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Using Social Media to Teach Students How to Create a Research Query and Find Effective Keywords
Kiersten Cox, Vicki Gregory
University of South Florida, United States of America
For at least a decade education pundits have touted the wonders of using social media for educational purposes. But so often the suggested uses seem like busy work or sidebars to instructions. In this workshop participants will learn how to integrate social media into information literacy instruction in a meaningful way.
The instructors for this workshop use this lesson to teach graduate and undergraduate students in a School of Information but these methods can be adapted to many instructional settings and age groups. Participants will need a laptop or tablet and a wifi connection to fully participate in this workshop. It will also be helpful if participants have a Google+ account. Participants will learn a method of teaching students how to formulate a research query by creating a word cloud using an online reference sources such as Wikipedia or a general source related to the subject. They will be taught how to identify keywords and how to turn those keywords into a research query. The use of thesauri will be explored. Then this work will be posted to a blog so that all participants can view and comment on the work. A wiki can also be used to share information. Participants will be taught how to use keywords to tag their blogs. Other social media such as Twitter links can be added to the blog to enhance communication. We will discuss how these activities are scaled for undergraduate and graduate students.
So how does using these tools help educate your students? The hardest part of research as reported by many students is finding an appropriate research topic or query. It has been our experience that teaching students this method of designing a research query and selecting keywords alleviates some of the anxiety students feel and improves their end results. The addition of subject headings increases students understanding of the topic and their ability to locate useful information. Also, being able to share their work with others in the course as well as the instructor allows everyone to benefit from the learning experiences of others and especially in an online class can help foster connections between classmates and with the instructor. As an added bonus student often have a great graphic in the form of a word cloud they can use to enhance their final product.