Effective Use of Videos in the School Library

Effective Use of Videos in the School Library - Videos can introduce complex information and procedures better than any other tool or strategy. Their most effective use is in short, 2-5 minute segments. Here are 5 short videos I've created to use with my students. Feel free to use them with yours! #NoSweatLibraryEveryone loves a good video. It captures students’ attention in a way no other teaching device does. Oh, we do many tech and non-tech hands-on activities with students, but video effectively introduces informational material better than anything else. I find students even prefer narrated slides presented as a video!

Let me clarify that I’ve used video with students for 25 years, from science laserdiscs with at-risk high school students to online streaming as a middle school librarian, but I don’t show a whole movie, TV episode, nor any video that runs more than ~15 minutes—even Bill Nye gets old after 15 minutes!

We can find effective, short videos available FREE of charge from several educational providers. For example, the U.S. Government offers free Online Safety videos on the FTC Consumer Information website. At times, however, the only way to use video to present a concept is by making one ourselves. I offer here a few videos I’ve created for student instruction using desktop and online applications. Feel free to use any of them for your own library instruction!

LIBRARY ORIENTATION VIDEOS

Library Orientation is the first library visit of the school year. Our lowest-grade-level students are new to the school and library, so we need to help them feel at home in this strange new environment. I have a short activity to familiarize them with the Fiction area, then show them a video I created on “How to choose a good book” to read. Students follow along with a small ¼-sheet checklist, which they then take with them to find their first Fiction book to check out. I created this as a narrated Microsoft PPT, then saved as a video.

It’s silly for students to hang on to a book for weeks without finishing it, so I address this at all grade level orientations (2nd visit for newbies, 1st visit for higher grades) using this video. I created “Use the 20-page Guide to Decide” on GoAnimate.

ACADEMIC HONESTY VIDEO

My Academic Honesty lesson uses short videos to great advantage. To meet National School Library Standards for conceptual understanding and CCSS for documentation (bibliographic information, citation, plagiarism), I teach 3 legal concepts—intellectual property, copyright, and fair use—with a flow of videos that imparts these complex concepts in a meaningful way, yet the total of all video time is only 14 minutes.

When teaching intellectual property I discuss bibliographic citation, and I find students (and many adults) are confused by the term “cite,” so the first video I ever created alleviates the confusion between 3 homophones. Here is my “Sight-Site-Cite” video, created with Windows PhotoStory.

AN EXAMPLE VIDEO BOOKTALK

We know it’s important to show students the kind of end product we expect when we assign a project. That’s particularly true for technology products they’ve not done before. To preview an upcoming ELA assignment, I created this “Video Booktalk Example” to show them how easy they are to make. I actually created two. Here’s the first I made by uploading photos to Adobe Spark and adding text and transitions:

Here’s the nearly identical one I created with Google Slides, uploading the photos, adding text, and downloading each slide as an image, then uploading all of them to Kizoa to create the video.

In a short time, videos can introduce procedures, explain complex concepts, or model examples to students. Try these 3 FREE videos (on YouTube & Vimeo) to give your library lessons a boost! | No Sweat LibraryIf you’ve watched these 5 videos, you can see how, in only 9½ minutes, the power of video can be very effective to introduce procedures, explain complex concepts, or model examples to students.

These embedded videos are all from YouTube. You can also find them on my Vimeo page! Better yet, download a FREE PDF linked list of all my media from the FREE Librarian Resources page.

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5 Essential Literacies for Students: Part 3 Information Literacy

5 Essential Literacies for Students: Part 3 Information Literacy - Our students need to be proficient in 5 Essential Literacies and School Librarians can integrate a Library Literacy component into any class visit. In Part 3 we look at Information Literacy Skills: problem-solving models, search & evaluation strategies, and academic honesty. #NoSweatLibraryIn our complex, information-rich, culturally diverse world, literacy is no longer just knowing how to read and write. Students need to understand and be proficient in these Five Essential Literacies to be successful in our global society:

  1. Reading and Writing (the original literacy)
  2. Content/Disciplinary Literacy (content & thinking specific to a discipline)
  3. Information Literacy (the library curriculum)
  4. Digital Literacy (how and when to use various technologies)
  5. Media Literacy (published works—encompasses all other literacies)

As School Librarians we need to integrate at least one Library Literacy component into every class visit to the library, so I’m addressing each of these literacies in a separate blog post to offer examples/suggestions about how we might do that. Previous blog posts covered Reading Literacy and Content/Disciplinary Literacy, so this post looks at Information Literacy.

