The ABCDs of research

To help students develop digital literacy skills and evaluate online sources, Dr. Karla Krueger has developed the ABCD model.  The model, which stands for Authority, Bias, Coverage, and Date, offers a tool for developing and practicing the critical skill of evaluating online information.  As students sort through their Internet research, the ABCD model helps them analyze conflicting information and identify the most reliable sources.

Jen Dovre, a media specialist at Ballard High School in Huxley, Iowa, has found the ABCD model to be very effective in helping students review the validity of their sources.  She has tried several different methods or acronyms but found that they required too many steps or were hard for the students to remember.  “We’ve returned to the ABCD model because it is simple to remember and it offers the depth required for serious evaluation of sources,” said Dovre, a 2013 graduate of the School Library Studies MA program.

Dovre has modified the ABCD model to fit the needs of her students and help them focus on key issues.  She said her students “realize that there are a lot of gray areas when evaluating sources and this model helps them look at the important components to make a decision about the source.”  After using it several times, students find that the process becomes routine.

Karla Krueger, an assistant professor of School Library Studies at University of Northern Iowa, described the model in an article titled “Evaluating Information with ABCD (Authority, Bias, Coverage, and Date)” and published in School Library Monthly in September/October 2013.  The article includes an introductory handout for upper elementary and middle school students as well as a more advanced handout for middle school and high school. The full text of the article is available to University of Northern Iowa students and personnel through this Rod Library link.


Taking the lead in 1:1

School Library Studies student Tyllie Corbin presented at the 2014 Iowa 1:1 Institute on April 10, 2014 in Des Moines on “Teaching Tech with Tyllie.”  As the K-12 teacher librarian for Denver Community Schools, Iowa, Corbin helps implement a 1:1 program which provides each student in grades 1-12 with an Apple device.   


History and the small screen

To renew interest in historical fiction, teacher librarian Chelsey Kolpin uses book trailers, short previews of books posted on the Internet. As part of her master’s research project, Kolpin created a website, Hi-Fi for Wi-Fi, that features 15 book trailers created by Kolpin and others.


Giving students tools for research

To help teachers and students find their way through the Internet maze, teacher librarians create LibGuides and other online tools.  LibGuides integrate instruction and resources to support learning outcomes identified in the Common Core curriculum. These tools, such as a LibGuide created by School Library Studies master's student Michelle Kruse to support a fourth grade biography project, direct students to specific online and electronic resources and create a central place for students to access the project assignments and directions.