I've just finished another round of student research papers and as laborious as the grading can be, the process of curating research is one of the most valuable lessons that I teach students heading into our modern world. For the rest of their lives at home and work, students will need to solve problems and reach conclusions based on the incredible expanse of information on the internet. They will need to be able to determine the credibility of sources, understand multiple perspectives, and use resources to form educated responses to their world. Academic research, including research papers can be one step along the path to digital proficiency. (For tips about research paper assignments, click here. For more about teaching students to determine source credibility,click here.)
One of the major drawbacks of my recent research projects is excessive paper usage. I have students collect a lot of research before they start writing and then we go through a process of source distillation. Traditionally, I have done this process in hard copy with highlights and annotations. All that waste, not to mention the lost and damaged sources along the way, has always made me uncomfortable. There was also the tedious process of double checking suspicious quotes and citations by sifting through huge stacks of paper.
Enter scrible. Scrible is an online tool specifically created to help people manage online research. It is free to teachers and students with special features designed for academic use. There are also plans and resources for non-student use, which makes this a tool that students can use long after they leave our class; I love that!
What scrible can do:
- Compile sources digitally to save paper and the agony of lost sources.
- Easily annotate digital sources so that students don't lose that valuable component.
- Create citations and bibliographies to emphasize academic integrity.
- Share libraries for collaboration or teacher review to ease grading support.
- Search sources for key words/phrases to help students track down forgotten information and help teachers look into any academic discrepancies.
I am very excited to try this out next year! I'd love to hear questions, comments, and suggestions for other research curator tools that you love with your students!