Lin-Wood Students Research History at PSU

November 6th, 2012 by blyndes

Plymouth, N.H. –Knowing how to access and use information is critical to success in today’s world. Whether you’re an accountant, truck driver or teacher, succeeding at your job requires knowledge, and having the skills to find that knowledge in the digital age is far different now than even a decade ago. With that in mind, nearly 50 ninth and tenth grade history students at Lin-Wood Public School in Lincoln, N.H. have taken the first step in gaining state-of-the-art research skills through a partnership with Plymouth State University’s Lamson Library and Learning Commons. The students are preparing projects for the 2013 National History Day Competition and Lin-Wood social studies teacher Kelly Nelson, a PSU graduate, said their November 6 visit to Lamson Library offered a an opportunity to gain valuable, life-long skills in gathering information.

“They’re gaining critical thinking skills, having the ability to sift through information and find what’s important–learning to ask good questions and knowing how to get the right answers,” Nelson said. “This library is a fantastic resource for us, because we don’t have access to all of these sources in our library. It’s a bridge to the rest of the world.”

PSU graduate assistant Kelsie Brook, left, explains database research skills to Lin-Wood ninth graders Jared Duarte, center, and Maddy Morrell during their November 6 visit to the Learning Commons at Lamson Library.

National History Day involves 700,000 middle and high school students nationwide, including several thousand in New Hampshire. Students investigate their topic, develop a thesis and interpret primary and secondary sources to apply it to the national theme. The students then present their project in formats like a research paper, museum-style exhibit, dramatic performance, web site or video documentary. The best projects statewide are then displayed in a springtime event at Plymouth State University. Lin-Wood tenth grader Colby Chase was excited to begin his project on civil rights.

“This library offers multiple databases that we don’t have at our school,” said Chase. “This is a smarter way to research, instead of looking at websites that may not have accurate information.”

Ninth grader Dakima Welch agreed.

“It’s so much easier to find information on our topic here, especially all of the encyclopedias that are available,” said Welch.

Kelsie Brook, a PSU graduate student and assistant coordinator of N.H.’s National History Day event, said the students are not only learning how to access information, but also determining what is most useful.

“It’s a really good lesson for students in being specific; being purposeful in what they’re searching for,” Brook said.

Anne Jung, Lamson’s outreach librarian, said the Library and Learning Commons provides sophisticated research tools and teaching the students how to use them properly gives them a skill they can use for the rest of their lives, regardless of what their occupation.

“We hope this is a starting point for information literacy,” said Jung. “Even if you don’t go to college, learning about using resources is going to be really important as a ‘next-generation skill.’ For example, as these students get older they will have to make health care or financial decisions and they’re going to have to know where to look for that information.”

Jung added PSU prides itself on being a ‘regional, comprehensive University,’ and the Lamson Library offers free internet accessibility to the public.

“We are a community resource,” Jung noted. “We open at 7:30 and there are community members here first thing to use the public computers–they are never empty.”

The Lamson Library and Learning Commons provides access to thousands of online databases and contains nearly 350,000 volumes of catalogued material, the largest in northern New Hampshire.

For information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu

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