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August 25, 2016

Recap: Norfolk PD Event/Revitalizing Research

Written by Deborah B. Ford

Love NorfolkI just got back from spending a morning with the media specialists in Norfolk, VA. Under the new direction of Valerie Ford, these media specialists had a very full day of professional development. I led off the morning with my keynote, Revitalizing Research in a Google-Driven World. If I could boil it down to a few pointers, this is what I would say.

If your kids are zeroing in on Google, you have two options: teach them to be better Googlers or lead them to different water. I suggest both. Kids (and adults) Google because it seems easier. One click and you have the answer. Well. Maybe. Remember businesses buy top-of-the-list space. And the reason it’s called research is because you must search and search again.

Tip one: Teach them to be better Googlers. One of their favorite aha moments was to investigate Search Education @ Google.  You’ll find lesson plans, tips for power searching, Google A Day Challenges, and even live trainings.

Tip two: Lead them to different water and make it easier to drink. Habits are hard to change, but little by little you can teach them to go to World Book or FactCite when they need to do research. Make sure you put urls in many places and be sure they know user names and passwords. Today’s libraries go beyond the bricks and mortar, so be sure they know how to use the public library’s resources as well.

Tip three: Change the culture. I told the story of the librarian who changed the locked-door culture of her high school library by putting a tray of big lotion bottles on her circulation counter. Kids came into the library because they could get lotion. Later the teachers came. Eventually there was collaboration, but it took time to change the culture.

I told another story of starting with one third grade teacher who came to the library for research. When her test scores went up, the rest of the her colleagues wanted to come to the library for collaborative projects as well.  For high school classes who have their own technology (and don’t need yours), use yours to Skype into their class or create tutorials for using databases and refining Google searches.

For elementary librarians who are still on a fixed schedule, I suggested back door teaching. Develop your library lessons based on what they are doing in their classroom. Even if you work on the same “lesson” for a month (at 10 minutes a shot), you are still embedding content and research. Start early and do it often!

Here’s a link to my handout for the keynote in case you missed it. Let me know how it goes. And if you weren’t there, tell us–what do you do to take your kids beyond Google?

After the keynote, the media specialists broke off into small groups for concurrent sessions. My second session was Using Technology in Your School Library Program. Tomorrow I’ll recap that workshop. Stay tuned!

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Deborah B. Ford

Deborah B. Ford

Deborah B. Ford, JLG’s Director of Library Outreach, is an award-winning library media specialist and international speaker with almost thirty years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools. Traveling across North America, she does workshops, library coaching, and professional development for school and public libraries. Deborah is the author of JLG's Booktalks to Go @ SLJ. She also maintains an award-winning coordinating online resource at LiveBinders.com. Contact her at dford@juniorlibraryguild.com. Follow her on Twitter @jlgdeborahford.

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