I spent the weekend downtown at Educon 2.3. This is one of my favorite conferences. I love the power-shiftiness of this event. How conversations engage most anyone who wants to participate. How very smart educators connect across age level specialties and disciplines to discuss how we might work together to make schools better, to help learners learn.
The Future of Student Inquiry/Research involved two conversational strategies. First we discussed tools, skills, and dispositions our learners most need to conduct research today. The three of us shared our own ideas and resources and then we had small groups put their own best ideas in our virtual buckets. My new practicum student, Jenni, organized the response into a little video.
During the second part of the session we hosted a Sucks/Rocks/Not Sure: Research Edition debate. I first encountered one of these led by Dan Callahan, at edcamp Philly. (Dan tells me he encountered this format at Bar Camp.)
While I was a bit nervous, this part of our session quickly turned a little magical to me. We posted our signs Sucks and Rocks signs at opposite points in the large room and a Not Sure sign in the middle. (I am including the graphics Gwyneth created in case you want to try this at home.)
What was most fascinating to me was the opportunity to share and argue and laugh with so many of the other stakeholders in the research process. We heard from English and social studies teachers both passionate and lukewarm about such things as formal citation and term papers. We saw most of the room endorse Wikipedia for its links, coverage of popular culture, and as an opportunity for teacher media literacy.
We had wonderful conversations. We learned more about each other.
Please feel free to use these materials at your own conferences and/or inservices