Saturday, March 1, 2008

Virtual School Libraries for Teaching and Learning

Ideally, the virtual school library should be a student or teacher’s first choice to begin any inquiry task. If the goals of the virtual school library are to help students become successful learners and give teachers support in their efforts to craft meaningful learning experiences, the site must be shaped accordingly. Successful virtual school libraries are those which help teach and support information literacy.

When users have to follow difficult paths to find information, they are more likely to become frustrated and turn elsewhere. The virtual school library web site should be a resource that allows users to feel confident that they will find guidance, support and quality information. Its design should be organized, appealing, and user-friendly; its content should feature reliable resources, search tools, and links.

Students and teachers have varying levels of ability when it comes to conducting research with the school library web site. Therefore, it is important that the usability of the site meets the needs of novice users, as well as the needs of advanced searchers. Considerations for the design of a web site, as well as the content featured on the web site, should be suited to the needs of the learning community who will be the primary users of the site.

If looking for a list of sites to browse in order to get ideas, one should consult the lists provided at Joyce Valenza’s Models of effective practice site and Rhonda Will’s McLurg Elementary School Virtual Library.

There is a great deal of variety to be found in virtual school libraries!

Bibliotheque Liz Edmonds Memorial Library
Walter Murray Collegiate
Saskatoon, SK

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