Five Hundred Miles


 5. Monitoring Sites & Expanding Resources

Even if our students become skilled at setting up the flow of pertinent information thanks to push technologies, they will need to keep a continuing eye on the information landscape to keep up-to-date with regard to new sources which might develop.

How often will your students return to their best sites? Daily? Weekly?

That will depend upon the quality of the site and the nature of the subject. How frequently does fresh news appear? Is there an archive which protects students from missing particular issues on particular days? Is there a good search engine on the site to facilitate the location of pertinent news?

Frequency will also depend to some extent upon access and resources . . . just what is possible for each student. Do they have home access? public library access? after hours school access? You must these resources into account when negotiating a schedule.

Use your word processor to create a learning contract or schedule which you might duplicate and use with your students. It might contain elements like the one below . . . but be imaginative . . .



 Visit Frequency  

Expect your students to conference with you every 3-4 weeks throughout the year, discussing the results of their research and reporting on their monitoring efforts. Make sure they are expanding their list of sites to visit as the year progresses.

When working as a team, you can coach students toward deeper understandings by elevating the questioning process, by probing and looking for connections with previous findings, by challenging them to identify patterns, trends and relationships in the information they have gathered and stored.

  • "How does this latest development change the team's chances for the pennant?"
  • "If you were manager, what would you do now?"
  • "What would you predict about the next week or so?"

With time and due diligence, students gradually become experts in their subjects. They learn to appreciate the benefits of tracking something in great depth over time. Learning in depth is a lost art that you and your students can rediscover.

Please do not proceed to the next module until asked to do so.

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Credits: The drawings, photographs and graphics are by Jamie McKenzie.

© 2006, Jamie McKenzie, all rights reserved.
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