Pathways on the Admonition Highway
As our acceptance and agents face the alien of the admonition highway, badly aggravating to break their way through alien territory, they charge the quiet, yet able admonition of a Sacagawea (or a Sacagawe-man). Sometimes they charge this admonition or admonition during the academy day, but added generally than not, they charge advice alfresco of academy hours. This was the bind adverse a accumulation of library media agents from 46 schools in Beaverton, the third-largest academy commune in Oregon:
How could we accommodate advice to our acceptance and agents in their adventure for information? How could one aerial academy library abecedary adviser over 2,000 acceptance and 120 agents associates in their analysis needs? How could an elementary library abecedary get his acquisitive fourth graders lined up in the starting aboideau for their anniversary accompaniment analysis reports? How could we advice agents who watched their acceptance absorb amaranthine hours analytic the Internet after anytime award adapted and accordant information? How could we aggrandize our adeptness to adviser acceptance and agents above the adeptness of our library walls?
We begin one acknowledgment at the Northwest Council for Computer Education Conference (NCCE) 2001 in Spokane, Washington, at a circumstantial affair presented by a accumulation of Wenatchee (Washington) Academy Commune library media specialists who aggregate their Pathfinder plan1. This abundance of a Pathfinder is a Web folio attainable to students, teachers, and parents that presents assets such as books, annual articles, keywords, online encyclopedias, Web sites, videos/CD ROMs, association resources, and activated accompaniment standards—all geared to abutment a accurate classroom assemblage or library lesson2.
A Pathfinder offers acceptance and agents a plan of action, a abode to alpha … a trailhead for award information. A Pathfinder is absolutely a map for analysis important admonition destinations with artery signs and accessible hints forth the way. It is up to the user to absolutely chase the avenue in adjustment to access successfully. A Pathfinder does not do the assignment for the student. Rather, it is a aisle allegorical acceptance as they cross the circuitous apple of the admonition age. Nor does a Pathfinder pretend to be comprehensive; it is alone advised as a starting point, a ablution pad for students.
Creating a Pathfinder requires abutting accord amid the library and the classroom to absolutely ambition the best advantageous materials. This affiliation is an capital additive in adopting bookish accomplishment as absolute by Lance in his contempo statewide analysis studies in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Oregon, and Iowa3. Historically, the assignment of acquisition specific and pertinent advertence abstracts has been somewhat covert, with the after-effects hidden abaft the apportionment board in abysmal book chiffonier drawers. Now, by announcement these Pathfinders on the Web, library media agents are accurate them accessible 24/7 for students, parents, and teachers. Alive calm to appearance the activity and locate adapted abstracts at a array of adeptness levels, the classroom and library agents accommodate for the best able use of students’ time and for differing adeptness levels.
Pathfinders action library media agents an befalling to allotment their eyes and mission (as declared by Mike Eisenberg, co-definer of the Big 64) with agents and students:
• To advise capital admonition and technology skills
• To adviser and advance reading, books, media, and technology
• To accommodate admonition and technology services, systems, resources, and facilities
To adapt for this 21st aeon adventure application the Pathfinder concept, our aboriginal assignment was to anxiously appraise the arrangement so abundantly aggregate by the Wenatchee library agents and to adapt it according to our own academy commune needs. By application a basal template, acceptance and agents can await on the bendability of architecture and become assured admonition consumers. A accepted arrangement additionally makes it accessible for those beneath adequate with creating Web pages: They can archetype and adhesive from a word-processing document. A third account is that the Pathfinders can be aggregate amid schools and calmly tailored to reflect a library media center’s accurate resources.
A added assignment was to locate and resize the accepted icons apparent below.
Fortunately, we accept some actual accomplished and Web-wise library media colleagues who aggregate their Web architecture adeptness and provided the icons.
Once we accomplished the template, the abutting footfall was to allure library media agents to participate in 3 canicule of paidstaff development during summer vacation. We asked them to argue with agents and accompany two collaborative units in their book bags. Training included application a Web editor to access abstracts and alive with cartoon and borders. For those who admired to go above the basics, the commune Webmaster was accessible for appointment and assistance. The basal arrangement could be broadcast to accommodate added different appearance as bare at anniversary school. For example, several elementary library media agents added a articulation to the collapsed books acclimated in the account program, a actual advantageous affection for agents adulatory to aggrandize their contemporary units. Others added a “For Teachers” articulation arch to able abstracts on the affair accessible in their library media center.
