By Teachers, For Teachers
Let’s face it, most of our students are more tech-savvy than us. They can probably find just about anything out on the Internet in matter of minutes if we ask them to search for it. But even though they may be able scour the Internet in matter of seconds, is the information they are finding reliable and accurate? The Internet has a wealth of information, and we can surely say with some certainty that not all of it is accurate. In order to make sure that our students are proficient researchers, we must teach them a few technology in the classroom research tips. Here are a few technology in the classroom tips to share with your students.
The first tip to show students is how to use a URL to determine if a website is legitimate. For example, if the URL ends in .edu, it is most likely means that it is an educational institution site. If the URL ends in .org, then it usually means it’s a non-profit organization, and if it ends in .gov, then it most likely is a government website. Here are three legitimate URL examples.
While popular search engines are great for everyday easy searches, an advanced search can help you hone in on what you are specifically searching for more easily. Tell students to go to Google, then under the settings menu to click the “Advanced search” option. Here, students can narrow in on the results and pages by typing in exact words or phrases they are searching for. In addition to the Google advanced search option, you can show students that by simply typing the URL ending in parenthesis like this “edu,” they can also narrow their search options. For example, if students were searching the term “Mindfulness” and only wanted information from creditable educational institutions on this topic, then all they would have to do is type “edu” in parenthesis before the search term and every website that ended in “edu” would show up in the result menu.
Show students that if the website they are on does not provide the authors name, then they are not able to validate the information on the site. Trustworthy sites always have the author’s name and credentials on it, or at least a link to them. Tell students that it’s important to investigate their source, because this will help them figure out if the information they are writing about is valid and truthful.
In this digital age, it’s hard for anyone to know the difference between fake news and real news. You may have a degree from Harvard and still find it easy to accept that what you are reading is the truth. That is why it is so essential to show students how they can evaluate the information that they are researching. Students need to ask themselves the following questions as they research.
Learning to evaluate the content that you are reading is essential if you want your students to be able to find reliable resources. Students need to have the ability to crosscheck their sources and know the difference between a fact and an opinion. Factual pieces are the best resources, while opinion pieces may not be the most suitable for a research piece.
Oftentimes, young students do not understand that copying and pasting information without citing the source is considered plagiarism. Many young students just learning how to research simply copy their favorite thoughts from a site or a book and call it their own. It’s important to teach your students to give proper credit where credit is due. Teach your students to avoid plagiarism by citing their sources. Brain Pop has a wonderful movie to show young students the importance of citing sources, while the Purdue Online Writing Lab has great resources for educators in grades 7-12.
Our tech-savvy students may know their way around the Internet, but it’s also important that we teach them to use these Internet research tips in order to be research-savvy as well. By teaching and showing them these tips, we are giving them the tools that they can carry with them throughout their academic lives and careers.
Do you have any more technology in the classroom research tips that weren’t mentioned? Please share them with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you teach your students on this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyword. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.