Pathfinder Project

Select a real-world situation. In choosing your topic consider those areas where electronic materials would be particularly helpful. Electronic materials can be CD, DVD, web-based, or other formats. They should be aimed at a particular type of collection such as School Library, Classroom, Academic Library, Public Library, or a special library (i.e., daycare, church).

Your audience is children and young adults (not adults), so materials should be aimed at this audience. In other words, young people will be using this page, so write for this audience.

Go to Australia (Web) as an example of a project that incorporates all of these elements.

Your pathfinder must have a specific focus. You have two choices:

Option 1: Topical Focus

You may want to focus on a specific topic or theme. Famous peacemakers, cloning, and nature poetry are just three examples of the wide range of topics. You may find that only a few materials are available on a particular topic. In this case you may wish to expand your theme. For example, you might start out with kickboxing and end up with a Martial Arts theme that includes a comparison of popular sports or a Fitness theme that explores a variety of techniques. Or, you might start with a project on cloning and expand it into genetics.

You'll find lots of pathfinders already available on the Internet. Before you choose a topic, do a web search for pathfinders to determine if there are already pathfinders available on this topic. Do not choose a topic such as "solar system" or "food pyramid". There are already dozens of pathfinders on these topics.

If you select Option 1, you MUST be able to demonstrate a need for a pathfinder on this topic.

Check out a few examples from previous semesters:

Option 2: Literature Focus

Design a pathfinder around a single piece of literature or group of books (i.e. Literature Circles, Reading Groups, multiple novels about an historical event). For instance, you might design a pathfinder around books about the Holocaust (i.e., Number the Stars, Night), around a trilogy such as Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, or a single book such as survival themes surrounding Hatchet. In some cases you might focus on a single theme such as the historical period or environmental issue. However there may also be multiple themes, geographic areas, or other subtopics that would be helpful in understanding the plot, characters, or setting of the book. Also including links to the author pages, publisher websites, and other materials associated with the book. In some cases there might also be websites associated with movies based on the book. Go to Science and the City of Ember, Exploring Molly's World and Leviathan for excellent examples.

Check out a few examples from previous semesters:

Option 3: Promotion Focus

Create a pathfinder to fit a specific library promotion. For instance, you might be focusing on cybersafety, intellectual freedom, or your one community, one book program. Think about the type of pathfinder that might be used with young people inside and outside the library to bring this program to life.

Go to Pathfinders for help in Pathfinder exploration

Your pathfinder will provide a wide range of materials on your topic. Use the following guidelines in developing your project.

Pathfinder Organization

Your pathfinder should be professional quality and visually appealing. It should be aimed at the audience of children and/or young adults. If it is geared at preschool level, it may be aimed at adults, but otherwise it should be aimed at children so be sure to use language children will understand.

IMPORTANT - It should NOT be focused on adult resources for adults. Instead, it should highlight electronic resources for children and young adults.

Somewhere in your document, you must include EACH the following elements:

Electronic Resources Guidelines

Your pathfinder must include at least THIRTY ANNOTATED resources. Of these 30 items, at least 20 must be electronic resources outlined below. Other resources might include books, primary source documents, kits, videos, audiotapes, maps, or other materials.

You must provide a citation (any consistent format is fine) including at least the title, format (i.e., website, DVD, audiotape), copyright date, author/publisher information, URL (as needed) and short summary/description. Optional items include key words, grade level, age, ISBN, or product numbers. There should also be a short review of each item. This may be a personal review based on your experience with the item or an online review. For example, you might take a short excerpt from the online review, then provide the link to the specific URL where the review can be found. Include other elements such as website logo, ideas for use, special features such as photographs, or a graphic of the cover.

(At Least 15 Items Required)

Many pages from a single website may be listed to focus attention on particular areas (pages), however the "website project" is only counted as one item. For example, you might find many good pages in National Geographic Online, but it only counts as one item unless you are working in a highly specialize topic area. You are encouraged to provide the URL of the main page in addition to other relevant pages within the site. For example, there's an entire section on Alaska, but there are also some quality individual pages scattered throughout the website.

These websites can be informational or instructional. For example, you might include websites students might use as well as lesson plans you've found online. Your websites should be organized in a meaningful way to facilitate their use.

Be sure to provide quality annotations for each website. Be sure your annotations answer the following questions: What information does this website provide (i.e., easy to read, lots of pictures, primary source information, authoritative information)? How does it relate to the topic? How can it be used? What are some unique aspects of the website?

