By having search capabilities on Google Scholar and on library databases, research is not difficult at all. A little knowledge regarding how to find exact phrases using quotation marks or excluding certain words using a minus sign in a search box will result a plethora of peer-reviewed, scholarly articles on a specific topic quickly.
The real difficultly is citing them in APA format correctly. Thankfully, my brother shared the software Perrla with me. This, however, does NOT replace knowledge of what a particular citation or reference should look like. A quick reference to the Online Writing Lab can provide remind one of title case and sentence case, spacing, and font formatting. Online articles also require the use of a digital object identifier, or doi. It has been a while since I have had to use a lot of citations, so it was a helpful reminder to remember the time (and often, frustration) it takes to create and format references correctly. Our students will appreciate the time and support needed to do it right.
For my research activity, I searched for articles pertaining to problem-based learning. Although I implement problem-based learning in my math classroom, I did not know the history of the model. For example, problem-based learning was developed in the medical field. It was also interesting to see that in traditional testing and in simple knowledge recall, problem-based learning did not provide any advantage. In fact, some data suggests that students learn less knowledge using problem-based learning. However, the true advantage comes in higher levels of thinking, longer retention periods, and skill application. In most work environments, it’s more important to know how to solve a complex problem than simply recall a fact.
Educational technology is also an important tool to the problem-based classroom as well. Collaboration, research, communication, and presentation are some activities supported by technology.