Aaliyah: Try, Try Again!

The motivation RSA by Dan Pink was just what I needed this week.  I am working with Teach for America prospects this summer and we had run up against a few hard to reach students.  We watched the RSA in our faculty meeting and  I asked my staff to identify the students’ motivation for attending a summer school program in an attempt to increase their engagement.  This lead to a great conversation on Phillip C. Schlechty’s book  Students: The Next Level of Working on the Work (2011).  Schlechty identifies 10 qualities for creating engaging work: product focus, content and substance, organization and knowledge, clear and compelling standards, protection from adverse consequences, affiliation, affirmation, novelty and variety, choice, and authenticity.  Upon reflection, Schlechty’s list of 10 can be seen as the skills and strategies necessary for online collaborative inquiry.

This idea is supported by the research; the Artz (2012) and Castek, Zawilinski, McVerry, O’Byrne, & Leu (2011) articles use many of these same descriptors to elucidate the power of online collaborative inquiry.  Artz identifies blogs and a medium to empower students through an authentic, even global audience.  Additionally, the article references comments that offer affirmation and the use of multimodals to add novelty and choice. Castek, et al links choice and student engagement specifically in a population of students who struggling with traditional forms of  reading comprehension.  I also identify their reference to re-formulating searches to protection from adverse consequences as students can simply try again (Aaliyah reference).

In my classroom, students will need to be taught how to use the internet for inquiry.  Discussion of search engines, boolean operators and source evaluation is crucial to their success.  Just as kindergartens are taught how to use a pencil, I must start at the beginning with my students.  Regular formative assessments of their success in online collaborative inquiry will guide my scaffolding of the material to include looking for bias in sources and incorporation of creativity.  In summary, will rely on the “Try, Try Again” method to get it just right for my students.


One thought on “Aaliyah: Try, Try Again!

  1. Keely,
    I completely agree that these skills need to be taught prior to the actual activity. I know that I have made the mistake in the past figuring that the students knew how to use search engines like google, and then I was presented with a project stating that Hurricane Katrina hit the country of Iraq. After that presentation myself and my class went back to the very beginning and talked about how to input search terms and what constitutes a reliable source. These kinds of interactions and discussions are what I am looking forward to in the program.

    Great post!


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