Team concludes Spencer-Funded Project with Professional Development Talk at Worthington Local Schools

A project from OSU’s Research Laboratory for Digital Learning Scaffolding Information Literacy Development in Science ended on a high note with the principal investigator, Dr. Vanessa Vongkulluksn, delivering a professional development (PD) session at Worthington City Schools’ Learning Leaders Academy.

During the 2018-2019 school year, Drs. Vongkulluksn and Xie along with several graduate student lab members conducted a research project examining how high school science teachers in technology-integrated classrooms scaffold students’ information literacy development. This projected was funded by a small research grant from the Spencer Foundation. The study featured observations and audio recordings of 18 science classrooms and 358 students, as well as survey data collection. In all, we observed 74 class periods, audio recorded 2,859 minutes of classroom interactions, and collected pre/post surveys from 321 students. While in the classroom, we also observed and engaged in student think-aloud interviews for 198 student-directed information search episodes.

Using insights from this rich dataset, Dr. Vongkulluksn developed an empirically-driven PD session for Worthington City Schools teachers, some of whom participated in the research study. Topics under discussion include cognitive behaviors students engage in when they conduct an online search on scientific topics, how students evaluate information from online sources, teachers’ scaffolding practices, and the potential relationship between student and teacher behaviors.

Worthington City Schools teachers welcomed an opportunity to gain additional insights into their students’ search behaviors, and to discuss strategies to help develop student competencies for this crucial twenty-first century skill.

One teacher commented during the PD session,

“Students are really good at typing things into Google and expecting that the magic Google will provide everything that they need. Then once they have found a source that somewhat matches what they wanted, they would check the box and [use] only that one source and move on to the next thing.”

After reviewing this and other related issues in students’ online search behaviors, teachers discussed different ways to effectively prompt students to actively synthesize and evaluate information from online sources.

The project team plans to disseminate the video recording of the PD session to all teachers who participated in the research project. The video recording can also be publicly accessed.