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New Teachers Online: How-To Articles: Use New Technology to Reinforce Instruction
Using the Internet for Student Research
Peggy Maslow

Only a few years ago, I would assign students to examine a question (an inquiry) by having them go to the library, find books, magazines, and newspapers and write a research paper that would answer the question. However, for the past two years, I have had my students use the Internet instead of the library to find information. 

For an example of a student research project go to 

http://teachnet-lab.org/fklane/pmaslow/night/takeaction.htm.

To see the research papers produced on web pages go to 

http://teachnet-lab.org/fklane/pmaslow/night/2002.htm.

While looking at the instruction web page note the elements in a research paper that students must include- evidence of an audience and purpose, notes using paraphrases and quotes, bibliography of sources,  and several drafts. These are all the same elements I required for past students when they used the library. What has changed is that now I supply them with links, a list of possible sources on the Internet where they can go for information. For the links for this research project go to

http://teachnet-lab.org/fklane/pmaslow/night/holocaustlinks.htm.

Another example of a student research project using the Internet and student work published on the Internet is

http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnetnyc/pmaslow/orwell.htm

Publishing student work is important because it provides students with a motivation to do drafts of their research paper and to improve it. As in years past, student work is published, but now it is in a different medium. In the past we printed magazines with student writing. Students read each other's work and their relatives and friends also read our magazines with students writing. Now, the student audience includes anyone with access to the Internet. My students created web pages to publish their research reports. These pages are posted together on a class web page that is then posted on the school web site.

Another major difference with using the Internet is that teachers will need to spend hours finding good links or sites on the Internet and creating a list for students. But once the list is created it can be used for years to come and it can be improved when the teacher and 
students find new links to add to the original list. Links do need to be checked every year to be sure they are still active.

Another way for students to do research is to structure the research paper into a web quest. For excellent examples and a template to try this yourself go to:

http://webquest.sdsu.edu/webquest.html

My next column will be on how to have students publish their work by designing their own web pages as well as how teachers can make their own web pages.

For more ideas on doing Internet research or for other resources try the TeachNet lesson site at 

http://teachersnetwork.org/TeachNet//

Two examples of lessons teaching how to Internet research are at

http://web.archive.org/web/20060825170108/http://seed.mainecenter.org/
application/index.cfm?loc=viewpacket&type=adapt&ID=323

and 

http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnetnyc/cposer/searching.htm.

Also, an excellent librarian's site is:

http://web.archive.org/web/20040913081748/
http://nuevaschool.org/~debbie/library/research/research.html

 

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