McHENRY, IL - April 30, 1997 - Demonstration Site Coordinators of the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC) for Mathematics and Science Education gathered on March 7 to explore strategies for teaching electronic searching skills. The one-day workshop, a variation of Follett Software Company's "Teaching Information Skills in an Electronic Learning Environment," revolved around the Pathways to Knowledge: Follett's Information Skills Model. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois hosted the workshop in its Lederman Science Education Center.
The ENC Demonstration Site Coordinators meet only twice each year: once for a planning session, and once for a learning session. Susan Dahl, Demonstration Site Coordinator at Fermilab (an ENC Demonstration Site), suggested the Follett workshop for this year's learning session. "I wanted all of the Coordinators to see the power behind Follett's Pathways Model. It's a true representation of the scientific process," said Dahl. "As Demonstration Site Coordinators, we teach teachers. And as education has taken on an inquiry-based nature, educators need appropriate support tools. The Pathways Model promotes and supports inquiry at all levels of research." Demonstration Site Coordinators advance professional development by working with math and science teachers at all levels of schooling.
Dr. Marjorie Pappas, co-developer of the Model and Associate Professor of School Library Media Studies at the University of Northern Iowa, presented the workshop to 20 ENC Demonstration Site Coordinators from around the country. She acquainted them with the differences between information skills for searching electronic versus print resources, and explored dynamic electronic features such as hypertext and hierarchical and analytical searching, which encourage information-seekers to connect topics. The group also discussed non-linear search strategies to improve their effectiveness in teaching learners to gather, evaluate, and apply meaningful information. And they examined search engines from a number of electronic resources, ultimately learning methods to teach Information Literacy skills.
Pappas developed the Pathways Model with Ann Tepe, Director of Curriculum Resource Development at Follett Software. Their primary goal was to provide individuals seeking knowledge with an information gathering process and multiple information-gathering possibilities to apply when conducting searches. The Model espouses a non-linear approach to information seeking and recognizes that the emergence of electronic information requires changes in the search strategies typically used with print resources. And it is cross-curricular, fostering an authentic approach to learning as it promotes the development of higher-order thinking.
"New information sources are emerging quickly and from diverse sources. Educators must be capable of teaching their students to find, decipher, evaluate and synthesize this information," said Dahl. "Navigating the Internet to gather useful information via search engines or using the growing selection of multimedia tools such as CD-ROMs present new challenges to teaching and learning. This workshop gave us a tremendous amount of useful information and new skills that we can take directly to those we work with. The model includes practical, easy-to-use tools for managing teaching and learning in today's dynamic electronic environment."
Follett Software offers an entire series of materials that assist educators in teaching information skills using the Pathways Model. During the workshop, the group explored three of the Model's Resource Guides which contain thematic teaching units - units educators can take directly to their students. "These 'real' examples of using the Model further increased our understanding and capabilities with electronic resources," noted Dahl.
The U.S. Department of Education supports the ENC for Mathematics and Science Education, which is headquartered at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The ENC has regional Demonstration Sites throughout the country, such as Fermilab, with a Coordinator at each location. The Demonstration Sites offer educators a central source of science-related materials and information. For additional information visit ENC's web site at www.enc.org or Fermilab's Education web site at www-ed.fnal.gov.
About Follett Software Company
Since 1985, Follett Software Company has provided school, public and special libraries with leading-edge library automation, Internet and curriculum resource software and services. Its Circulation Plus software, with more than 29,000 installations worldwide, is the number one selling library automation system in the K-12 marketplace. Follett Software Company is a division of Follett Corporation, and is headquartered in McHenry, IL. The company was recently ranked among the top ten largest software companies in Chicago. For additional information, call (800) 323-3397 or go to www.fsc.follett.com.