DEFINING INFORMATION LITERACY

In its new National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) defines information literacy as “knowing when and why information is needed, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use, and communicate it in an ethical manner.” (p 277) We can embody this definition in our Library Lessons using these 3 Components for Information Literacy:

  • Research Process Models help students plan a project, determine sources of information and select materials, synthesize information, create a unique product, and reflect on product and process.
  • Search and Evaluation Skills help students find, access, and evaluate resources in a variety of formats.
  • Academic Honesty & Note-taking give students an understanding of, and respect for, intellectual property, copyright, and fair use when extracting & using information, creating work products and presenting results.

HOW TO INTEGRATE INFORMATION LITERACY

How School Librarians Can Overcome the Obstacles of Info-Lit Integration - Here's how one School Librarian overcomes the 3 obstacles to integrating information literacy with classroom activities: embedded curriculum, arbitrary library visits, and collaboration ignorance. #NoSweatLibraryWe School Librarians face several obstacles to teaching Information Literacy Components to our students:

  • The Information Literacy curriculum is often embedded into subject curricula, but not identified as taught by the School Librarian.
  • Class library visits are arbitrary and haphazard, making consistency and continuity of lessons difficult.
  • Teachers are ignorant about collaboration with a school librarian or have had negative experiences.

To overcome these obstacles, our Information Literacy lessons need to be short purposeful chunks that provide only what students need for the assignment. Such lessons encourage teachers to collaborate often so we can scaffold the necessary Info-Lit skills for each grade level through the school year. I’ve written previously about my Library Curriculum Matrix, an organization tool I use to plan & track my lessons, so let’s look at some specific strategies we can use for each Information Literacy component.

RESEARCH PROCESS MODELS

I’ve used many Research Process Models, and each has its benefits and flaws, but all can achieve our goal to develop a problem-solving mindset in students. Some models have more steps, some fewer, but all research process models have 4 basic phases:NoSweat Research Process Models Comparison Chart- image

  1. plan
  2. aggregate materials & information
  3. create a product
  4. evaluate outcome.

Download my FREE chart of research process models to choose a model most suited to grade level, subject, and assignment. To make the process clear and understandable, give students an infographic of the model. I use just 2 simple models for 6th graders and scaffold the planning process throughout the school year. During 7th & 8th grades I present more models, so before they leave our campus, students have learned how to use a variety of research processes.

Teachers rarely include planning as part of a research assignment—students have a single topic, gather the same information, and regurgitate the same product. We can change that by showing teachers quick planning strategies to incorporate into a library visit. Simple brainstorming with Post-It® Notes, a Thinking Map Circle©, or a KWL chart stimulates students to think in terms of problem-solving and are quick & easy ways to begin a project.

image of 6 Question Research Topic PlannerUse a graphic organizer to help students formulate questions for research. Questions also help students sift through resources for specific information, and because they require analysis and decision-making, they form that problem-solving mindset. Here are 4 graphic organizers I’ve used to generate questions:

The plan phase of a Research Process Model is followed by the aggregate materials & information phase, and we move seamlessly into that Info-Lit component when presenting resources students can use for their assignment.

SEARCH & EVALUATION SKILLS

We need to teach students 3 different elements of this Info-Lit component: source selection, search strategies, and resource evaluation.

Clipped KWHL chart for Alternative Energy Research unit.

Source selection may be proscribed by the teacher, the grade level, or the assignment. Based on the type of resources students need, we may offer a book-cart of library materials, an online Resource List of Web-based sources, or expand a KWL chart by adding How (as shown at right) to make a KWHL chart listing a variety of resources.

Convince students they will “save time and find better information” by using subscription databases and e-books provided by the state and school district. I use this 2½-minute video from Yavapai College: “What Are Databases and Why You Need Them.” If you really want to convince students, mention that they don’t have to evaluate these sources since they’ve already been approved!

My own Keyword Search Form with search modifiers.

Keyword search form

The most important lesson we can teach students about search strategies is how to generate keywords. For a quick lesson students can write keywords on a Post-It® Note (which can be used as an Exit Ticket!). When we use a graphic organizer—such as the KWHL above—have students highlight or underline important words in their questions. To help students master the basics, download my keyword search form and provide it at library computers to reinforce the importance of keywords.

