Coursehero has just published a great infographic that highlights some tips on how to effectively take notes in the digital age. Not taking is a key skill in educational environments that can take years to master. Be sure to visit their website and check out the comments for some other great suggestions!
I love to use polls and polling software in my classroom to ensure that my students are understanding the content and material. There are a number of free (or tiered price) services out there to use!
Poll Everywhere - Poll Everywhere is one fo my favorite tools. I’ve written a few posts on it in the past (Poll Everywhere – a Free Alternative to Polling Hardware). What I love about Poll Everywhere is its flexibility. Students can text in an answer, go to a dedicated website, tweet, etc. It doesn’t require a smart phone or expensive hardware. I’m also a big fan of its moderated back channeling ability (a paid feature). The basic features of Poll Everywhere are free, with tiered pricing for K-12 and Higher Education.
Socrative - Socrative is another excellent quizzing and polling program created specifically for an educational environment. Socrative allows you to engage your students with polls, quizzes, games, etc. They even have a repository of questions. Socrative relies on the use of its iOS or web based apps to use. It is wholly and entirely free!
Polldaddy - Primarily integrated into WordPress, PollDaddy has begun to expand into mobile and live polling response methods. When you get your results, you can embed them, email them, and create enhanced display options. Poll Daddy will also allow you to export in a variety of methods.
ClassPager - Allows you to create polls, exit tickets, and provide personalized feedback in your classroom using SMS messaging. It will even allow you to export data and information to parents! There are multiple pricing plans and options.
Do we need another blog about social studies? I mean, there's got to be hundreds, maybe thousands of blogs that talk about social studies. And almost all of them are very good.
I'm a little biased, of course. I like this one. It's been around since January 2008 and so I'm kind of invested. But I do think there is room for another social studies blog - the more conversations we have about what we do and how we do it the better.
This post, written by Jen Carey, originally appeared on Edudemic.
Plagiarism, defined as the “wrongful appropriation” of another’s words or ideas, is a pervasive problem in schools. Many teachers and administrators believe that the internet has caused an explosion of academic dishonesty (a recent PEW survey of College Presidents would agree). While, most teachers and administrators are familiar with tools like turnitin that can catch plagiarism after the fact, there are some ways that educators can combat plagiarism before it starts!
In the new digital frontier, we need to hold digital literacy at the forefront when teaching students how to use and incorporate material into their work. Today’s students are used to rapid answers to questions via quick searches (again, verified by PEW in “How Teens Do Research”). While this is not necessarily bad, it does mean that as educators we need to change the way we approach research projects in the classroom so that we can teach students to not only do traditional research, but also to effectively use online media and content. By incorporating these strategies, we can start to combat plagiarism before it begins.
3 Strategies for Combating Plagiarism
1. Provide students with meaningful lessons and examples of “real world” plagiarism.
Students need to understand why proper citation and documentation is necessary not only in academic research but in “real life.” When you can show them examples from the real world, they understand this concept better as they make a personal connection to it. Here are some great modern, pop culture cases (there are many others) to help frame the discussion:
- Famed Black Eyed Peas frontman Wil.i.am was recently sued for plagiarism and copyright infringmenet on a single he released this spring.
- Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code, was sued for stealing the ideas of another author in writing his popular book turned blockbuster film.
- Popular CNN correspondent Fareed Zakaria was was suspended from Time and CNN following plagiarism accusations.
Not only do these examples highlight plagiarism, but they also spark interesting conversations about why people want credit for their products and ideas.
2. Make Research Assignments about the process rather than the end product.
As teachers, when we assign a research project, we often focus on the end product: the research essay, presentation, etc. However, students (especially young students) do not automatically know how to conduct meaningful research. Our modern students are used to Googling answers. They have grown accustomed to information being readily available. However, as academics, we know that research isn’t a fast process. It’s slow and deliberate. As a teacher, I need to intentionally slow my students down during this exercise. I do this by breaking down a larger project into more manageable chunks and focusing on the process. Here are some techniques that have worked for me:
- Give students small practice assignments where they must read, summarize, and properly cite material.
- Show students what proper citation should look like. Many rely on resources like EasyBib or Bibme to build a bibliography but do not understand what exactly is going into the finished product. Demonstrate to them what should be included in a citation and why. In other words, remove the “but EasyBib said this was right” excuse.
