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Education Blog

Online Research: New Approaches to Teaching and Learning

Every summer, the Chicago Humanities Festival presents the Summer Institute for Teachers (SIT) as part of our year-round, professional-development offerings for teachers. In 2010, we designed the two-day Institute to address issues that many teachers had raised with our staff during our informal discussions at Classics in Context, Festival events, and SIT 2009; namely, how to address the thorny world of online research. So many of you told us that you were looking for guidance in teaching good online-researching skills to your students and that you were concerned about their inability to discern fact from fiction, serious reporting from satire, insight from quackery in the resources they encounter.

Out of our sessions in July, SIT facilitator (and DePaul University Library’s Coordinator for Reference Services) Paula Dempsey produced two study guides – one for students K – 8 and another for high school learners. Paula’s experience and insight from many years of working with college students (many of whom struggle with the very issues we set out to address in SIT 2010) supported an incisive and interactive exploration of the challenges teachers face and the misconceptions that many of us have about using the web for serious research. Her approach was collaborative and these guides represent not only her expertise but the crowd-sourced wisdom of the participating teachers. These teachers came from city and suburbs and taught in both public and private institutions. They represented the primary grades through college, and worked in an array of subject areas: English, Math, Visual Arts, Computers, History. We know only a handful of teachers (well, fifty) can attend SIT each summer and so we hope these guides will bring the collective insights unpacked during the program to a much wider audience, yourself included. Please let us know if they are useful to you. And check back in the spring to get information on SIT 2011.

Tags: SIT 2010, study guides, Internet research

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