The issues of the teacher librarians and para-professionals in California School Libraries. Please share your concerns, feedback and questions.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Research about Student Information Seeking Behaviors; Implications for Searching Databases

Research about Student Information Seeking Behaviors; Implications for Searching Databases

by Dr. Lesley Farmer and  Kelli Van Velkinburgh

            This article is the first column provided by the CSLA Research Committee to help teacher librarians to know about current research that can help them as reflective practitioners to improve their library programs. Each month will focus on a specific topic of need. Next month’s column will target health literacy. If you have topics that you would like researched, please contact Dr. Lesley Farmer (Lesley.Farmer@csulb.edu) or Kelli Van Velkinburgh (kelli_vanvelkinburgh@cjusd.net).

            Librarians strongly encourage learners to use online subscription database aggregators (e.g., EBSCO, ProQuest, Gale) when looking for information. The reasons? Because the articles and other sources have been vetted by professionals, resources are indexed for more efficient retrieval, and several products are developmentally appropriate and also support typical K12 curriculum.
            Such databases mitigate students’ lack of expertise in evaluating the quality and appropriateness of information sources. Nevertheless, students need explicit instruction in search strategies. Furthermore, they need to see the advantages of using databases for their information tasks.
            The following research studies provide current insights in students’ information seeking behavior, and provide strategies for teaching effective search techniques, which can be applied to using online subscription database aggregators.

Mentzer, N., & Fosmire, M. J. (2015). Quantifying the information habits of high school students engaged in engineering design. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 5(2), 22-34. http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1108&context=jpeer
Students seldom evaluate the quality of online resources. They tend to rely on commercial and persuasive websites rather than informative or technical ones. Students do not search for broad categories of relevant information. Students are more likely to use search engines than use databases.

Hughes, H. (2013). International students using online information resources to learn: Complex experience and learning needs. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 37(1), 126-146. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/55064/1/InternationalStudentsExperiences-4May2011-FINAL.pdf
International students’ information behaviors reflect eight interrelated elements: students’ personal characteristics; the information-learning environment; interactions with online resources; students’ information literacy level; help-seeking habits; affective aspects; reflective responses; and cultural-linguistic dimensions. In using online resources, international students displayed developed information skills and less-developed critical information use.

Kim, S. U. (2015). Enablers and inhibitors to English language learners' research process in a high school setting. School Library Research, 18. http://www.ala.org.csulb.idm.oclc.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/vol18/SLR_EnablersandInhibitors_V18.pdf
The researcher tracked high school ELL students’ research processes, and found that by the end of their efforts, students had difficulty finding specific information, evaluating information, and summarizing it. In the middle of their efforts, they felt more competent; they did not have the big picture at that point. Students sometimes searched in their first language, especially if they did not know the English vocabulary, but they did not include the resulting resources in their final product. Students wished for guidance from someone who knew the assignment and the topic, and who could help them find background information, topical vocabulary, and specific information. They also wanted more time to research, and sample products.  Teaching ELL students how to seek and use information helps them learning English and the subject matter.  These students should also be supported in their practice of searching first in their first language, and their resources should be considered for their final project.

Yeh, Y., Hsu, Y., Chuang, F., & Hwang, F. (2014). Middle-school students' online information problem solving behaviors on the information retrieval interface. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 30(2), 245-260. https://ajet.org.au/index.php/AJET/article/view/478/940
Student self-monitoring and metacognition practices facilitate searching strategies. Otherwise, students can feel overwhelmed by the amount of online information, or settle for general information, or not organize the found information. Boolean use is not so important now because of search engine features, but the key words need to be relevant and specific enough to get good hits.

Knox, C. H., Anderson-Inman, L., Terrazas-Arellanes, F., Walden, E. D., & Hildreth, B. (2015). The SOAR Strategies for Online Academic Research: Helping Middle School Students. Handbook of Research on Technology Tools for Real-World Skill Development, 68-103.
Students need instruction and practice in constructing research questions, searching effectively, assessing resource credibility, and connecting resources. Middle school students need step-by-step strategies, which lead them to see themselves as efficient learners. Teachers also need to tell students that reading online differs from print reading; the former is more goal-oriented and focused on the specific task context. Online articles tend to be shorter; web features can be distracting.   The University of Oregon Center for Advanced Technology in Education created SOAR Toolkit (http://ssoar.uoregon.edu/) to help middle schools search for and use online information.
Strategy 1: use digital notebook to brainstorm questions and keywords.
Strategy 2: refine search terms based on results (get better match).
Strategy 3: examine URL for authors and institutions, domains, relevance.
Reading and recording information: reflect on understanding and ask self questions; record notes, create reference list, combine notes into an outline.

O'Sullivan, M. K., & Dallas, K. B. (2017). A collaborative approach to implementing 21st century skills in a high school senior research class. Education Libraries, 33(1), 3-9.
The authors outline search strategy steps: select a topic (give them time), concept map, formulate a research question, distinguish between keywords and subject headings, develop a search strategy, write the research paper, assess the process and product.

