‘An App a Day: Mark 2′ Online Forum – Day 4 – Research Toolbox

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Welcome to Day 4 of the ALIA Schools Online Forum An app a day: Mark 2.

Day 4: Research Toolbox

Today we are focusing on apps that can assist students with research tasks such as note taking, creating bibliographies, searching online, etc…

  • Please take some time to consider any research related apps that your school uses then reflect on how the app is used, what works well and perhaps what does not work well when using the app
  • You are then invited to comment here to share your experiences with other participants

Our moderator will check in throughout the day to approve comments.

We look forward to hearing from people across Australia and thank you for taking the time to participate and share your knowledge.

Image: CC Fickr by dougbelshaw

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10 thoughts on “‘An App a Day: Mark 2′ Online Forum – Day 4 – Research Toolbox

  1. ZenHat is a great app for research for teachers as well as students. It is from the Pledger people and the app is more visually appealing than the Weblinks database, though the content is the same. Very comprehensive and regularly updated. Citemaker is our bibliography creation tool and it works quite well, and we use it in Harvard as this is the style most commonly followed in Qld schools.
    It is still always a battle to get students (and often teachers) to use anything other than Google, so I am constantly working in classes to try to encourage use of online databases and more effective tools and methods of searching.

  2. I often find things which are advertised as research apps are gimics and more toys than useful research tools. The apps I like to have at hand include:

    -Evernote or Onenote – I’m a Onenote girl because this links in with OneDrive. This is great for taking notes but also for noting things down to check on later. I love the “to do” feature
    -Google of course – but also Google scholar . On Androids this is called Scholar Droid, on IPad this is available as Go Scholar ($6.49). Searching peer reviewed articles on your slate.
    -Nova Elements – the periodic table
    -Sparknotes – Not comprehensive but has all the classics
    -Endnote for bibliography

    and of course Podcasts.
    TED Ed and Khan Academy are two of my favourites. Listen to the weekly list or search for what you are interested in.

  3. I agree Noeleen, that guiding both teachers and students towards databases rather than just Google for research has it’s challenges. I have gone with creating Scoopit pages for a few of the junior subject areas (predominantly those dictated by national curriculum) so that students have at least a ‘first port of call’ before attempting a foray into the multitude of information they will be inundated when searching themselves. We adhere to APA style for referencing and whilst I can see improvements across the board in bibliographies, there is still work to be done with paraphrasing and in-text referencing. Not being an iPad school (yet!), most students simply stick with Word citation applications.

    • I like the idea of creating Scoopit pages for some of your research tasks, Andrea. Does your school have a corporate account? I’ve been using Scoopit for a while but recently they have limited the number of subjects you can have in a free account so I’ve had to make several accounts! I’ve heard that some people use Pinterest as another option but access to that is blocked in Education Queensland schools.

      • Yes, I am trialling a corporate account at the moment Kym – am yet to exhaust my number of subjects… We also use Pinterest as it is a Brisbane Catholic Education ‘subscription’ for which we have protected student access. They align with the national curriculum so I will be promoting this facility at school next year with the Year 7 and Year 8 social science classes.

  4. We are in the same boat as Andrea, not being a fully iPad integrated school yet and we also use the APA style of referencing. I am currently completing my Certificate IV in Library & Information Services and am constantly reminded of the necessity of proper referencing and citation and the importance of using varying databases for research. I am attempting to transfer this knowledge to students (and sometimes teachers!) and have created a list of useful websites and tools which I have posted around the computer area. Not having much experience with iPads in a school environment, I am soaking up the information provided here and compiling lists of apps in preparation.

  5. Same with me, we are not an iPad school. We have BYOD to the variety of apps we deal with daily is staggering. I haven’t tried out the Word citation tool but if its simple enough, I would encourage my students to use it. Teaching a new app that is not on every device is unproductive. We (try to!) use APA style and I agree, it’s tough to get students to use anything but Google. I have created pathfinders as aids but I like Andrea’s idea of using Scoopit (or Pinterest) as a more visual approach to this.

    As far as search tools go, I’ve been encouraging students to use other search engines, such as DuckDuckGo, so at least they experience use a different search engine. In the end it’s not much different to Google, except for a little less hardcore marketing. I find I have the most success for database use with the year 11-12s who have to research for independent study projects.

  6. In the primary school I love Zenhat (it is subtitled the Homework helper) and points children to specific websites suitable for use. Just need to be careful of the search term entered (a good learning tool in itself).
    I have also started using LiveBinder with younger students. You search for the suitable websites and then upload them to a LiveBinder. The children access the websites through the LiveBinder and it stops the Google searches as you specify what websites (can imbed YouTube videos, etc as well) the children will use.

  7. We used Word’s referencing, so easy and on the page that the students are writing on. As we have moved to iPads now the Library has promoted Easy Harvard referencing. We chose it as it gives you lots of options about what source you are referencing. Using a book? here are the boxes that you need to fill in. Using a website? here are the boxes that you need to fill in. We wrote to the apps developer to ask if he would put in something so that you could create a list of your references that you had used for a Science assignment separate to a list of references that you had used for a history assignment. He provided a subject option. Lesson learned if the app isn’t quite meeting your needs contact the creator, no harm in asking.

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