|Cowboy by me|
Here's how it went in my class.
Currently KQED has seven resources under the gun violence topic. I started off by dividing students into seven groups and had them examine one of the resources. Individual students first wrote a summary of their article's main points. Next they shared their summaries with their group members. In the end the group was responsible for one summary that best represents the ideas of the group and then presented to the rest of the class. Here's an example summary from one of the groups in my class.
To make doing these activities more manageable, I've always appreciated objective educational resources that have been assembled by experts, for example EBSCO Host Connection gun control resources and ProCon's concealed gun fact sheet. These are packaged to make researching more efficient for students and teachers, but I've also begun to realize that the act of searching for articles and discussing the merits of sources is an integral part of learning how to thrive in a knowledge economy. That's why I'm doing more collaborative research projects in my classes now on sites like Diigo, Delicious, and Gooru. One project that gets at what I'm moving toward is this shared Gooru collection that has been added to by Paul Allison's students in New York City and my students in Utah.
I've found that the most effective groups consist of informed individuals. Once we go through the process of collaboration and curation, we're much better able to articulate a stance on complex issues.