Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thing #16 Assignment Calculator and Research project Calculator

I wish some of these online tools had existed a million years ago when I was in school. I really like the fact that every step is laid out so clearly. I think that because the Research project caluculator is laid out in 4 steps and the Assignment Calculator is in 12 steps, that the high school students we see would probably choose the former (even though they both cover the same material). I am curious to know whether teachers at our local schools know about these sites and recommend them. I haven't heard students talk about them.

The biggest problem I see is that nearly all the time when we get a student looking for materials in our library, the assignment is due within a day or two (or- worst case scenario - it was due last week...). Obviously, what I think seems like a great idea is not going to work if there is no time to do the assignment. I had a college student in last week looking for materials for an 8 page research paper due the next day and he was wandering around trying to think of a topic to do it on. Obviously, the assignment calculator wasn't going to work for him. These are great ideas for classroom teachers and school media specialists, but I'm not sure how many students would look in the public library for this type of help. I suppose we could print out some of the handouts and have them available for students if they seem to be open to this idea. I don't like to sound so negative, but often we have parents coming in to get materials for their child because he or she "just doesn't have time". If they don't have time to do their own research, I get the feeling that an assignment calculator may not be something they are particularly interested in.

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