Cook, D. B., & Klipfel, K. M. (2015). How do our students learn? An outline of a cognitive psychological model for information literacy instruction. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 55(1), 34-41. https://journals.ala.org/index.php/rusq/article/view/5797/7301
     Researchers suggested five principles for structuring information literacy instruction: create a problem context, limit the amount of content, build a narrative, focus on deep structure, and practice deep structure through active learning. It is not necessary to dwell on learning styles in such instruction, but rather find commonalities among student learning approaches.

Bell, S. S. (2015). Librarian's guide to online searching: Cultivating database skills for research and instruction. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. http://pcc-lib.pbworks.com/f/Bell10.pdf
This guides gives practical strategies for asking good questions and choosing a database.

So what are the take-aways from these research studies? Most important is the need for explicit instruction in how to develop a search strategy based on identifying the information task, formulating good research questions, brainstorming keywords and concepts, and getting background information (and associated specialized vocabulary). Guidance in locating relevant information should focus on specific, relevant databases and other vetted sources. Students need to understand and use criteria for evaluating resources, and should be encouraged to compare resources about the same topics. Students should also be taught metacognitive skills such as self-reflection, asking themselves questions about the sources as they examine them, and monitoring their efforts and results. 

SR4 Event: Orange County Book Festival

Each year on the first Sunday in October, the Orange County Book Festival is held at the Orange Coast College campus.  Section 4 (Orange County) Librarians met up to enjoy food and fabulous book-themed entertainment. 

This year’s headline event was Actor/Comedian Shawn Wayans who appeared on the Mainstage and took photos with fans afterwards.  

Children at the Illustrator’s stage learned how to draw a monster with A. J. Cosmo, author and illustrator of The Monster That Ate My Socks.

Both Scholastic Book Fairs and Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company sold books at a discount.  It was a good opportunity to compare both vendors for planning your next book fair.  

You can look for news on next year’s event by following Orange County Children’s Book Festival on Facebook or checking out their website.  The Festival is free to the public and even includes free parking!
Cathy Short and Heather Gruenthal with Clifford at the Scholastic Book Fair Booth

Written by:
Heather Gruenthal
Southern Region President Elect
Teacher Librarian, LBUSD
Lindsey Middle School and Stanford Middle School
Twitter @hgruenthal

Friday, October 6, 2017

Here are the last 6 workshops for the CSLA Conference in Yosemite that are super relevant. Now you can view all 18 workshops. I challenge you to find ONLY one that you want to attend.  NOTE: #17 is new.

13: The Best of the Best Young Adult Books (7-12) A repeat of the 10:00 AM session by Michael Cart
14: The Instructional Leadership Role of the Teacher Librarian (K-12) Melanie Lewis, Fresno Pacific, Program Director of Teacher Librarian Services. Explore how teacher librarians are expected to serve as instructional leaders in K-12 schools. Learn how teacher librarians serve the school’s administration, faculty, and staff by supporting the school’s mission, managing the instructional program, and promoting a positive school learning climate – primarily through the provision of professional learning.
15: Digging for Gold: Evaluating Official Sources (K-12)
Tasha Bergson-Michelson, Teacher Librarian, Debbie Abilock, Consultant, Noodletools, Inc., & Connie Williams, Retired Teacher Librarian. Using government information as a base for discovery, participants investigate how to question a source to determine its intent, purpose, creator, and other elements that teach source literacy. Reflect on antique prejudices and vintage perspectives on the wonderful world of government documents. Mine many Agency websites to uncover the educational gems-and pyrite-within.
16: Connected Student Driven Inquiry: Coaching Inquiry (K-12) Mary Ann Harlan and Shelly Buchanan, SJSU Professors. Participants will be introduced to Connected Learning Frameworks and the principles of Student Driven Inquiry. Be prepared to develop an inquiry framework for their school community that incorporates student choice of 1) topic, 2) product and 3) timeline. Focus will be on coaching students through developing inquiry projects, information communities, and plans for creating an information product. Presenters will coach participants through this process, suggest strategies, and connect elements of the inquiry process to a variety of standards.
17: MAKE Your SPACE! Design Learning Experiences that Support Curriculum and a Maker Mindset (K-8)
Rene Hohls, Learning Resource Specialist/Library Services, Ventura County Office of Education
Are you a “maker” or want to learn how to bring a maker mindset into your library? Looking for ways to let students develop problem solving skills and connect real-world problems with hands-on learning? This workshop will provide participants with ideas and hands-on experiences useful in any Makerspace to  engage and motivate ALL students while expanding problem-solving & critical thinking skills school-wide. Learn some logistics for creating a Makerspace and ways to support curriculum and CA State Standards, including NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), integrated ELA/ELD and History/Social Science Standards.
18: Help! and Where to Get It, a Library Survival Guide (K-12) Heather Gruenthal, Teacher Librarian, Middle School.
Working in a library can be overwhelming, especially if you are working alone or split between multiple sites. Get organized and stop feeling like you spend every day performing triage or putting out the fire that is in front of you. Take advantage of the great brain of library professionals and build your Personal Learning Network. Unlock a treasure trove of lesson plans, best practices and procedures. Harness the power of the internet to build your own library survival guide using tools such as Symbaloo, Wikispaces, Livebinders, Twitter, Blogger, Pinterest and more.