdTech: Using the Web Wisely

I just discovered I am the worse internet researcher on the planet.  This last application assignment has set my braincells on fire! Help.

In my current  masters level course, I’m learning about information literacy, the “science” of research.  I’ve learned how the world of the internet has changed the way we research information.  I have to first access what I need, then evaluate its validity, currency and utility for my audience.  I’m learning how, at the college level, professors are frustrated with how students immediately run to Wikipedia as the first and sometimes only source for their scholarly work.  I’m learning that we, as an educators, need to teach students as young as kindergarten, how to use library and internet resources appropriately.

I’ve learned I am not as good at this as I thought and that is not acceptable to me. I love research, I love having my students complete research  that result in amazingly creative  science, engineering and/or technology projects.  I’ve discovered, I’ve been doing my students a horrible disservice in the way I have them complete research.

Now, most schools don’t even have formal library curriculum, you know, the “orientation” in the library, where the librarian or teacher takes everyone in, shows them around, tells them the rules and gets them to practice using the databases.  Well, my school doesn’t do that.  Something to add to the PLC list of things to do to make us all better at our jobs, I suppose.  Learning the basics of how to teach students to use research tools to their more efficient and effective best is an important part of teaching.  If we want life long learners, we need to teach them how to use one of the tools of learning: proper research.

I’ve read some very interesting articles in the last couple of weeks.  I have links to them listed below, if you’re interested in checking them out.  Some are scholarly, they get into the nitty gritty of how to prepare k-12 students for college research. Others are reviews of scholarly articles and opinions on the subject.  As educational technology professionals, this should be something we need to consider in our daily interactions with our students.


How do you have students complete research projects?  Do you just let them loose in the library or computer lab?  Do you allow them to use Wikipedia, Google, Bing or other general use, non scholarly search engines?  Do YOU know how to use scholarly database engines to get useful, timely sources that your students can use?  What do YOU use?