Since our class ended in early March, I've been reflecting on how we can improve the research portfolios. As it stands now, the students include annotated bibliographies in the portfolio, along with recommendations for the agency. The recommendations were a new requirement this past quarter. Our aim was to get students to synthesize the information they were finding, rather than just summarizing it. In most classes, they would write a paper. However, our class is only 2 credits, and the focus is supposed to be on the research process, not writing the research paper.
Information Literacy Course (EDT 110)
Days like yesterday don't happen often - but they make all the struggles of teaching worthwhile. Our students completely blew us away yesterday! A tradition of this course is that we invite our community partner staff members and the Director of the Office of Service Learning to the last day of class for a group reflection, and for the students to hand over their research portfolios to our partner.
Next week, March 8, our students will turn in their completed research portfolios to Project READ. So this week (week 9), the groups were working fast and furious to continue compiling their portfolios and write appropriate recommendations based on their research. This is the part where the students apply critical thinking skills by synthesizing the research they found. Students also took a very brief 5-question review "quiz." The quiz covered the big concepts we covered, like evaluating information and the invisible web.
Last week in class, our students spent time working in groups to revise their citations and annotations for the annotated bibliography and also begin to compile some recommendations based on their research. We met with each team separately to check on their progress and make some suggestions about how to improve their citations and annotations and how to start writing recommendations. Since our goal is for the students to experience all stages of information literacy, the recommendations they will write will be a way for them to synthesize the information they have found.
Since our service learning experience (the book sorting activity) was cancelled yesterday, we created an alternate service project for our students. And with only 3 weeks left in the quarter, we consulted with Dr. Sarah Twill to craft an acceptable alternative. She offered the following project that she has used in her own classes. This is worth 14 points, as was the original project (book sorting).
Our class didn't meet during Week 5 due to the ice storm.
Homework due today, 1/25: Students viewed the Information Cycle tutorial, produced by Penn State University Libraries; Students also submitted three articles related to their research topic (reading/writing assessment for K-8 students) to a dropbox in the learning management system.
During Tuesday morning's class, our students discussed the web sites they found for homework. They each found three web sites relating to assessing reading skills for K-8 students. They decided in groups which they would deem the "best" and discussed with the entire class what criteria they considered in choosing the best web site. After this practice in evaluating the web sites they chose, we provided a brief introduction to the Education Research Complete database, so they were prepared to find 3 articles on the same topic for homework.
Week 1 was full of logistics and housekeeping. An experienced SL instructor and faculty liaison to the Office of Service Learning, Dr. Sarah Twill (Social Work), presented "What's this service learning thing Cheryl and Maureen are making me do?" The students also met Becky Garvin, the interim director of Project READ, who explained to them what the agency does for our community. She thanked them for the work they are about to do for Project READ and our community.
This week, I've spent most of my time preparing for my EDT [Educational Technology] 110: Community Research Connections course. My co-teacher and I have been in conversations with our community partner, Project READ, since August. Our students will research assessment tools that reading tutors can use with their students, compile research portfolios and make recommendations to Project READ (PR) based on their findings. This is a need PR has had for some time, but they haven't had the time to do the research