Thursday, September 29, 2005

Webbing/Wiggling

As I've been working through the information I've found so far, I've noticed that it's difficult to stay focused on the questions at hand. I've been wandering off to look at bed and breakfasts and other accomodations and also spending quite a bit of time learning Italian phrases. Both of these things will be helpful and necessary before the trip, but they aren't really part of my inquiry project. I really should return the books on accomodations that I got from the library until a later time and not get distracted from the point here, which is the "travel with children" part. It's easy to see how students would get distracted and lost in all the information they have found at this stage. It's definitely happening to me. I think this is where I would introduce a reception scaffold like those mentioned at eduscapes [http://eduscapes.com/info/topic71d.htm]. I am going to try a concept map to see if it can help me stay on track. As Callison points out in Key Words, Concepts and Methods for Information Age Instruction, concept maps help the learner to "focus on those points and relationships that are most important." That's exactly what I need right now. :)

I've also been experiencing the recursion part of this process. Although I have located a large number of travel guides, only a few of them have any specific information about traveling with children or choosing/modifying activities to make the the trip more child-friendly. So, I have gone back to the search stage (webbing) to look for different sources. An internet search for family travel sites turned up a couple of good finds, including Travel for Kids [http://www.travelforkids.com/Funtodo/Italy/italy.htm] and Kids Europe [http://www.kidseurope.com/Resources.htm]. Among the recommendations found on these pages were some kid-specific travel guides that I am going to pick up. One that seems to be mentioned a lot is Italy with Kids, so I went to Amazon to look at it. Once there, I was led to other similar books. So now I have a list of new sources to look at, including:

--Italy with Kids
--Take Your Kids to Europe
--Fodor's Around Rome with Kids

This experience of re-focusing and re-searching has led me to believe that there is a lot of truth to and value in Jamie McKenzie's Research Cycle approach. As he says, "[B]ecause students are actively revising and rethinking their research questions and plans throughout the process, they are forced to cycle back repeatedly through the stages...so that the more skill they develop, the less linear the process." [http://questioning.org/rcycle.html]

Another idea that has emerged from my web searching is that there are many great kids books out there on Italian history and art. I am going to make a list of the books that I think will interest Liam and help get him ready for the trip. Especially interesting to me are the books that may help with the art angle, such as The Renaissance Art Book .

So, I'm going to continue my web-searching, check out the new travel guides, and work on a concept map. I'll check back soon. :)

3 Comments:

At 10:19 AM, Blogger Jennifer Perry said...

I forgot to mention that I emailed the Italian Government Tourist Board office in Chicago. (I found the address in Rick Steve's Italy 2002.) Here is what I asked:

Hi. I am planning a trip to Italy for the late spring/early summer of 2007. I will be traveling with my family, including my son who will be 12 years old. We will be visiting Rome, Florence and rural Tuscany, and Cinque Terre. Would you be able to send me some brochures or other information? I am specifically interested in maps and guides for those areas, interesting sites and activities for children, and agrotourism in the rural areas.

Here is the reply I received:

Hi Jennifer,
We will be happy to send you some information on the areas requested. Please see http://www.agriturismo.net/ for info on Argiturismo. For events in Rome see, www.romaturismo.com and www.regione.toscana.it for Florence. A site for the Cinque Terre is http://homepage.sunrise.ch/homepage/avong/cinque_terre/ Or see, www.regione.liguria.com Cinque Terra/Liguria information.

Sincerely,
The Italian Government Tourist Board

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Jennifer Perry said...

To flesh out my description of the search process, I will add a few details here that were perhaps mentioned too briefly in my posts.

Search tools

--Monroe County Public Library's online catalog
--Amazon.com
--Google search engine
--Yahoo! travel directory
--about.com travel directory
--Inspire database

Search terms and keywords

--Italy, Ital*
--children, child*, kids, kid*, family, famil*
--travel, travel*

Formats

--books
--websites

I have also identified two travel periodicals that may prove helpful. They are Travel Holiday and Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel However, due to the time constraints of this project, the wealth of information I have already found, and the low probability of the magazines addressing the specific question of traveling with children in Italy, I have not yet looked at them.

Other sources

--Italian Government Tourist Board (through email) which I think is equivalent to "ask-an-expert"

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger Jennifer Perry said...

I should probably address the kind of results I found with the different search tools.

I got the best results with Google. Simple searches such as "italy kids travel" worked the best. In fact that search alone turned up most of the websites I used.

I mostly used Amazon for links to books I found recommended on other sites.

I was disappointed with the information listed in both Yahoo and about.com's travel directories. There were too many ads and sponsored links trying to sell me something. Most of the information listed was posted by users and did not give the depth or authority I was looking for. I did find some good clipart photos on about.com.

I had hoped to find some periodical articles in the Inspire database, but I had no luck. I tried all of the search variations I listed in my other comment.

The Monroe County Public Library online catalog was fairly helpful. However, I do think that their subject headings need to be condensed and reorganized. I ended up going to a top level heading like "travel" or "italy" and then wending my way down through the tree structure so I didn't miss anything.

 

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