This first piece is looking at instructional models for teaching students skills for searching on the Internet. I have two treatment and one control group at each of three grade levels (6, 7 & 8). One group will receive instruction through a webquest-type instructional component (title of blog entry is linked to my blog that documents development and design aspects of this instructional unit). This group will be in a computer lab setting with two adults available to scaffold but no instruction will be delivered by the teachers. The second group will receive direct instruction in a regular classroom using one computer with a projector to model searching skills. The third group will be a control group and receive no instruction. Students will be randomly selected from each condition for assessment of searching skills.
The second component will look at the role of prior knowledge in students' abilities to search for information. Students in grades 6, 7 & 8 will be randomly selected to participate in a series of 3 search tasks. The first task will be centered on a topic in which students have high prior knowledge. The second search task will be a topic in which the students have little or no prior knowledge. The third task will be a student selected topic of high interest.
I have a couple survey instruments in the works as well. One is an Internet Usage Survey that will be administered to a sample of middle school students. The other is an attitude survey that will be administered to middle school teachers to uncover beliefs about teaching reading on the Internet.