Recently a live webcast I frequently tune in to (called Teachers Teaching Teachers Wednesdays at 9:00) focused on databases used in the schools, and their primary focus was state funded databases. [UPDATE August 11, 2007: Podcast NOW available here.] Our state funded database is called DISCUS, and I really do not know what I would do for database subscriptions if we did not have it. The focus of the conversations, both in the chat and in the skype calls focused on how our students and yes, even us, often first turn to Google for our information need, and the concern that this source is not necessarily a good source at all. The potential is so great for misinformation! If you are from South Carolina and you haven’t been in a while, you probably should check it the redesigned DISCUS site. It has a whole new look and feel. DISCUS is one of the only ways public schools in South Carolina can provide database subscriptions to their students and teachers. Generally a subscription to one of these databases would cost upwards of $1000, and many schools don’t even net that amount for one school year to buy books, let alone subscribe to databases. Be sure the next time you have an opportunity, thank our legislators who continue to support funding so that it is a free resource in our schools.
The discussion on TTT centered on why teacher-librarians and educators in general can’t seem to win students over on using these databses as a first choice in their research. Some of the reasons stated (Joyce Valenza for one) named the complexity of the interface as one reason. Another issue is the complexity in login/password. Google doesn’t require a password, does it? What are your thoughts??
Join the next two Wednesdays at 9:00 to listen live, and perhaps join in the discussion, either through the chat or skype. You never know who is going to be there! Already booked an appointment or have a conflict? No problem, visit the TTT site to listen later straight from the web, or subscribe as a podcast. There is some powerful learning there for you.