Session 1 – Student Research – Students of the Future

Joyce Valenza (@joycevalenza) ( - Librarian Springfield Township HS, PA

Lucy Gray (@elemenous) ( - former teacher - now consultant on Search literacy

Everything has shifted for us and for students

How will K-12 students research in coming years?

Looseleaf notebooks used to be our containers for research – so inadequate – not dynamic.

Now students need electronic organizers, including collaborative ones

Joyce - first place my students go for their initial background research has changed even from a year ago. Used to be Wikipedia, now its YouTube. They wrap their arms around a subject easier through a video.

Kids need to set up alerts, and to mine RSS feeds – get information pushed to them, not pulled by them.
All our students get set up on Google Sites and Wikispaces, so teachers can see how their research progress is coming along. See
Graduation Project handbook - students no longer “hide their work” and reveal it at the end of the semester – that is so 1990s.
Example – student Alison – studied what soldiers need most in Iraq & Afghanistan – cigars – for barter and to keep bugs away at night. Alison keeps everything she needs in one digital place. Gives teacher ability to know when to intervene when the process is stalled.

Lucy Gray – kids need a repository for their online links. Going into a 2nd grade class next week – that teacher doesn’t think her students could ever search on their own. Had she been modeling search strategies, it would not be a big deal. Schools need a school-wide search strategy that every faculty member embraces.

Tools - Nick P (@thenerdyteacher) – system still employed is teaching kids how to take notes and put them on index cards, one fact per card. Kids get graded on the adequacy of their index cards. He has kids use Diigo ( He provides links for them to start with. They can all share each others' sources.

Mary Beth Hertz (@mbteach) – taught 6th graders how to manage their own Diigo accounts.

Joyce loves NoodleTools ( and Issuu ( (create a portfolio that lasts well beyond graduation). Students must be able to keep and share their work. They must stop doing work in a vacuum/bubble. Joyce showed story written in ToonDoo ( (cartoon maker). Joyce loves Diigo for ability of teacher to intervene.
Joyce gives a grade for quality of the resources that students cite, and they have to sort them by type – they should know if it is a book, a newspaper, a magazine.
On Animotos ( and VoiceThreads ( – level of analysis and thought not as high as expected. Online rubrics – express requirement of quotes; statistics; solid evidence. Early grade students need to find out at least: Who wrote it, Why is it important, How does it help me.

Lucy Gray mentioned Yolink (, EasyBib ( and SweetSearch (; all three can be used independently, or together via SweetSearch.

Everyone loves Purdue OWL ( as a source for grammar rules and writing instruction.

Joyce: It doesn’t matter that the tools will certainly continue to change – they need to learn them now, it will help them learn the next tools.

Extensive discussion: how do we get teachers to where they need to be on integrating tech & the Web? Momentum is certainly growing.

We’re losing focus of the essential question - what is the outcome we want? Getting kids to evaluate resources, synthesize them, and write effective copy? What skills are involved in embedding media into a blog post? We need to identify the skills we want students to have, rather than the tools we want them to be able to use. Many of the traditional skills are still relevant. Joyce – kids often can’t even get their camera till they show their story board and the works cited. Glogster project for Catcher in the Rye – kids embedded an MP3 and then danced along – not meaningful.

How do we get people to use tools and concepts when they have no concept of what we’re talking about – it is as though we’re trying to convince them to live on Mars.

Must respect recalcitrant teachers as professionals; must understand where they are. They function well in their space and feel no urgent need to learn it.

Joyce Valenza - there is no textbook – everyone in this room is figuring it out as best we can at our school level. Sometimes it doesn’t work, and we shouldn’t be frustrated by that. We need to celebrate the times it does work.

Nick P (@theNerdyTeacher) – show your colleagues your mistakes – let them know how hard it was to get to the end product, so they don’t feel intimidated.

Lucy Gray – spoke about Google Web Search tutorial ( she wrote with Dan Russell – these were written for students but should also be used for professional development with teachers. We need to teach Web research skills and effective use of technology to students from K-12 and work with all their teachers as well.

Mary Beth – it’s OK to push students faster than they can go – you can always pullback. Made mistake of trying to teach two tools in same session.

Mark Moran (@findingDulcinea) ( there are corollaries in real life. We don’t let kids out by themselves unsupervised in the big city till they are in their late teens. But we start teaching them safety skills at age 3. You can’t wait till a child is 16 to introduce the concept that there are good people and bad people in life. You can wait till a child is 16, or 14, or 12, to explain there are good resources and bad resources online. The same with tools – kindergarteners don’t finger paint very well, but they learn to express themselves. 2nd graders don’t color well, but we give them crayons anyway.