Databases, E-Periodicals, & Reference Resources
(At Least 1 Item Required)

Many online and CD-based databases and reference resources are available on a variety of topics. Rather than simply listing the resource such as SIRS or World Book Encyclopedia CD, be sure to include a sample search. For example, if the topic is performance enhancement drugs, give me the results of an actual search and what can be found on the topic.

Provide basic guidelines needed for students to use the resource. You may also want to provide specific pages from a website such as links to wikipedia pages that might provide background information or links to specific articles within an electronic database.

Interactive Book, Informational or Instructional Software
(At Least 1 Item Required)

Many software packages contain multiple options or choices. Which would you recommend? Rather than just providing the citation for the software, explain how it could be used to address the topic.

If you can't find an interactive book, informational or instructional software, then describe how a creativity tool could be used with this project. For example, how could Tom Snyder Production's Timeliner be used to create a timeline for some aspect of the topic or how could Inspiration be applied to this topic to create a concept map. How about using TuxPaint for drawing?

Could an electronic spreadsheet or Google Docs be used in some way? How about an online graphic program such as Webspiration or Glogster? How could Google Earth be used to locate settings for a book?

Think about the many online tools that can be used for creating a blog, wiki, timeline, animation or other creation.

You MUST provide a SAMPLE (such as a screen shot). Or, DETAILED instructions for use of the tool and a SPECIFIC example.

(At Least 3 Item Required)

Sounds, pictures, videos, and animation can activate the senses. At least one resource should provide rich auditory or visual materials. It might be video clips downloaded from the Internet, audio clips of music or famous speeches, or a CD source for clipart or photographs on your specific topic. Be specific. DO NOT just link to an image or audio website such as Flickr. Instead, provide links to specific resources or image sets such as Women in Science from Smithsonian.

If you choose Vimeo, SchoolTube or TeacherTube, then you should provide links to specific videos not just the general website. If possible, embed these elements. Also, be sure to consider other formats such as VoiceThread. Keep in mind that YouTube is blocked in most schools, but not in public libraries.

Think about what resources would be useful for a young person who might want to illustrate their report or provide audio background for a presentation on this topic. For instance, if young people are reading a historical fiction novel, what visuals would help them better understand this novel? You might include links to visuals showing fashion, transportation, and famous people of the time period.

Extension Ideas

The extension activities are one of the MOST IMPORTANT aspects of your project. Provide AT LEAST 8 DETAILED ideas for using the resources in the pathfinder.

These DETAILED ideas should be MUCH MORE than a few sentences. They should provide specific assignments, promotional ideas, or other engaging activities that include accompanying handouts, sample searches, booklists, or other supplemental materials. When possible include an attachment with an example.

Ideas might include:

As one of your EIGHT ideas, you might wish to incorporate a link to a Delicious social bookmarking page that provides some or all of your web resources.


Your project MUST be written for children or young adults. It should appeal to this audience. This means that your project should be written more as an article or web page rather than a "college paper." In other words, it should be written FOR children and young adults audience, not just for your instructor. This include fonts, colors, graphics, and presentation style appropriate for your audience.

Graphics must be copyright-free or used with permission and/or credit. Or, they may be website logos or product/book covers that you've copied for use in the project.


Your project can be submitted three ways.

Option 1 (Preferred): Use a website builder such as Google Sites or a wiki tool such as Wikispaces. Or, create your own web pages and upload it to My Workspace in Oncourse or your own web server.

Option 2: Save the document as an Adobe PDF file. Make sure that your URLs are active. The advantage of this format is that you maintain your formatting from the word processor or page layout program. If you choose to use Publisher, you MUST export as a PDF file.

Option 3: Save the document in Microsoft Word and attach it in Oncourse. Be sure that your web links are active. In other words in Word, you must use the Hyperlink option under the Insert menu. Or, simply enter the URL such as and press the Enter or Return key. The URL will then be active. It will turn blue and underlined. Be sure that the address starts with http://

When your project is ready to grade, go to Oncourse and post a message in your Cohort group. Be sure to double check your web link or uploaded document to be sure it works!

Peer Enhancement

This assignment has a required peer enhancement element. This element is worth 3 Points. After the pathfinder assignments have been posted, you are responsible for providing resources or ideas that will enhance the work of a peer. Your enhancement should be SUBSTANTIAL. This is worth 3 points, so it's more like a posting than a reply in terms of value. Post your enhancement as a reply under your peer's posting. Some ideas are below.:

Explore some examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

Your instructor will upload or link to a few of the best projects on the Shake Em Up page.


Points will be awarded based on a checklist for this project.

Proceed to Product 2 - Tutorial/Transmedia

Proceed to the Evaluation


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