How Can I Help My Child Become a Better Researcher?

researchwordphotoJust about any time of the school year students seek good quality information to use with assignments and projects. Unfortunately, most kids head right to a computer or portable device and fire up Google, despite that teachers and librarians devote substantial classroom time and energy  introducing students to curated online research resources.

To help children use higher quality information sources, we adults need to learn a bit more about online databases and share that information. At home, as often as possible, we should reinforce school lessons or create our own, reminding our children that while results from Google provide a vast number of links, many are of questionable quality and others are irrelevant. Although making judgements and decisions about the links that appear in the typical Google search are useful skills to develop, the time to fine tune these abilities is not when a child is working on an important report or project.

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What in the World Is a Wiki?

This image was made with the wordfoto app.

This image was made with the Wordfoto app — a great way to create useable illustrations from a list of words..

wiki is an online document, viewed in a web browser, that allows a user or users to add, collect, and organize information on a topic. This site at the University of South Florida also features a good wiki explanation. Usually, but not always, people work collaboratively on a wiki, so it’s a terrific learning tool, and everyone in a group benefits from the knowledge and skills of everyone else. Wikis can be simple or extremely complex — beauty is less important than content. The word wiki comes from a Hawaiian word that means fast.

Recently I collaborated with a group of colleagues to make a DigiParenting wiki for our presentation at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). We set up this wiki up because our small group wanted a place where we could combine all of our resources and continue to do so on a regular basis — making our wiki a dynamic and ever-change location for materials that can help parents learn more about their digital-age children. Continue reading