For this module, we examined the ISTE Student Standard 3 “Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others”. From this standard I had a couple of questions I wanted to answer.
The first was what does curating resources look like for Kindergarten students? The second is what digital tools can these students use to produce artifacts?
To answer these questions I first started by thinking about how my kindergarten students currently gather resources and what products they were producing to show understanding. For literacy, students are given an essential question each week. To extend their learning students in the past used a site called Pebblego to research information related to the essential question. However, students didn’t have an effective way to organize their research and had trouble showing what they learned.
Why it’s important
“To thrive in today’s complex, global, technology-rich world, acquisition of knowledge is not enough. Students must also be proficient using and communicating knowledge creatively. To do so students’ need to know how to ask and investigate questions, find and manage
information, analyze and synthesize ideas, create valuable products, solve problems, collaborate, and communicate effectively in writing, orally, and visually. In our 21st century world, effective learners are not just consumers of information but also constructors and even curators of information and knowledge.” (D’ Acquisto)
Research in Kindergarten
Before students can find information and create any artifacts to show their knowledge. We first need to find out what research looks like in a Kindergarten classroom. Concordia University of Portland, Oregon published an article with five ways to increase research skills in elementary students. The first way to help increase a student’s research skills is to define the task to the student. By defining the task student’s will know what they are looking for and how to get specific results. After defining the task student’s should discover keywords. Students need to learn how to come up with keywords to get the results they need when using a search engine. Now that students know how to find the results they want, they have to use appropriate tools. Google and Bing are probably the most popular search engines, but they may not be the best for teaching research skills to young students. For my students I use the site Pebblego when introducing students to research. Using something like Pebblego makes it easier to teach research skills by weeding out a lot of the chaff that so often comes up on the more popular engines. Next, student’s should learn about source hierarchy and evaluation. Teachers can explain about primary sources, original research and the reliability of information found on the Web. Through examples, teachers can demonstrate the way various information sources find their information and present it to the public, and how to determine which information is best to use for their projects. The fifth way to improve research skills is by note taking and compiling information. For this part I wanted to find a Kindergarten friendly way to record information.
Popplet is a web and app based program that allows for students to capture and organize their ideas. Used as a mind-map, Popplet helps students think and learn visually. Students can capture facts, thoughts, and images and learn to create relationships between them. Students can type, draw, and insert photos to help convey their learning. Another great feature for this site is that students can color code different aspects of their Popplets to show connections between ideas and concepts. One way I would use Popplet in my classroom is by students answering the essential question of the week. The screenshot below shows what a Popplet might look like for a student who is answering the essential question. Students can organize their thinking in a way that best fits their needs or they can pick a pre-formatted template to plug their information into. Once students have collected all their information they can share with other students, teachers, or parents. With this share feature students can present their knowledge of a subject in front of the class or small group.
D’ Acquisto, L. (n.d.). Students as Knowledge Curators: An Apt Metaphor for Today’s Learner. Retrieved February 3, 2018, from http://kidcurators.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Students-as-Knowledge-Curators.pdf
Iste.org. (2017). ISTE Standards For Students. [online] Available at: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students
Teaching Research Skills to Elementary School Children. (2017, November 08). Retrieved February 05, 2018, from https://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/classroom-resources/five-ways-to-teach-research-skills-to-elementary-school-children/