Zotero is an amazing organizational tool to keep track of anyone’s research progress. This program does so many things to make your life easier, it makes me wonder how we did anything prior to the existence of technology and the World Wide Web.
One thing I discovered, and was warned about in advance, was to make sure to download Zotero with Firefox. I did not believe this at first as the Zotero download page assures that you can use a standalone version, however it is not nearly as user friendly with the Mozilla Firefox software. The programs run very smoothly together. And despite warnings from skeptics, Firefox has not appeared to slow down the functionality of my computer, yet. As new computers keep increasing their RAM and hard drive memory capacities, things seem to be getting easier to use successfully.
My first learning experience regarding Zotero involved its functionality. It will open in conjunction with any webpage you are investigating. Then when you find something that seems relevant to your research, you can just simply select the inserted Zotero icon to save the book, article or webpage information. You can also enter all information manually if the document does not automatically link with Zotero. Then as you build a library of information, which can become overwhelming extremely quick, you can sort and organize your collection of books, articles, journals, etc. into categories and subcategories. Where was Zotero when I was in college?!
Because I am a huge fan of organizational systems and being organized in general, the assignment to create my first bibliography using Zotero was really fun! Well, maybe it was fun once I figured out what all the buttons do within the Zotero program. As I struggle with my technological curse, there are always some things that slow me down. The following is the resulting bibliography I created when researching Educational Technology and Mathematics.
Bossé, M. (2003). When equalities are not equal: Missing mathematical precision in teaching, texts, and technology. College Mathematics Journal, 34(5), 383. doi:10.2307/3595822
Christensen, R. (2002). Instruments for assessing the impact of technology in education. Computers in the Schools, 18(2-3), 5–25. doi:10.1300/J025v18n02_02
Lowerison, G., Sclater, J., Schmid, R., & Abrami, P. (2006). Are we using technology for learning? Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 34(4), 401-425. doi:10.2190/ER58-3H7P-Y8FK-U8F7
Milner, H. (2006). The digital divide. Comparative Political Studies, 39(2), 176–199. doi:10.1177/0010414005282983
Schreyer-Bennethum, L. (2011). Evaluating the incorporation of technology and application projects in the higher education mathematics classroom. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 42(1), 53–63. doi:10.1080/0020739X.2010.510216
Zotero did most of the bibliography work in setting up the correct formatting when following the APA guidelines. There were several things to fix I need to remember for the future such as, Zotero did not capitalize correctly, it did not alphabetize the chosen results, and it did not provide the DOI information. The hardest thing to do here is find the DOI numbering system, but using a website such as CrossRef, http://www.crossref.org/guestquery/ , made it quick and easy to do.
Now I just have to figure out how to read all of these articles at the on-line Library. But I am very glad that the EdTech 501 course is teaching us all this technology, one step at a time.