Friday, May 29, 2015

Final Project - IDE

Argh!  I was almost done with this post and then #$*&#^%@....so here I am again.

To recap, I am going into critical thinking classes to address new, or nearly new, students of all ages and backgrounds about information source type and the issue of authority.  Some of the faculty who teach this course are on board with me coming to class, but not all.   I have been doing a periodical activity in this class the past few quarters, but don't feel like it's enough or really getting the point across.

I want students to come away from the class understanding that the correct source depends on their information need.  I am trying to tie the frame "Authority is Contextual" into this session.  Too often students see authority as some obscure academic journal only.

1. It has been apparent to me that faculty must be involved with this process.  They are the only way to get information to students before and after a one-shot session.  With their help, I can have students watch a short video on source types before the class session. Also, I can work with instructors to get topics before the class.
2. Since the students will have watched the video, when I come in they will already have some knowledge about what we will do.  I will then pass around cards with the topics to groups of students.
3. In the past I have brought periodicals in to the classes, but it would be better for students in those groups to go choose a periodical from the library's collection that they feel would best answer the topic on their card.
4. Once the students have chosen, each group will be given a chance to explain why they chose that topic.  This is a time for discussion about why each might be more or less useful.
5. At this point I will do my usual demo, concentrating on the limiting options.
6. Assessment will be a short written statement on whether they would choose a different periodical given their new knowledge. 

I had considered bringing more tech into the class, but decided not to.  I don't believe it is as necessary in this class, though I plan to experiment with tablets as well, as they might be another tool.

I feel much more confident in structuring a class now.  The readings were all good, and even though I have not read all the supplementary materials, I plan to.  Learning styles and the critical pedagogy readings were the most interesting to me.  I had earlier thought I would focus on Behaviorism, but as the class progressed in my mind, it seemed that Constructivism would make more sense.  You can train a student to push the right buttons, but it becomes more meaningful if they understand the underlying reason WHY.

Doug Worsham mentioned the digital research notebooks that his students create and sparked an idea for me.  I am going to be examining the idea of generating a research portfolio to accompany the portfolios our students create.  Not for the critical thinking class, but perhaps as an adjunct to it.

Finally, I found the critical pedagogy readings to be particularly interesting.  The students I work with often seem willing to relinquish their own expertise to some academic "ideal". This comes from a place of insecurity and inexperience and inequality.  Helping them discover that any voice might be the authoritative voice is exactly what I want to do with this one-shot class.

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