SEARCH

Search form

Research skills for the 21st Century

CSS MenuMaker
A cross-campus day of professional development allows best practice sharing
Andrew McCarthy
Head of Economics, UWCSEA Dover

Andrew joined UWCSEA in 2011 as a Digital Literacy Coach and held the post of Assistant Director of Learning Technologies from August 2014 to July 2019, when he stepped back into the classroom on Dover Campus as Head of High School Economics.

Andrew has Bachelor's degrees in Geography and Economics and postgraduate teaching qualifications from Victoria University of Wellington. He recently completed a Masters degree in Education from Monash University in Melbourne, focused on Leadership, Policy and Change.

Originally from New Zealand, Andrew has taught in both Wellington and Singapore in a variety of roles. He has been a Head of Department, Outdoor Education coordinator, and a leader of staff professional development. In recent years he has been an IB examiner for Economics, and a workshop leader in using technology to enhance learning and assessment.

Andrew teaches High School Economics and is a classroom practitioner at heart; he enjoys the outdoors, running and adventures back home in New Zealand. His wife Rachel also teaches in Singapore and they have three boys, the eldest of whom started K1 at UWCSEA in 2015.

Research skills for the 21st Century

A cross-campus day of professional development allows best practice sharing

When we begin a simple internet search to find flights for a holiday, accommodation options or places to visit, we use our intuition to sort through the good and bad, to dig deeper or to find opinions on social networks. As educators at UWCSEA, we hope to make the search skills of information literacy explicit to our students and embedded in our curriculum. As described in the UWCSEA Profile (pg. 4 and 5, UWCSEA magazine Dunia, June 2012), we want students to use information critically to solve problems and take action. Over time, we want our students to utilise authentic, peer-reviewed material to support their lifelong learning, and to leverage technology where it is most effective in the research process.

To support this thinking, part of a recent staff professional learning day looked at the topic of research as a cross-subject skill. This was the first cross-campus session for many staff, and was a great opportunity to share best practice. The sessions were planned by their peers, including the Teacher Librarians and the Digital Literacy Coaches, and led participating staff through a set of activities in small groups.

The staff initially looked at search skills and more advanced ways to use Google to filter search results and to be more precise by using search operators. The session then went beyond Google, to explore the concept of the Deep Web, and highlighted databases that UWCSEA currently subscribes to and that are available through our website portal. We also touched on what is freely available from the Singapore National Libraries eResources section. This session provided staff with an overview of the information landscape and a chance to reflect on what is appropriate and useful in their grade or subject.

The day introduced a spectrum of applications that help students aggregate their research, from Google Docs in the Primary School to options such as Diigo and Zotero, which are more suitable to older students. These advanced tools help students develop bibliographies and in-text citations.

The ongoing task for teachers and the curriculum articulation team, is to look at where, how and when we teach these skills to students. We wish to have a clear progression of information literacy from the Primary School into Middle and then onto the High School. Our graduates will hopefully leave UWCSEA with a literacy skill that supports them as life long learners who will use information critically to solve real world problems.

During the day we also re-launched several research portals that support our students. Our main libraries site contains an overview of all physical and digital resources that students can access. This is available from our website portal or http://research.uwcsea.edu.sg. From this site there are links to our two Research Hubs for Primary and Secondary students. These are two important resources for students, and are being developed and introduced as part of the digital literacy programme at the College. These hubs are a valuable tool for our students, with many applications. For example, earlier this year Grade 11 students were introduced to the Secondary hub as part of their preparation for the Extended Essay. These sites summaries the research process and are home to lessons ideas, quizzes and quick tutorials. Feel free to explore these resources with your child.

Andrew McCarthy
Digital Literacy Coach
Dover Campus

14 Sep 2013
Media and Republish
Subscribe to our monthly
UWCSEA Points of View
newsletter

*By subscribing, you agree
to our privacy policy.

Articles by the same author

Related articles