Pre-HS students don’t need to know the term “Boolean operators, as long as they know how to use them. I include the search modifiers AND-OR-NOT on infographics, in graphic organizers, and as part of my keyword search form.

We can quickly teach students to sift top-level domain extensions when searching the free Web by typing site:gov, site:edu, or site:org into the search field of a search engine.

ABC: A Simple Acronym For Website Evaluation - Website evaluation is a topic with many checklists and acronyms. To keep things quick, easy, and memorable, use this simple 3-letter “ABC” acronym which is enough for evaluating the quality of any resource. #NoSweatLibraryThis is a perfect segue into resource evaluation, a topic with many Internet checklists and acronyms. To keep things quick, easy, and memorable, I use this simple 3-letter “ABC” acronym which I believe is enough for evaluating the quality of any resource:

  • Authority — Who is the source of the information?
  • Bias — Why is this published, for what purpose?
  • Currency — When was this information published or updated?

You may wonder why I don’t have all the criteria other evaluators use:

  • I don’t include validity/usefulness, because it’s implied when students select sources that answer the planning questions for their topic. If a source doesn’t provide answers to any questions, they don’t need to evaluate it; if it does, then they use ABC.
  • I don’t include reliability, because it’s part of Currency and Authority. If the site creator has the proper authority, then we can accept it as reliable.
  • I don’t include accuracy, because that can’t take place until the “create” phase, when students analyze and compare information after it’s been aggregated from sources. If the information isn’t accurate, the source isn’t used.

Part of the aggregate materials & information phase of a research process model is extracting information from chosen sources, and that’s when we discuss Academic Honesty Guidelines & Note-taking Skills with students.

ACADEMIC HONESTY & NOTE-TAKING

It’s important to give students an understanding of, and respect for, intellectual property & fair use so they legally access and ethically use information & media, and properly cite copyrighted text, images, music, and video to avoid plagiarism or piracy when producing their end product. For years I struggled through these lessons, but as soon as I began to use the phrase “academic honesty,” students became more positive toward these lessons—I believe it empowers students to meet high standards and builds their self-esteem.

A previous blog post about how I teach Academic Honesty includes examples and resources, but here’s a quick overview of the 3 conceptual elements of Academic Honesty, organized in the order that best complements the problem-solving mindset we’re trying to implant in students:

  1. The Academic Honesty Bundle at No Sweat Library on Teachers Pay TeachersIntellectual property – creations of the mind that belong to the originator or other designated owner.
    1. Citation
    2. Bibliography
  2. Copyright – legal rights given to owners of creative work so it can’t be used or stolen by others.
    1. Note-taking by quoting/paraphrasing, in-document citation
    2. Note-taking by summarizing
  3.  Fair Uselimited legal use of copyrighted material.
    1. Public domain – works whose intellectual property rights/copyrights are expired, given up, or excluded.
    2. Creative Commons
  4. Plagiarismpresenting someone else’s words, ideas, or creative expressions as one’s own. An ethical (not a legal) issue of academic dishonesty/fraud.

This conceptual separation of Academic Honesty can allow us to incorporate a short lesson on any concept throughout the school year.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Research process models, search and evaluation skills, and academic honesty complete the Library Information Literacy curriculum, but in our modern technological and global world students need more. Technology skills are crucial for future schooling and employment, and students also need to learn how to ethically interact with and evaluate all the media around us, so come back for Parts 4 & 5 of Essential Literacies as I offer ideas for incorporating digital literacy and media literacy into library visits.

This is the third entry in my series of blog posts on the 5 Essential Literacies for Students. I invite readers to offer comments and suggestions about any or all of these literacies.

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Research Process Models

You can find the Research Processes chart & keyword search form on my FREE Librarian Resources page.
 NoSweat Research Process Models Comparison Chart- image

My own Keyword Search Form with search modifiers.

Keyword search form

The 6-Question Research Topic Planner mentioned above can be downloaded free by joining my e-Group mailing list. Click on the invitation below. You can find the Notetaking Worksheet mentioned above at No Sweat Library, my TeachersPayTeachers store.
image of 6 Question Research Topic Planner NoSweat Research Notetaking Worksheet available on my TeachersPayTeachers Store
You can find my 4 Academic Honesty lessons featured in NoSweat Library, my TeachersPayTeachers store.

Join my mailing list to get a brief email about new posts on library lessons & management. You'll also gain access to my exclusive e-Group Library of FREE downloadable resources!