Sunday, November 4, 2007

Packaged Limitations

I have written before about media in our schools. The talk recently has been about the school library being a hub in today's schools... the library being the focal point of media, information and collaboration. I couldn't agree more! It puts a smile on my face when I see media specialists that actually get it. They do not let written text limit their overall goal in the library.

On the other hand, I don't necessarilly agree with limiting students to packaged online databases. These packaged databases have limitations and expected outcomes. The information that students find is within a box. We need to also think outside of this ordinary box.
Collaboration is the route we need to be taking. Students need to see that they do not have to only find information, but they can also add to it. Anyone can find information, but it takes a higher level of thinking to edit and add to this information stream.
Any thoughts and ideas about how we can do this would be greatly appreciated...


Cathy Nelson said...

Woody I too agree that our "packaged" databases limit the scope of information that is available about a topic. But I also believe we need to teach students the difference. My latest issue centered around the fact that I witnessed kids accepting anything they found with little or no regard to it being authoritative, biased, or simply wrong. Yes I think in the library I should be teaching strategies for research that includes using google. I have even suggested to our state library that more LMSs, teachers, and students would go to the virtual library of state funded databases first if it had a "google" look and feel. I plan to do a mini lesson with some classes showing how BROAD unlimited searches are in any search engine, and how using our tidy little boxed databases will save students a lot of time. But the important part of this lesson will be that even the creaters of search engines try to manipulate the casual searcher, and that we should truly take advantage of the advanced features of the available search engines to manipulate them right back. And this is true for tidy packaged databases as well as search engines. It's a love/hate torch I carry for Google, as I frequently go their first. But I am a trained user--my students are not. So as you see, I have my work cut out for me as a school teacher-librarian.

A. Woody DeLauder said...

I truly admire what you are doing with your students. I wish that more media specialists had the passion for using media how it should be used. I agree with you, and we should not jump the gun when teaching our students with web 2.0 tools. They first need to be taught how to us these tools to be effective.