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5 Reasons Why School Librarians are Essential for Teaching Research Skills

Updated: Jun 13, 2023


School Libraries ChatGPT and a diagram with AI in the middle of it


I have been wondering if it is really possible to get ChatGPT to help write a decent blog post. I decided that the only way to find out is to try it out so here is my attempt to get it to help me something useful for school librarians.


I asked it to create a series of lessons to help students use the school library linked with the curriculum and this is what it gave me. Follow the conversation below to see how it developed.


Question 1 Create a series of lessons to help students use the school library linked with the curriculum

  1. Introduction to the library: This lesson can cover the layout of the library, how to locate and check out materials, and how to use the library catalog.

  2. Research skills: Students can learn how to find and evaluate sources, take notes, and properly cite their sources.

  3. Digital literacy: This lesson can teach students how to use electronic resources such as databases and e-books, as well as how to stay safe online.

  4. Book clubs and literature circles: Students can learn how to participate in book clubs and literature circles, which can involve discussing and analyzing texts, as well as presenting their findings to their peers.

  5. Presentation skills: Students can learn how to create and deliver effective presentations, including how to use visual aids and engage their audience.

These lessons can be linked to the curriculum by tying in specific texts or topics that students are studying in their classes. For example, a research skills lesson could focus on finding sources for a history project, and a digital literacy lesson could teach students how to find and use online resources for a science project.


Question 2 expand on the research skills lessons


  1. Define the research question: Students can learn how to identify a clear and focused research question that will guide their search for information.

  2. Choose appropriate sources: Students can learn how to evaluate the credibility and relevance of sources, and how to select sources that are appropriate for their research topic.

  3. Search effectively: Students can learn how to use keywords and search operators to find relevant information, as well as how to use advanced search features on library databases and the internet.

  4. Take notes: Students can learn how to take effective notes while researching, including how to summarize and paraphrase information, and how to properly cite their sources.

  5. Organize and analyze information: Students can learn how to organize their notes and information, and how to analyze and synthesize the information to answer their research question.

  6. Create a bibliography: Students can learn how to create a bibliography or list of works cited, using a citation style such as MLA or APA.

  7. Present findings: Students can learn how to present their research findings in a clear and organized manner, using visual aids such as charts and graphs if appropriate.

Throughout the lesson, it can be helpful to provide students with examples and practice exercises to help them apply these skills in a practical setting.


Question 3 How to make these lessons engaging

  1. Use real-world examples: Students can be more engaged when they see how the skills they are learning are relevant to their own lives or to current events. You can bring in news articles, videos, or other materials to illustrate the importance of research skills.

  2. Encourage collaboration: Research skills can be more engaging when students work together in small groups or pairs to discuss their ideas and share what they have learned. You can also encourage students to present their findings to the class, which can help them practice their presentation skills.

  3. Provide choice: Giving students some choice in their research topic can help them feel more invested in the lesson. You could offer a list of options or allow students to come up with their own topic, as long as it is appropriate and meets the goals of the assignment.

  4. Use hands-on activities: Hands-on activities, such as brainstorming sessions, mock research projects, or source evaluation exercises, can help students apply the skills they are learning in a more interactive way.

  5. Utilize technology: Using technology, such as library databases or online research tools, can make the lesson feel more modern and engaging for students. You can also use educational apps or games to reinforce the skills being taught.

Question 4 how would you get teachers to collaborate with school librarians on these research skills

  1. Share resources and ideas: School librarians can share lesson plans, activities, and resources with teachers, which can help save time and provide inspiration for new lesson ideas.

  2. Offer professional development opportunities: School librarians can offer professional development workshops or training sessions for teachers on research skills or other library-related topics.

  3. Collaborate on assignments and projects: School librarians can work with teachers to design assignments and projects that incorporate research skills, such as a research paper or a presentation. The librarian can provide support and guidance to students as they complete the assignment.

  4. Promote the library's resources: School librarians can inform teachers about the library's resources and services, such as databases, e-books, and online research tools, and how they can be used to support student learning.

  5. Build relationships: Building strong relationships with teachers can help school librarians better understand the needs and goals of their teaching colleagues, and make it more likely that they will collaborate on research skills lessons and other library-related activities.

Question 5 why are school librarians important in teaching these skills

  1. Expertise: School librarians are trained in library and information science and have a wealth of knowledge about research skills and how to effectively find and evaluate information. They can provide valuable guidance and support to students as they learn these skills.

  2. Access to resources: School librarians have access to a wide range of resources, such as books, databases, and online research tools, that can be used to support student learning. They can help students identify the most appropriate and relevant sources for their research needs.

  3. Support for teachers: School librarians can work closely with teachers to design assignments and projects that incorporate research skills, and provide support and guidance to students as they complete these assignments.

