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After much internal debate, I decided to attend “Free and Hot: Using Popular Web Resources to Teach Research Skills and Critical Thinking.” I wasn’t sure if I should go–we’re doing a lot of this anyway–but figured if there is anything new out there I should know it, so I joined Kaeley to watch our local library colleagues.

Free and Hot: Using Popular Web Resources to Teach Research Skills and Critical Thinking
Christine Whittington, Jennie Hunt, and Michael Sistrom from Greensboro College
Paula Patch from Elon University
Amy Harris and Scott Rice from UNCG

  • Whole thing kicked off by Christine Whittington with really interested scenarios involving students’ use of free online resources in their research (like Wikipedia for really current topics, YouTube as a source, citing from Google Scholar, etc.)
  • Old saying, “You get what you pay for.” But things have changed.
  • Found smaller universities/college find the exciting free materials (because they have to be more creative due to budget constraints)
  • Mentioned read/write culture and the rise of the need to teach people to be critical. Yay!

From Jennie Hunt

  • Discussion of group projects, how one person often does a lot of work and the rest can slack off
  • Will be using Google Notebook this fall in her course
  • Google Notebook assignment: basically creating a private wiki
  • Shares them with specific accounts (other group members, instructor, etc)
  • Individually add content (source, annotation, etc.) and have them add their own name to the note they added
  • Finishes class with presentation of notebooks
  • 5-10 minute presentation each, must justify cites in presentation.
  • There is no history associated with Notebook (as there is with Google Docs or a wiki)

From Paula Patch, english instructor

  • Defined wiki, Wikipedia, discussed pros and cons
  • Drew parallel between Wikipedia and class: Our goal is that people take risks and talk in class, and learn when it’s pointed out they’re incorrect… Wikipedia does that, too
  • Banning and saying “no” isn’t transformative teaching. They’re not going to stop doing it… they’re just not going to tell you. Leaves teachers not trusting students, cutting and pasting text into Google to see if they copied it.
  • Meet them where they are! (Hint: they’re not on scholarly sites, they’re on Google and Wikipedia)
  • Wikipedia assignments to show students the strengths and weaknesses of Wikipedia
  • Assessing a Wikipedia entry (first major assignment in her class)
  • Moves to unfamiliar (library related research) later in semester
  • For the first Wikipedia assessment assignment: has them read Wikipedia entry and criticism of Wikipedia entry
  • Has them read The Hive, the Nature Study, Britannica’s refutation, and a scholarly Wikipedia article
  • Then, they get on Wikipedia with a context
  • Gives them a Wikipedia page and criteria to evaluate it: who wrote it, references, etc

From Michael Sistrom

  • Discussed gold mine of online resources such as Frontline archives
  • Wants people to use web responsibly and see interconnectedness of disciplines as well as parts of campus (such as librarians & faculty)
  • Becomes more and more clear that it’s good to know what they’re learning in other classes, run assignments by ID folks, discuss research assignments with librarians
  • More they see it in other classes, more reinforcement, makes it easier to build
  • Has student create a site: how to make it interesting, short, concise, use of images, etc.

Amy Harris and Scott Rice

  • “Gaming is our shtick, it’s what we do.” 🙂
  • Used to share links
  • Talked about Flickr as a tool for critical thinking
  • Demoed commenting and notes in Flickr (and cited me 🙂 )
  • Discussion of digital native, less shy online (in print), more shy in person
  • Then got into gaming!
  • Guess the Google gives you images and you have to guess what the word is that the images represent
  • Showed their information literacy game