As 21st century learners, our students need a modern framework for research. Our IDEAS approach guides students through asking good questions, finding credible information, and producing new knowledge.

In this first stage of the IDEAS, questioning is encouraged. As students explore a topic, they brainstorm key words and phrases, connect prior knowledge to new questions, and make predictions. When students have the opportunity to create their own questions, they are engaged in the process as they seek information.

As students develop their thinking, they identify possible resources and begin the process of finding information and taking organized notes. As they gain new knowledge and reflect upon their learning, questions will likely be refined. Audience and purpose are typically finalized in this stage.

Accessing information is easy. Evaluating information takes practice. One of the goals of the IDEAS approach is to provide students with opportunities to think critically about the information they consume, so we scaffold students through evaluating resources. When students are able to thoughtfully critique information, they are poised to become producers of new knowledge.

When enough credible information has been collected, it is time to apply new knowledge to new contexts. Students synthesize the information they have gathered, draw conclusions about their research, articulate their findings, develop an outline, and cite their sources.

In this last stage of IDEAS, students determine the best method for sharing their learning, taking the audience and purpose into consideration. This may be an essay, but it may also be a website or an app. Having an authentic audience for research and feedback increases student engagement.

Holly Frilot, Supervisor
Library Media Education


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