Thursday, 5 February 2009

Research: on foot or on-line?

Team member Anna getting even wetter next to 'The Ram'
Working with a whole team of people this week I was fortunate to take part in an important exercise of trying to get to know a little about another city, again new to me, in just an hour and a quarter. The leader of the project had put forward a 'quiz' of sorts that, in small teams, had to be researched and answers submitted...

The weather was dreadful, cold with snow and sleet falling....... however my teammate and I decided to 'play the game' and went on foot finding all the answers by talking to people, asking questions and looking! Other less hardy teams decided that the only way was to sit in a well known coffee shop chain and go online to find all the answers on-line... they only ventured outside to have their photograph taken (a condition of the quiz) against the well known sculpture (The Ram) above. Good old fashioned research versus on-line research..

The quality of their answers with so many more additional facts (paragraphs of!!) meant that they 'won' the quiz, ....but did they have as much fun as we did? The experience of researching 'in the field' was such a laugh, even if we were cold and wet. But was it the most effective way?

Did we use technology - yes - we took the photo above on my phone and emailed it back - mobile technology in action - the on-line researchers did not think of doing that - bizarre really!

The balance of actual and online research is important for students. On-line research is fab, but it is only one part of learning. The social interaction of real research is an important social skill as well!

If only the weather had been better....

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