Is it possible to have writer’s block if you have too many answers? Maybe I have procrastiblock, both procrastination and writer’s block. I have been working on this post for three weeks. Is my “best” solution going to be your best solution? Actually, procrastiblock fits in nicely with this month’s issues. If a teacher is comfortable with the way things are going, why change and use technology? If a teacher is uncomfortable with technology, why start now with learning new stuff?
After reading Chat With Deb and eBooks by deb_norton and Social Research in the Web 2.0 classroom by smersand , I have decided (finally) to write a progression getting the technophobe, procrastinator and blockee (?) from the simple ways of researching using paper and pen to using the digital tool Padlet. While we progress through the different stages, please keep in mind you can branch off or stop at any point. Also, if you want differentiated instruction, place your students all along the progression.
My decision is to show you how to start and use Padlet. Why Padlet? It is available on all devices, easy to learn, no email needed, supports all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy and supports collaborative work. Are there other options? Yes, but I don’t want that writer’s block to return. If you insist, look at this blog post. Why Padlet after reading these two postings? Well, Shannon mentioned it to use for brainstorming and note taking. Chat With Deb was talking about writing stories, so how does Padlet fit it? It does, please read on.
Research: finding information on a topic, writing it down for proper citation, rewriting it in your own words, and then reorganizing it into a new presentation. Multiple steps, multiple obstacles. With the digital world upon us, using copy/paste is a simple and easy way to move information. Of course it is the student’s responsibility to reword it and properly cite the information.
If you like the paper and pen idea, you can start with typing the notes into a word document. Things you can do with that are:
Start each piece of information with a one or two letter code. This will be used when using “sort” to place it in its general location within the paper. When all of the research is finished, highlight the document and “sort” it. Now your notes are organized. You can fine tune with a “highlight-click/drag” method.
Use the “Insert Comment” feature to revise your rough draft, or follow along with “Track Changes” or “Revision History” to see how the paper develops.
Of course, you can always use the “Outline” feature in a word document and copy/paste the information into the appropriate sections.
These are minor changes from how many students already use technology.
If you love PowerPoint, here are some things you can do:
Like Word, PowerPoint has an outline feature.
Use one slide for every piece of research, and then use the “Slide Sorter” option to rearrange the slides into a proper sequence. This is a digital version of using file cards and spreading them out on a table. Expanding on this thought, copy/paste the original and citation material into both the slide and the “notes” section. Reword the information on the slide, and then rearrange the slides. Students can print out the Note pages to show the teacher the process from original to rewording.
Graphic Organizers help the visual learners.
Here is a link to all of my bookmarks dealing with graphic organizers. Many of them provide a location for the URL as well as some notes. The notes section can be used to copy/paste the original wording. Tags can be used to give a general location as to where the information fits into the final product.
Padlet is a special kind of graphic organizer. The easiest way to describe it is that it is a blank wall where you can place sticky notes containing any type of digital material. No email is required to sign in.
Padlet is very versatile and can be used in the entire process of researching and writing. Rather than reinvent the wheel, or really try to explain better than what others have already done, please take a look at the following links to learn more about Padlet.
How would you use Padlet? Would you use any of these other options? What different options would you include? Would you progress the technophobe procrastiblock through this progression or would you change it. I can’t wait to hear other thoughts on this research issue.