The long and winding road... a student's research process

It's getting to the end of our semester which means our research and writing classes are starting their final paper. Last semester I modified a previous review activity to incorporate video game strategies into information literacy. We are using the same activity this semester, with a few additions to avoid some past confusion. The activity uses the following video game strategies:

  • Encouraging inquiry
  • Open ended exploration
  • Context bridging from instruction to application
  • Scaffolding
  • Personalization
Over the next few days, 11 sections will go through the review activity and if the first two sessions today are any indication, they will provide a lot of insight into student's research process. Our first two classes had the disappointments of a group getting confused on newspaper articles articles compared to journal article and finding a source that broadened rather than narrowed their topic. But created good teachable moments for the class, and because of the structure of the activity the students helped to correct the errors as much as I did. The open ended freedom of the group activity created more student ownership over the end product.

I was pleased to see students consistently evaluating websites on some criteria. Considering we had not covered up until today, the students are more aware than even just 3 semesters ago when we started teaching web evaluation.

The wide open, "there is no right answer" approach is as much of an experiment as it is a review. Watching students use "+" commands in Google when we haven't covered that yet with the IL program, seeing students struggle to find a quality website because of their own rigid self imposed criteria, and finding students jumping to Google to find articles rather than library databases are all a great window into their search process. I'm eager to see if these patterns continue and if so how we can use that within our own instruction.

If you more information about the review activity and the results from last semester, please check out these posts:
I get knocked down
Gaming Strategies in Action
The Winding Road
The Hits Just Keep on Coming