This is a collection of research methods that each class has undertaken to find out more about the locations they're writing/photographing/illustrating about.
The Gill-Villeans have been documenting about that over a series of blog posts, here is an except from their post discussing their "research day":
Day Two of our app development project can be deemed “research day”. Our day started out with an outing to the Cambridge Visitor’s Center. During our visit the staff spoke to us about important places and festivals in our city. We learned a little of the history of Cambridge and had a chance to ask a few questions. We all left with an incredible package of flyers, brochures, and magazines to look through. We also left with a copy of the Weather Networks feature “Discover Cambridge” that was filmed a few years ago. Back in Gill-Ville we had a back channel chat while watching the Discover Cambridge video. The Today’s Meet chat (linked below) was a spring board for further discussion afterward. This naturally seemed like the point to begin discussions around advertisements and audience. We began to look at the way places were described, the words used, the images presented, the lighting, weather and time of year, and all sorts of techniques used to persuade people to come visit our city. This will be useful when we begin writing about the places included in our own app.
You can check out our livescribe pencast recordings of this visit ...
... This is a copy of our Today’s Meet back channel chat that occurred during the viewing of the Discover Cambridge video ...
Despite the personal interview and media use, it was the hands-on exploration of maps, pamphlets, and other printed materials in our packages that created the biggest buzz in our room. Students searched through for places that they felt should be included in our app project. As students recorded locations on sticky notes we began to sort them into categories. Although in early stages and needing further consideration, this helped us think about the opening page of our app and what links we want to have there.
Student Research Packages
Beginning to Organize and Sort
Just two days into this project I am seeing such rich, meaningful and relevant opportunities for learning and a whole range of extension activities that I wish we had the time and funds left this year to explore further (especially after the discussions about Langdon Hall). Time restrictions may force us to simplify some of our ideas, however, the excitement is expanding and growing in Gill-Ville!