Current Pedagogy to Teach Research

Within 20+ years of teaching 😱, pedagogy definitely evolves. A great content area to try new pedagogy to teach research skills.

Kiddos either love it or hate it. For those that hate it, adding in some novelty definitely makes it engaging.

It can be super tempting to teach research skills like the sage on the stage. To the entire class in the same way.

If the goal is to keep students engaged and teach them valuable research skills, then another approach is needed. Even the students who love researching will appreciate it!

There are a few teaching and learning approaches that allow an instructional shift while also providing opportunities for differentiation and student choice.

  • gamification
  • playlists
  • microlearning

What’s great, is that many of these can be used in conjunction with each other while teaching research skills.

Gamification for Research Skills

Gamification is the practice of creating a game like environment. It has the look and feel of a game board or video game. Students move through the game, level up, earn points, and move on as they acquire content and knowledge.

A couple of my favorite gamification tools are Symbaloo Learning Paths and Classcraft. Students enjoy using them. They make assessment and grading super simple.

  1. To gamify research, choose a gamification tool. Either of the free tools above will work.
  2. Determine the research skill to teach. Ex: citation, analyzing resources, website veracity, etc.
  3. Decide how to teach the skill. Ex: video, text, images, audio explanation, scavenger hunt, inquiry activity, etc. Give students differentiated choice by providing 2 or 3 of these as options.
  4. Choose how students will practice the skill. Ex: sorts, matching, compare / contrast, etc. Give students differentiated choice by providing 2 or 3 of these as options.
  5. Assess the skill. This could be a multiple choice, true / false, image, student example, etc. Give students differentiated choice by providing 2 or 3 of these as options.
  6. Repeat 3-6 as much as needed within the game.

Gamifying research instruction is similar to learning paths.

The difference is that the platform you choose will progress students as they acquire skills.

Students will earn points for acquiring skills. Often times, students also customize their avatars or other parts of their learning environment within the game.

Playlists for Research Skills

A Playlist is when you provide a list of resources and/or learning activities for students to use. You may know them as digital choice boards. They are also commonly used in Hyperdocs.

  • Citation: Learn why we cite sources. Choose one way to learn below. (Include a video, article, and/or image for students to learn.)
  • Veracity: Identify fake websites. Choose 3 of the linked websites. Explain if it fake or real. (Include links to 5 – 7 websites for students to analyze.)
  • Copyright: How well do you know copyright? Choose an activity to show what you know! (Provide a scavenger hunt, sorting game, or even a worksheet.)

One of the great things about Playlists is that they are perfect for differentiating and providing student choice! They can be made in a slide, document, or even a velcro choice board.

Microlearning to Teach Research

microlearning to teach elementary research

Microlearning example used in Google Classroom & Seesaw. Students then post their completed work in the learning management system.

Microlearning is a teaching and learning approach that businesses use to instruct their employees. It is a perfect concept for teaching and learning in schools.

Microlearning focuses on one specific skill. If is like a quick and/or short digital course. It is perfect for teaching discreet research skills. In other words, a digital mini-lesson.

This would be a skill that students can learn and practice within 15 minutes (approximately). For example, students learning how to cite sources with a citation tool is a great use of microlearning.

In a digital format, students will learn, practice, and be assessed on the skill. It can be in a playlist, gamified, or provided as a slide in your favorite learning management system.

The key to microlearning is keeping it simple.

Pulling Pedagogy Together

Regardless of which of the 3 teaching & learning approaches you use, consider making your own videos. Since the pandemic, teachers have gotten pretty good at making their videos.

Making instructional videos really hones our teaching skills. It creates a laser focus on the skill that needs to be taught.

It also provides opportunities to meet the needs of all students. Students can watch the video as often as needed. Which is great for students who need things repeated.

Take video creation to the next level by turning it into a 3 minute lesson. Three minute lessons bring microlearning to the classroom and create meaningful differentiated instructional materials for gamified learning and playlists.