- Provide students several examples or case studies of material that they must distinguish as: properly summarized and cited, improperly cited, plagiarized, etc. Allow them to identify and explain the problems.
- During the research process, have students keep a research journal of the work they complete. Ask them to record their sources and write down any thoughts or questions that they brought up.
- Assign steps throughout the process: a detailed outline, a series of quotations with citations, a bibliography, a summary of their argument, etc.
By focusing on the process and breaking it down into smaller chunks, students will learn to slow down and be more deliberate in research, developing key critical analysis skills.
3. Require that they use online content!
Instead of banning Wikipedia, blogs, or other online content, encourage or even require that students incorporate these materials into their work. For better or worse, students will use material that they find online. Once students gain the analytical skills to assess the credibility of online sources, there is a treasure trove of information to be incorporated. Embrace the potential to teach students how to harness the internet to conduct powerful research.
- Teach students to search effectively. In his piece “Why kids can’t search,” Clive Thompson recognized that while, “High School and College Students may be ‘digital natives,’… they’re wretched at searching.” Students need to be taught how to use search engines to find legitimate sources and information.
- Teach students to evaluate online content of all media types (written, encyclopedic, podcasts, video, etc). There are many tools out there for teaching critical analysis of online content, Cal State Chico’s CRAAP test and Turnitin.com’s SEER rubric are both great places to start. You can even use some popular internet hoaxes like the Pacific Northwest tree octopus (Google it and see what you find!!)
- Don’t shy away from Wikipedia as a source. The majority of high school and college age students will reference Wikipedia in a research project. Even in academia, the attitude towards Wikipedia is changing. Treat it the same way you would a standard Encyclopedia – it’s a good starting point, but not the end of research. EdTechTeacher has a great Webinar “Wikipedia: Bane or Blessing?” that can guide you here.
- Focus on transliteracy – how should a student evaluate a Wikipedia article vs. a blog vs. a tweet? Do not hold them to one type of source.
Teaching students to do real, meaningful research not only combats plagiarism, it also makes them better students and critical thinkers. These are the 21st century skills that will serve them throughout life. It will also help to limit those conversations we have all had with a child that turns in work that is not their own. By teaching students how to effectively navigate content of all types, we are promoting academic integrity as well as necessary, real world skills.
To learn more about teaching digital literacy, EdTechTeacher is hosting a series of Summer workshops many of which will specifically address online research and education.
Edudemic, one of my favorite resources for educational technology, has posted a series of guides to help teachers navigate 21st century learning. The Teacher’s Guide to Technology & Learning includes topics like:
The Teacher’s Guide to Twitter - a walkthrough of how to use twitter inside and out of the classroom.
The Teacher’s Guide to Flipped Classrooms - a curated guide to the ins and outs of the flipped classroom model.
The Teacher’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use - I addressed this topic in a post, “Digital Literacy: Find Free and Legal Images to Use in your Classroom.”
as well many, many more (now and to be added in the future). This is a great, quick resource to get the basic concepts of new tools and concepts in your own classroom!
This is reblogged from my article at PLP Voices
The Internet has made a myriad of material readily available to a vast audience. Along with these seemingly infinite resources has come a lot of confusion about how images and other content published online should be legally recognized, protected or used. As educators, we often struggle in navigating that road.
I recently read an amusing but instructive article entitled “PSA: Don’t Let Salami and Google Images Get You In Hot Water.” It tells the story of an eleven-year-old boy who posted an image he found online of Salami on a class blog. Shortly thereafter, the school received a “Cease and desist” letter from the content creator threatening legal action. While the ridiculousness of the claim is amusing, it also highlights a rising concern for educators and students, as well as creators of content, about copyright and copyright infringement on the web. What can you use freely for education and what requires a fee? How do you cite material? What limitations might be placed on material that you can use?
In my classroom, we use a lot of image-based content. Most recently, my students are working on a Digital Storytelling project (you can see a highlight of the project in this article: “My First Attempt at Employing Digital Storytelling in the Classroom”). I work every year to teach my students about copyright and proper use of content. However, I know that it’s a learning experience for me as well.
One thing we have learned to look for is material with a Creative Commons License. Educating your students about the details of Creative Commons licensing is a prime example of incorporating Digital Literacy into an established classroom curriculum.
