Let’s start by saying that Matt Broughton, the Elementary Librarian Viki Radford and myself collaborated on this research lesson. The need for this lesson arose after noticing that a lot of students ask Siri or Alexa questions connected to their inquiries and we wanted to value this as a research tool, but also help them learn about the effectiveness of it. We thought that this lesson could expand into more of a unit after we teach the first hour-long lesson and reflect on how it worked. Our main hope for the lesson was that students would have a better understanding of some of the tools they can use to research and learn the tool that is the best fit for their query and to begin to evaluate the information they get from their search.
One big takeaway from this course is that information and access to information is in a constant state of flux, and as teachers, we have to help our students navigate to find what they want so they can continue to pursue their inquiries. Matt and I chose the ISTE standards we wanted to teach and help the students recognize that they are responsible for evaluating the sources they find and the tools they use as it usually a personal inquiry they want to find out. As a father of a 5-year-old watching as she picks up a device and asks it the weather, or to open an application, and as a teacher who has watched students ask some research questions, we thought we need to value how students are interacting with technology, what interface they choose the most, and how it can help us in our inquiries. Many younger students prefer using their voice to interface with technology for a variety of reasons be it fluency with writing and spelling, being newer to a language, or being clunky with a keyboard. Asking a computer something can be much faster sometimes.
Our Unit Plan: (Links to lessons and supplemental resources in Stage 3)
I think that there are some good possibilities to extend this lesson into a unit. We could bring it into higher elementary grades through discussions about how Siri works compared to a search engine, and as students develop proficiency with identifying keywords in their questions and the permutations they can use when asking them, maybe they would realize what search terms they could type, or what they could simply ask. Planning this unit was a little bit different for me. I haven’t used a Backwards by Design type planner for a since moving from the MYP to PYP nine years ago. I have been sucked into the world of the PYP planner and as that is changing, though I would try using something different to work with teachers in different departments and this planner helped me to visualize the goals before developing the instruction. Planning the tech-integration was quite seamless due to the nature of the topic and how we use reflections at our school with online learning journals. I am going to implement this lesson in our next unit about Where We are in Place and time as we look into migration.
One more thing, for this post I had to learn some HTML code to embed the Google doc to the size I wanted to. With a few quick searches and refinement of my search terms, messing around with some height and width numbers I think I got it the way I wanted. The instructions for the teacher and the actual facilitation instructions for the lesson are in Stage 3, and any supplemental resources are also attached as separate Google Docs.