I know, I know, I should be writing about EduCon…

and I will, but this just got my attention this afternoon. We are starting to play with the idea of sending a team to BLC this summer, and in perusing Alan November’s website (I’ve got him on the brain lately), I found this quiz:

How much do you know about information literacy and online community building?

Take the following quiz to see if you are:

Somewhat Savvy (0-5 points)
Moderately Savvy (6-10 points)
Downright Nerdy (10+ points)

Give yourself 2 points for each correct answer.

Country Codes: The British have a different version of the lead-up to the American Revolution. What keywords and commands would you type into a search box to focus your search on academic organizations in the U.K. where there is content on the American Revolution?

Reliable Research: Someone in your family has been diagnosed with a serious disease. How would you design a search to avoid any commercial sites?

Owner of a website: Your own child or grandchild asks for your help in identifying who owns a website that is in the top of Google http://www.martinlutherking.org. (A white supremist organization owns the site.) What website can you use to identify the owner?

Incoming Feeds: As a high school junior with a keen interest in genetic engineering you want to subscribe to the latest research. What kind of account would you create to manage the inflow of genetic engineering research from around the world?

Social bookmarking: You manage a high performance work team (from 6th graders to top managers of a Fortune 500). You realize that the collective web research of individuals could greatly benefit the whole team. What account would you create to organize all of the bookmarks in one easily accessible site?

Blogosphere Research: Your business has some critics in the blogosphere and they are very effective at getting their message out. What search engine would you use to learn what they are saying?

Googilitis: You have noticed that your elementary/middle school/ high school student only looks at the top 5 results of Google. You also know that many Google listings are based on popularity of incoming links rather than any value of the content. What search engine can you teach your child to use that will generate results with academic content at the very top of the search results?How many of us would not be able to do this? How many of our students would not be able to do this? The latter worries me much more than former.

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5 thoughts on “I know, I know, I should be writing about EduCon…

  1. Hi
    I am looking forward to your posts on EduCon but in the meantime regarding the quiz. I have taken it or a variation of it numerous times. Here is the rub…without practice and application I forget this basic stuff.
    How do we create a culture that encourages constant use of this information and does not fall back into old habits. Many teachers on my staff have been to variious forms of Alan Novembers training but we are not using what we learn. If we do not use it …then how can we pass it on to the students?

  2. Patrick-

    Though not your quiz, this was one of your posts that REALLY got me thinking. I end out this memo to administrators in my district:

    Over the last year, I am continually thinking about technology and if, when, and where it fits into instruction. I find myself reflecting and reformulating this vision on a fairly frequent basis. My last refocus has us looking at the “Three C’s”: Technology in instruction to improve communication, collaboration, and a collective view of the world from a wider lens. I’m going to add a new piece here that we all use everyday, but chances are most, if not all of our teachers don’t do OR don’t know how to do: Searching and Information Literacy.

    Conclusion: More than ANYTHING, we, our students, and our teachers use technology (i.e. the internet) to search for and obtain information. If we don’t know how to fully utilize the tools that are currently available to their greatest potential, we are not serving our “clients” to the best potential.

    To this end, I’m looking for input from you in terms of where you think you personally stand in terms of your own informational/search literacy, where your staff stands, and where your students stand. If my suspicions are correct, this might need to be the next big push in professional development…or am I off base?

    Thanks for giving me more to think about!

    Barry

  3. Barbara,

    Thanks for weighing in. I have to say that you were missed this weekend at EduCon. There were several occasions where I thought of you and your initiatives over the last two years.

    True, my ability to pass this quiz, or to be considered a total nerd by Alan’s standards, depends on when the last time I brushed up on these skills is. However, considering the types of projects we ask of our students, having the ability to perform focused, almost surgical, searches is essential. That’s what these skills are really about.

    Creating this culture involves a lot of what you are doing already, and, forgive me if you are doing this already, creating a supportive environment for teachers to try and fail. One of the most talked about elements for me at EduCon was creating a climate of innovation and freedom from repercussion in the face of failure. That goes for both students and teachers alike.

  4. Barry,

    Glad I could help, and I should tell you that your post from yesterday, the survey results, was incredible. It is just what I needed to show to teachers to refute the whole “digital native” argument. And I think this quiz goes to that as well.

    From a personal standpoint, as I said above, I don’t think I would fair too poorly, but that would depend on how often I had been searching. The type of deep searches that the quiz asks us to do are not always the ones I am performing, but after looking at it more closely, they probably should be.

    I have spoken to my staff and students about “Searching Smarter” but even then I am only scratching the surface. The basic boolean searches are not enough. Carolyn Foote advocates for each student having a “toolkit” of search engines, strategies, databases that contains specific methods for specific subjects. Whether that is an iGoogle page of some part of a student or teacher’s PLN/PLE, I don’t know. But to answer your question more closely, if I were to give this to my staff, I don’t think they would fair too well.

    So, how we have our jumping off point, what next?

  5. At the risk of exposing my own weaknesses, I’d like to see the corresponding answers to these questions. I’m an IT professional and run a personal website with blog and I’m not even certain that I can effectively or fully answer this quiz.

    What’s worse yet, I’m fairly certain that I would fare better than 75% of my co-workers – also IT professionals! We all use search engines, but to me, this quiz is a glaring indicator of just how inefficiently we’re likely doing so.

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