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New School Year & Joyce Valenza

September 20, 2006

Well, we are three weeks into school and things have slowed down somewhat so I can get a quick link off. I was reading my BlogLines and came across this great posting by Joyce Valenza (Web 2.0 Meets Information Fluency: Information Access) This post had me thinking so much about searching and how to search. She mentions in the post the idea that we need to teach students about searching and not settling for just “good enough” results. This is so true. Students aren’t willing dig for information. They figure that the first page or two on the Google results will get them what they need. Some of this I thinks is ignorance on how these search engines truly work. Plus, she talks about going beyond just the mainstream search engines. I loved her list of sites and am going to include many in my work blog. I think sometimes the fact that students immediately point to Google, or whatever they are comfortable with, is because that is all they know. As librarians, we can definitely spread the word about other search engines. Not only that, but we need to inform the teachers of other options. I think students are usually directed to search engines because that is the one the teacher mentioned or even the librarian. I know we have one particular librarian in our district that is in love with Ask.com. Don’t get me wrong, it is great, but there are others that may give them the information they want. Everything that I have read about literacy in the 21st Century indicates though that we need to teach our students that they need to be able to search among several options to get the exact information they need. Joyce says, “We can teach students to control their own information worlds.” And this is along those lines. Our students need to be able to find the information they need and fast. They may not have the time to sift through the million hits they get. Some of the search engines that are out there allow students to better manage the information overload that they are facing in their worlds. I really recommend reading Joyce’s post. It is a great resource.

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