Whilst being teaching year 7 history I mentioned to my supervising teacher how poorly my class coped with critical thinking even to the degree when asked to find their own research students moaned and groaned and pretty much flatly refused to co-operate. I passed comment to my supervising teacher (relief teacher for the day) that the students need a lesson on how to read a interrupted and asked if he could share a research tool called Instagrok.
Instagrok is a search engine for children that presents its content in the form of a concept map. A new phrase has been coined in the classroom. Instead of googling we are now groking. Students then choose which area they wish to explore further and click on the bubble. This will produce a summary of suitable resources for children to investigate further.
Another plus; at the top of the instagrok screen are two pictures a blackboard with ABC on it and a picture of an Einsteen man. Moving the slider between the two pictures will determine the academic levelling of information. For example if teaching year 1 to research the slider would be all the way near the blackboard, then search findings would bring up suitable resources for year 1 students to read and understand. At the other Einsteen end of the slider would be year 7-9 students who are looking for more complex understandings of research information.
Instagrok is the best tool for differentiation of research strategies when students are undertaking assessment. Try it for yourself. I’m hooked.