ISTE – Knowledge Constructor – Empowering Skilled Researchers

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As part of my ongoing exploration of how ISTE Student Standards can be implemented in the classroom, I am focusing this week on ISTE Student Standard 3: Knowledge Constructor.  Addressing how students will locate and use information from digital sources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions. I am specifically looking at the following performance indicators:

3A: plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
Enabling students to discover their own sources and to also empower them with the courage and skills to research their own reliable sources is difficult particularly in the middle school level.  Students range in their ability to scour the internet for new sources that would pass a CRAAP test. “It is not sufficient for readers to solely find the information posted online— they need to connect and synthesize ideas across multiple Internet texts. The integration of knowledge and ideas illustrated within the CCSS calls for an analysis of two or more texts to build and present knowledge around similar topics (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), 2011 ) (Kingsley, T., & Tancock, S.2014).”  Because of this fact teachers like me need to encourage students to continually push themselves further when it comes to research techniques and skills.

As Baker explains it in his book Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom, “today’s average youth spends over 10 hours a day consuming media. Aided by technology, young people can instantly share and engage with media messages to find answers, get directions, shops or connect with friends” (Baker, 2016). But access alone doesn’t lead to critical thinking. Media are texts, designed to be read, analyzed, deconstructed and reconstructed. Understanding how to interpret advertising messages, check for bias or avoid stereotyping are among the skills students need to become knowledgeable consumers and producers of media.

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What are ways in which students can critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produced creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others?

The book I acquired is by Frank Baker, is about his perspective on Media Literacy. I also found an interview he did on a blog podcast just last week.  He talks with the interviewer Larry Jacobs about the decisions that students are making when it comes to finding credible sources on the internet.  He references a public website and often referenced as a bad example (http://www.martinlutherking.org/) where “most people if they went to (Martin Luther King.org), don’t scroll down and don’t see that it is presented by white Aryan nation group” (L. Jacobs, 2017).  Then Frank Baker goes into the series of questions that make up his concept of media literacy for students in K-12 school. Baker calls out in the interview that middle school age students have a hard time identifying credible sources.  Being able to discern between reliable and reputable sources in their research is crucial for setting them up for success. They go on to discuss two big events that can help teachers introduce media literacy to students in an engaging manner. “The key to successful instruction lies in embedding competencies within an authentic inquiry-based process. When students are searching for an answer to a question they have formulated about a topic, it allows for a meaningful investigation. They are motivated and have the stamina to seek many Internet resources for answers” (2014, pg 398).  Students need to ask themselves a series of questions when encountering media.  It is essential that we instill the capabilities and curiosity in the students so they can dive deep into research to find what they are looking for.  Educators need to keep in mind that students require wonder to push through the tough times during research. And as Sarah Patillo explains in her blog post 17 Ideas to Help Combat Learned Helplessness we need to; 

Always encourage wonder – 

IF: You ask all the questions…

THEN: Students never learn to ask their own or invest themselves enough to wonder.

SO DO THIS INSTEAD: Create time for asking and answering questions about the text, problem, or content at hand. Invest students in seeking their own answers. Keep the wonder alive!” (Patillo, 2016). Allow the students to ask the questions and create

I need to allow the students to ask the questions and create investment in their topic so they will work towards a real solution or answers instead of just fulfilling a credit amount on an assignment.

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How can I best teach my students to use effective research strategies to locate accurate and reliable information and other resources for their research projects and reports in my humanities classroom?

Getting our students to become critical thinkers (and viewers) by questioning media messages is an important goal. Over time, I have seen a bunch of different tools as a high school and middle school language arts and social studies teacher.  I have seen the evolution of the CARS test to the CRAAP test.  But I wanted something a bit more developed and with more explanation.  The Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom uses Shepherd’s media literacy triangle to help students like mine, in middle school synthesize what are the very basics they need to question when encountering new information. “A text is any media product we wish to examine. Anyone who receives a media text is a member of an audience. Production refers to everything that goes into the making of a media text (Baker, 2016).”

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  • The text is typically associated with something in print. A text can be a film, a TV show, an advertisement, a radio program, a photograph, or video game.
  • The audience is the particular demographic that each text is designed specifically for.
  • Production is the process of making (putting together) or creating media texts.

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