A twenty-first century skill identified often in G21 plans I’ve been working on with teachers is one we’re calling “Research 2.0.” I wanted to take the time to specifically outline what this is.
First, it’s a recognition that we today have a variety of digital and non-digital resources available from sources that are both traditionally “viable” or “trustworthy” and those from other authorities. Specifically, today we’re talking about 1:1 communication with experts and friends, read/write sources (blogs, wikis), prosumer media sharing (YouTube), and “invisible” web sources (subscription databases). Never before have students had access to this amount of information, both in depth and breadth.
Second, it’s a model for searching, summarizing, and verifying content. Information found must be verified and cited. And as students approach research projects in high school, they ought to be verifying their sources by looking at who is publishing or owns the content they find online.
Third, it’s a technique for collecting information through copy-paste, summarizing, tagging, and citing digital content. This can be done electronically, or even better, using read/write tools. Keeping information students “mine” through research online can be aided through the use of a blog, a collaborative document, bookmarking sites such as Diigo, or within a course management system such as Moodle.
Lastly, Research 2.0 is focused on building infoseeking fluency. Through the practice of this system, students build their skills at choosing better keywords to begin searches. We believe to be successful in this day and beyond, not only is finding information important, but also what we make of it. This is why time management, problem-solving, and collaborative skills are important yet related twenty-first century skills.
Update: Thanks go out to my mom who read this blog post last night. She took me to task on my diagram, which I have now updated to reflect her criticism. Mrs. Hendron was a former librarian, with experience in research libraries and more recently in a public library. I redirected the now dotted lines in the diagram above to reflect an optional phase where students may re-formulate their search to include new keywords after their initial search.