The Brick Wall of Citation

2 03 2010

When putting together a large Teacher Resource File for a group presentation on teaching students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, I ran right smack into the positive power of a strong PLN.  Eagerly looking for resources, I sent a tweet out on Twitter asking for help finding effective instructional strategies for teaching students with ADHD.  Thanks to @courosa retweeting my message, within ten minutes I received over 50 replies including advice, links to blogs, websites and articles, and others who have ADHD speaking to me about their experiences in school and what has worked for them.  I was elated at this quick and helpful response, and felt immediately more connected to the online community I have recently become a part of.

I eagerly started exploring the forums, websites, conversations, blog posts, and general tips I had been exposed to.  I even decided to restructure the outline of my research based on the new information I was learning about.

That’s when I hit the brick wall.  Citation.

I realized with a twinge that my professor had asked specifically for me to use only (or mostly) scholarly journal articles for my section of the project on inclusive strategies.  This effectively rendered the forums, websites, personal conversations, blog posts and general tips I had been so elated about just a moment ago, ‘useless’, except as static three line citations in our annotated resource bibliography at the end of our project.  Of course that’s not to say they are useless to me.  They absolutely are valuable to me and I’m sure I will come back to what I learned many times.  What bothers me is that because what I learned did not come from a scholarly journal article from an approved journal database, I’m not allowed to claim that ‘I know it’, or even ‘they know it’,  for credit.  And as comments on a previous post of mine suggest, credit seems to be (or at least seems to have been) the essence of this University education I’m getting.

The ‘problem’ is that now I know that my education should be about more than just credit.  I even wonder whether or not it should be about credit at all.   I have done well in school by knowing how to cover assignment requirements, and cover them well.  I spent a few hours locating what full text journal articles I could find online that matched the topics I had learned about and wanted to discuss, and got the job done.  I have nothing against journal articles, I just don’t think they should be considered the only relevant way to learn about a topic in depth.

Oh gee… I can’t wait to hand in our over 30 page, extensively worked on, teacher resource file (‘for teachers’), so it can sit collecting dust and credit for me and my classmates.

On a more positive note: thanks to @courosa @wisekids @irasocol @hummingbird604 @silviastraka @petequily @ralphmercer @Eingang for your replies and help with my research!  You made my day!

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