Metacognition and Teaching about the Internet

I am in the middle of teaching the Grade 3/4 class about the Internet. We are learning how to select a site from Google search results. During class the teacher turns to me and whispers, “Wow, my Grade 5’s could really use these skills. We just finished doing research for TechnoCorrespondent and it was torture”. I smile. I know exactly what she is talking about. I had a similar experience when the Grade 8 students took four (and some students five) classes to complete research for TechnoEnvironment. The problem with using the Internet to conduct research is that it can waste tons of time if the students do not have strong search skills.

In my last blog entry I outlined Internet strategies to help your students select a site from search results. In this entry I want to emphasize the need for metacognition, or “knowing about knowing”. Metacognition is an important aspect of student learning. When students are aware of the strategies they use to make decisions it can help them learn material efficiently, retain information longer, transfer skills to new tasks, and complete work faster.

When teaching about the Internet, encourage your students to think about WHY they made the decision to select a site. In the project, TechnoJourney this is done using checklists. Students are given a fact to find on the Internet. Afterwards they answer questions about the search engine used, keywords selected, and reasons for selecting the item from the search results. The instructional goal is not to get the CORRECT ANSWER (although that is important) but instead to raise awareness of HOW STUDENTS FOUND THE ANSWER.

UPDATE: TechnoJourney was replaced with TechnoInternet. The activities are similar.

In today’s class, to make it easier for students to THINK about their decision making process, as a group we completed two questions from Assignment 3 in TechnoJourney together. During instruction, questions were posed about why students selected certain sites and the quality of the results they found. Afterwards, they completed the Session 1 Skill Review from the technology project. While students worked independently, I circulated the room to discuss with individual students the strategies used to find the information.

I know that the Internet lessons I am teaching the Grade 3/4 students as part of TechnoJourney are going to make the children able to efficiently research information online. In the years to come, their future teachers will appreciate the efforts that we are making today.

Teach About the Internet to Give your Students the Research Skills they Need

I want your students to be super searchers too! If you want to download the Session 1 Skill Review contact me and I will email it to you!

Other Articles about Teaching Internet Skills using TechnoJourney

Now the Students’ Turn: Reflecting on TechnoJourney
A Teacher Speaks Out: Yes, you should teach Internet skills!
Peer to Peer Teaching – Students Become the Teachers
Internet Tour Guide Activity
Use YouTube Videos in your Classroom
Students Love Google Maps
Review How to Sort Google Images with Your Students
Teaching Internet Skills – The Trust Test
Wikipedia in the Classroom
Bookmarking is a Basic Internet Skill that can be Complex
Metacognition and Teaching about the Internet
4 Strategies for Reviewing Internet Search Results
When Should Students Start Using the Internet?
Should you Teach Internet Skills?

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