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Capabilities for Living and Learning - Research Skills in the Age of Google

We live in an era where information is at the tip of our fingers in an instant. Whether you need to find an answer quickly, looking for information navigating the new features of your phone, or wanting to cook the perfect risotto, all it takes is a quick search in Google. You have a long list of potential sources of information. But what does this mean for the way that our learners research and find answers to their questions?


The skills needed for research are just as, or if not more so, important as they have always been. Not only do our learners need to understand how to use the features of online and hard copy sources to find information. The ability to ask relevant questions, seek information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, evaluate the authenticity and accuracy of what they read, hear and see, as well as use technology and media responsibly and respectfully, is also essential research skills. At Woodleigh, we believe that developing the skills needed to do all of these things are an integral part of learning.

While the approaches teachers use to support students will vary according to the age and needs of individual learners, some of the common ways teachers focus on the development of research skills are: 

  • Spending time observing the world around us, thinking about what we see, and how things work.
  • Recording observations and data in different ways depending on the type and purpose of information, e.g., labeled diagrams, tables, notes.
  • Formulating appropriate questions that can support inquiry.
  • Identifying keywords and paraphrasing or summarising important ideas in written and visual texts.
  • Using the features of different texts to help find information such as headings, glossary, and index.
  • Using an online search engine to find relevant information and identifying reliable sources.

This term, the Prep/Foundation and Year 1 students have been focusing on their observation skills to learn more about living things and the world around us. They have spent some time observing their outdoor environments and thinking about changes over time. The following photos show some of their observations.

JODIE KIRCHNER
Head of Learning – PYP