Paige Jaeger, LibraryDoor, April 25, 2014– This morning I received a desperate plea from a super-librarian who has seen her program go down-the-tubes with the arrival of one-on-one devices incorrectly implemented in silo-classrooms. What a shame. As a district adopts a new “writing program” with built-in research tasks, old tasks get dropped in order to accommodate new instructional models that have been crafted to increase someone’s bottom line.
Ironically, this school with a flexible schedule to allow for innovative learning endeavors, is reverting to a model of one-size-fits-all learning tasks demoralizing a cutting edge model of flexible scheduling to accommodate curriculum needs.
If this sounds like your scenario, please wrap your head around a few poignant truths for advocacy. These three teacher-assessment questions below are a great starting ground to discuss at faculty meetings, principal appointments or in the lunchroom. Simple truths such as these may help to open research collaboration doors. These are merely three of many possibilities, but are effective one-liners to help secure and maintain your foothold in research–in spite of new writing programs, learning modules, or other packaged products that arrive in your building!
Inherent in transforming information is synthesis and a conclusion…. Transfer requires only reporting of data without deep understanding. Most commercially-sold writing programs do not understand this. If assignments don’t include an element of transforming information, they are low level thought and do NOT meet our state’s model of investigation nor the objectives of the Common Core.
We are living in an Age of Misinformation – not the information age. – Students need to learn how to access information as well as synthesize it to draw conclusions. This is college and career readiness. Not, finding information on Google or mere vetted websites and jotting those notes into a pro-forma document or virtual index cards….
At the New England Library Association conference where I help pre-conference PD a few weeks ago, I met many great librarians who also bemoaned this scenario. We jokingly said we’d come up with a 12-Step program for recovery. Well, we’ve done better than that! We’ve boiled it down to 5 simple steps, because we know that brain research says the brain can’t remember more than 4 at a time!
- Administer the Google litmus test
- Insert Essential Question at the beginning which will foster synthesis of those facts and conclusions
- Require credible library resources to be used
- Embed technology for engagement – somewhere
- Insure that students have an opportunity to “present” their knowledge
Now we really know that there is more to it than that, but these simple 5 will not scare them away from “Repackaging Research.”
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