Albany High School educators win AASL Collaborative School Library Award

For Immediate Release
Mon, 04/23/2012

Contact:

Jennifer R Habley
Manager, Web Communications
American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
800-545-2433 ext.4383
jhabley@ala.org

CHICAGO – The “EDSET Research Poster Session and Podcast Project” team from Albany High School in Albany, Calif., is the 2012 recipient of the American Association of School Librarian’s (AASL) Collaborative School Library Award.  The team – consisting  of Sara Oremland, school librarian, Darren McNally, environmental science teacher, Corinne Berletti, history teacher, and Jessica Park, English teacher – works with junior and senior high school students participating in the school’s Environmental Design, Sciences, Engineering, and Technology (EDSET) academy.

Working together, the team created grade-specific research projects complementing the environmentally-related internship required of students participating in the EDSET academy.  Both projects began with students developing an Essential Question that allowed the students’ natural curiosity to guide the research process and led students to interesting discoveries.  In answering the question, students learned to find and evaluate information, synthesize that information and properly cite sources.  Students also gained experience in using online project management tools and communicating effectively as they presented their research findings and methodologies in either a poster session or podcast.

Junior-level students worked with Berletti, McNally and Oremland on developing an Essential Question, and in some cases the questions were designed to solve a specific problem their internship faced. One EDSET junior worked to create a recycling program at a local elementary school. Using academic research and an original experiment, the student was able to identify “What is the most effective method to encourage elementary students to recycle correctly?” and apply her conclusions back to her internship. During the research process, the educator team used online resources such as Google Docs and Noodle Tools to collaboratively guide students through the evaluation and citing of information. The junior project culminated with a poster presentation modeled after graduate-level conferences.

Berletti, Oremland and Park guided senior-level students through a research project designed to expand on the previous year’s poster session.  Students used information gained through a combination of interviews, surveys and research to create a podcast in the style of NPR’s science show RadioLab.  The students’ goal was to present their research and internship interviews in an engaging way and to explain a complex environmental issue so that an uninformed person could easily understand. To develop their podcasts, students used story boards to write a compelling narration based on their research.  The students then recorded their narrative using Aviary, a free Web-based audio recording and editing program, and completed podcasts were shared with other students.

"The 'EDSET Research Poster Session and Pod cast Project' was selected to receive the 2012 Collaborative School Library Award because it provides an excellent example of collaboration, uses of school library resources, 21st century skills, technology integration, and inquiry-based learning," said Leslie Forsman, award committee chair. "The team should be commended for using new resources and sharing them with their students. The projects demonstrate how to fully embed the library programs into a yearlong curriculum. It is great preparation for students who might need to make a presentation in their future coursework or careers."

The “EDSET Research Poster Session and Podcast Project” team and other AASL award winners will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during ALA's 2012 Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif. The luncheon will be held Monday, June 25. Carmen Agra Deedy, best-selling author and ardent supporter of libraries, will attend the ceremony courtesy of Peachtree Publishing.  Ticket information can be found on the AASL website at  www.ala.org/aasl/annual.  

Sponsored by Highsmith, the $2,500 AASL Collaborative School Library Award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school librarians and teachers in meeting goals outlined in “Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programsthrough joint planning of a program, unit or event in support of the curriculum and using school library resources.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.