  4. Promoting critical thinking: Research skills involve more than just finding information; they also involve analyzing and synthesizing information to answer a research question or solve a problem. School librarians can help students develop critical thinking skills as they work through the research process.

Overall, school librarians play a vital role in helping students develop the skills they need to be successful learners and lifelong learners. This was written in about 15 mins. You have got to be impressed by the speed and accuracy of this information. I have not changed any of the replies and although I do hope you can tell it is very automated responses and not my usual chatty blog.


This made me think if I could get it to do that for me too... I asked it to write a chatty blog using the information above and this is what it gave me.


Title suggestion - 5 Reasons Why School Librarians are Essential for Teaching Research Skills


As a teacher, you know that research skills are an important part of your student's education. But did you know that school librarians can play a vital role in helping your students develop these skills? Here are five reasons why school librarians are essential for teaching research skills:

  1. Expertise: School librarians are trained in library and information science and have a wealth of knowledge about research skills. They can provide valuable guidance and support to your students as they learn how to find and evaluate information.

  2. Access to resources: School librarians have access to a wide range of resources, such as books, databases, and online research tools, that can be used to support student learning. They can help your students identify the most appropriate and relevant sources for their research needs.

  3. Support for teachers: School librarians can work closely with you to design assignments and projects that incorporate research skills, and provide support and guidance to your students as they complete these assignments.

  4. Promoting critical thinking: Research skills involve more than just finding information; they also involve analyzing and synthesizing information to answer a research question or solve a problem. School librarians can help your students develop critical thinking skills as they work through the research process.

  5. Building relationships: Building strong relationships with school librarians can help you better understand the needs and goals of your teaching colleagues, and make it more likely that you will collaborate on research skills lessons and other library-related activities.

In short, school librarians are an invaluable resource for helping your students develop the skills they need to be successful learners and lifelong learners. Don't hesitate to reach out to your school librarian for support and collaboration on teaching research skills!


Would you know that it wasn't me writing this?


What are your thoughts and concerns about ChatGPT within school libraries and education? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.


Update June 2023


I have had several discussions with people about the future of AI and its impact on school libraries. If you want to know more I would recommend you join a conversation on The FOSIL Group forum here called ChatGPT et al I have also been recording podcasts on this topic which you can find here

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7 Comments


Guest
Feb 09, 2023

I've thought for a long time that K-12 students don't really need homework, except as practice for time management for those who will go to university. I think more assignments need to be done at school where the students can be supervised and practice their research and writing skills with the help of teachers and librarians. Students can use Chat GPT like Wikipedia as a starting place for ideas, but not for the end result/end research. Similar to how students write an annotated bibliography, we should also have them add a short reflection on how they used Chat GPT for an assignment. Then, they should also include what they did after that using their own higher-order thinking skills.


I'm really…


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Elizabeth
Elizabeth
Jan 10, 2023

A plagiarism checker for Chat GPT is already out... https://www.npr.org/2023/01/09/1147549845/gptzero-ai-chatgpt-edward-tian-plagiarism


This blog was tested and it knew it was generated by AI... Very clever!

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Ruth Maloney
Ruth Maloney
Jan 09, 2023

Fascinating, when I get on I want to ask it to argue the opposite; that school libraries and Librarians are too expensive and anachronistic. I'll be interested to see how well it does that.


We are actively investigating it at our school and it is able to write exam length answers well. One of our English teachers tried it and apart from the fact that it was missing evidence (quotes from the text) they were impressed by the quality of the work.


I agree we have to embrace this, look at what it is doing and how, think about what we can learn/teach from that and use it as an opportunity to reinforce the idea of teaching skills not content.…


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Elizabeth
Elizabeth
Jan 09, 2023
Replying to

Here is the answer I got when I asked 'school libraries and Librarians are too expensive and anachronistic discuss' It seems to be pro libraries and librarians haha


There are several arguments that can be made for and against the idea that school libraries and librarians are too expensive and anachronistic. One argument in favor of this idea is that in the age of the internet, many of the resources that were traditionally only available in a library can now be accessed online for free. This means that schools may not need to invest as much money in physical books and other resources, and they may be able to reduce the cost of maintaining a library and hiring librarians.

However, there…

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Guest
Jan 09, 2023

I am worried that students are going to use it to write their Extended Essays! When I get time I want to play about to see if it can, including referencing them. I am interested in who else is researching this as I can't see me having time!


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Elizabeth
Elizabeth
Jan 09, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for your comment Liz @LibraryLiz101 Looking out for ways to help students use #ChatGPT whilst doing the Extended Essay is certainly something to consider going forward. We have to find ways to work with it though, as this genie is out of the box. I think at the moment it is not able to write a long essay, although that is coming I'm sure. It will be useful to use it to plan an extended essay though and maybe that is what needs to be done here. We must not tell them they can't use it as that will be pointless. They need to see us working with it too.

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