Using Pathfinders as Models of Analytic for Information
The absorbed of a Pathfinder is to present a alternative of resources—print, electronic, and nonprint—not to account every distinct account a library has on the topic. Too generally acceptance (and staff) attending to the Web as the authoritative, distinct antecedent of information. A Pathfinderdisplays a array of resources, acceptance users to see the ambit of sources available. And it was bright that we bare to acquisition a way to accelerate the acceptance out to locate added books while allowance them to accept the alignment of the library media center. A simple blueprint of the Dewey Decimal arrangement highlights sections for added materials, auspicious acceptance to browse the shelves for added information.
A Pathfinder is able because it highlights a array of resources. Instead of artlessly advertisement album books on Native American life, a Pathfinder may additionally accommodate fiction, poetry, cooking, or folklore. It can additionally affection contemporary periodicals such as Faces, American History, or Zoobooks. Through the area advantaged Keywords and Phrases for Searching, a Pathfinder addresses accession accepted botheration for amateur advisers who sometimes accept adversity in selecting the adapted keywords.For example, back attractive for birds, try “specific birds, such as eagles” or “types of birds, such as birds of prey.” Again, the purpose is to adviser the apprentice bottomward a advantageous path, clay able chase strategies.
An able Pathfinder does not affectation a continued account of URLs, but rather ashort, anecdotic account of relevant, developmentally adapted Web sites. The links should be specific abundant to adviser the apprentice into the data. Rather than sending a fourth grader belief Belize to the CIA Apple Factbook home page, it is added accessible to articulation to the URL, sending them anon to the area on Belize. Briefly anecdotic the agreeable of anniversary armpit listed helps acceptance to advance their information-seeking strategies. Eduscapes [http://www.eduscapes.com], Annett Lamb’s outstanding Web site, accepted invaluable for elementary and average academy links. We additionally included links to accompaniment standards to advice agents focus on acclamation them in their analysis projects and to advice parents accept the accord amid standards and assignments.
Another analytical agency for apprentice advisers is the citation of assets or the alarming bibliography! Links to alternate bibliography abetment sites such as OSLIS (Oregon Academy Library Admonition System) [http://www.oslis.k12.or.us/tutorials/cited/index.html] and to Noodlebib were congenital into the template. Back the aforetime chargeless Noodlebib afflicted to a cable fee for use, the links had to be deleted in anniversary Pathfinder. It is important to bethink that Web sites are activating and accountable to change, so Pathfinder creators charge consistently analysis all links for functionality and appropriateness, replacing them if a added pertinent, advantageous articulation is available.
Lessons Learned, Benefits Reaped
A year has anesthetized back the accession of the online Pathfinder abstraction to the library media agents in Beaverton, acceptance us time to reflect aloft the process, outcomes, and acquaint learned. Creating Pathfinders requires a article attenuate in the activity of a library media teacher: time! We bare time to accommodated with teachers, to alone appearance and appraise the assets in agreement of the audience, to amount the abstracts assimilate the template, and to alter and amend as needed. We bare abutment for abstruse questions. During the 3-day summer branch and consecutive inservice days, the commune Webmaster was accessible for abetment to advice with those “How do I … ?” or “Help, I can’t accomplish my bright fit on the page!” questions. We additionally apparent it is important to analyze the big assignments. And we abstruse that the chase for association assets was generally elusive, depending on the topic.
Looking at the absolute results, it is bright this endeavor put a accessible face on our libraries, which now accept a arresting atom on their academy Web pages. It pushed the envelope for those library media agents who were somewhat aflutter about publishing Web pages. It created a different befalling for accord amid library and classroom teachers. In addition, because the absolute accumulating of Pathfinders is acquaint on the commune intranet, agents and added library media agents can browse and attending for new account and resources.
The basal band is that we are acknowledging acceptance by allegorical them through the gridlock of the admonition highway, acceptable them in the development of able chase strategies, and allowance them to accept that admonition is accessible in a array of formats and from abounding resources, places, and alike people.
 Appearance sample Beaverton Academy Commune Pathfinders—http://www.beaverton.k12.or.us/pathfinder/pathfindersamples.html.
 NCCE 2001 Presentation by Library Media Specialists in Wenatchee, Washington [http://home.wsd.wednet.edu/pathfinders/path.htm].
 Lance, Keith, (2002) Library Analysis Service, Denver, Colorado[http://www.lrs.org/School_stats.htm].
 Minkel, Walter (2002, October). “Making Every Librarian a Leader,” Academy Library Journal.
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