Do your students have the digital skills they need to conduct academic research online? Kathleen Guinee (2004) reported that most students limit their activities to searching and visiting sites, and do not properly identify and analyze information to answer research questions.
Watch the SOAR Promotes Digital Literacy Video to hear some common teachers' experiences with digital literacy.
This professional development course provides 21st-century digital tools, strategies, and scaffolds to prepare teachers to help their students become master explorers and critical investigators when conducting Internet research for academic projects. The course begins with an introduction to the nine Strategies for Online Academic Research (SOAR), and then shows how to apply and integrate these strategies into the regular curriculum.
The nine strategies are an evidence-based, step-by-step approach to teach middle school students how to conduct effective online research. It takes teachers about 4-5 weeks to teach the nine strategies. Although teaching the strategies initially requires focused time, students learn critical skills that they can apply across subjects and in future careers.
The strategies are taught through a student instructional website called the Student Toolkit. The Student Toolkit includes “tools,” such as practice questions, videos, and a real-world assignment for each strategy. Embedded within the toolkit are features to support students with learning difficulties. These include segmented and carefully scaffolded instructions as well as quick videos with tips for using simple keyboard commands to manage and organize research.
After initial implementation of the Student Toolkit, teachers may return to the toolkit throughout the year to access learning resources, repeat key instruction and strategies, and model specific steps in the research process.
Study the illustration about how to navigate the Student Toolkit.
To prepare teachers to implement the strategies, this course consists of five online units, or “eModules,” which can be explored anytime with the left menu bar. You will be prompted at various times during the course to post comments on a special forum; also on this forum, you may share and receive instructional resources from other teachers.
Start the course now by watching the Interview with Mr. Thorsby, Part 1 Video. He successfully implemented the Student Toolkit to teach the strategies for online academic research. After watching, click on “eModule 1” in the left menu bar to continue.