“A Creative Commons license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and even build upon a work that they have created. CC provides an author flexibility (for example, the author might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of their own work) and protects the people who use or redistribute an author’s work, so they don’t have to worry about copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the conditions the author has specified.” - Wikipedia
There are literally 10′s of millions of images on the Internet specifically covered by one of the six copyright licenses currently established under the Creative Commons protocols. You can read more details at the CC website, which notes that “Every license helps creators — we call them licensors if they use our tools — retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work — at least non-commercially.”
If you and your students rely on images covered by Creative Commons licenses — and learn and observe the license variations — you won’t be bothered with “cease and desist” emails over a sausage slice. And you can use several search tools to help you identify non-CC materials that are also free to use in your own work.
Finding Creative Commons & license-free material
This year, I have gathered (sometimes with the help of students) a number of ways to search for License-Free or Creative Commons Licensed content. Here are a few of the best:
CreativeCommons.org - Just what the site says, it focuses on purely Creative Commons Licensed products. You can use CreativeCommons.org to license your own material. You can use their website to search for material on a myriad of sites (on the homepage, look under Explore and click on “Find CC-licensed works”).
Google Advanced Image Search - Google’s Advanced Image Search allows users to search using a filter for various kinds of “free to use” licensed content.
Fotopedia - Great for humanities, Fotopedia has a repository of images from around the world. What makes it so amazing is that it is entirely user built. So those photos you took during that vacation to Rome years ago? Make sure that you upload those to the site and build their library!
YouTube Creative Commons - While searching YouTube videos specifically for creative commons content is best done via Google Advanced Search or CreativeCommons.org, it does merit mention here that YouTube has a strong video collection of Creative Commons content. Even more so, I greatly encourage that when you upload your own videos to YouTube, you check that “Creative Commons” License box!
Wikimedia Commons - Wikimedia is similar to Wikipedia except it is a database of Creative Commons and Open Source Licensed images, videos, and sounds. If you are a creator of content, this is a great place for you to show off your work!
Compfight – Compfight provides a myriad of images that are licensed for use on blogs and other publications and research (not for profit). They have been screened by humans and tagged in useful ways. Be sure to click on “Creative Commons” in the left margin so you just see the free licensed material. (A few rows of stock photos for sale appear at the top of your search.)
Pixabay – An amazing collection of public domain images free to use and share.
Edupic – A repository of images for educators and students to use free, designed by a teacher.
Pics4Learning – Another free-images site designed specifically for use by teachers and students.
Flickr - One of the most popular online tools for storing and sharing images, Flickr also expressly has a “Creative Commons” element (above) in their advanced search feature. Again, upload those vacation photos or drawings of your own and be sure to check that “Creative Commons” box to support education and creativity! (This page sorts Flickr CC images by type of license.)
Always give credit!
These sites are a great place for educators and students to get started. I’m sure that there are several other places to find Creative Commons or Open Source material. Please share in the Comments if you’re an educator and know of good places for classroom use.
And, even with Creative Commons, be sure to always cite the original piece! Even if you are allowed to use, distribute, and modify someone else’s work, you and your students should always give them credit. We all like credit.
Image credit: Matthias Mehidau, Creative Commons
This was a good year at my school. We finally got Google Chrome added on the machines in the library lab, so students would be able to start using Google Drive with their documents. YES. The best part is that students and faculty/staff can add extensions to the browser without any permission. All they need to do is go to the Chrome Store and click what they would like to add. I’ve tried out many myself and recommend the following…
The Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage at the University of Oklahoma has tackled the controversial and topic subject of the Second Amendment in a free iTunes U course. The description of the course:
“This course is a citizen’s guide to the Second Amendment. Recent tragedies have put gun control in the headlines, and the lines of political argument are sharply drawn. But what about the Constitutional dimension? The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution fundamentally shapes American gun control policy. In this course, a number of experts in history, constitutional law, and political science explore the Second Amendment from various angles. The viewers will learn about its history and purpose, about the ways that the Constitution is interpreted by different Supreme Court justices, and about the recent cases that define the current landscape of Second Amendment law. The aim is to provide the background knowledge necessary for informed citizenship on this issue.”
You can sign up for the iTunes U course and content here.