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High School Cases

Explore the following cases.

Alano: The Information Intern

teen with cameraAlano enjoys recording the world around him with a digital camera. He has an eye for visual work. He's also very interested in the role of photography in the media.

Mr. Washington asked Alano if he'd be interested in acting as an Information Intern. As an intern, Alano worked as a team on projects where teachers are the clients. For example, one project involved collaborating with a middle school teacher on the development of a WebQuest. Another project involved developing a full-color brochure for the a fire safety program.

At first most of his activities involved working as a team where he was the photographer. However as he gained confidence in his work, he began to take over some of the writing activities too.

Although Alano doesn't think of himself as a writer, his experience as an Information Intern has made him think about ways to combine his interest in combining the visual arts with writing. He's always been a fan of graphic novels. His creative writing teacher has agree to let him create a graphic novel as his final product.

His project turned out great and is now part of the young authors collection in the learning laboratory.

Explore Mr. Washington's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore how digital cameras and young authors projects are used by student information scientists.

Eric: Community Bike Path

teen with computerEric has two passions: computing and biking. Having recently moved to the community, he was very disappointed to find the area lacked quality bike paths. As a high school senior, he's required to do a senior project. Can he combine his biking passion with the required senior project?

After some research, Eric learns about a federal program called "Rails to Trails" that assists communities in converting abandoned railways into bike paths.

Mr. Washington, the teacher librarian, suggests that Eric contact local city council members about the idea. After reviewing Eric's questions and providing suggestions, Mr. Washington helps Eric locate the phone numbers of council members and suggests a quiet place where he can make some calls. Although most of the council members has other priorities, he found one enthusiastic supporter. Eric arranged to meet the council member and design a plan.

Explore Mr. Washington's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore how telephones and laptops are used by student information scientists.

Sabrina: Solar Solutions

teen with guitarSabrina would rather be playing the guitar than studying, so she wasn't looking forward to writing a report for her Environmental Studies course. Each group in the class is exploring an alternative energy source and the issues surrounding that source. The goal is to come up with a set of class solutions. She was thrilled when her teacher suggested that the class find creative ways to express their project findings.

Sabrina's small group often went to the school library media center to use the laptop clusters. Her group needs access to Internet, so they gather in the wireless laptop cluster area of the media center. These tables have lots of room to spread out and they also have electrical outlets in case they need to plug in computers.

solar panels

Explore Mr. Washington's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore student work areas used by student information scientists.

Dylan: Global Trotter

teen with globeDylan is a high school junior interested in travel. He's in third year Spanish and would love to travel to South America. After reading the book The Motorcycle Diaries: A Latin American Journey by Ernesto Che Guevara and then watching the movie, Dylan dreams of retracing the journey through South America.

Motorcycle DiariesMotorcycle Diaries

South America

Dylan explored a variety of maps before selecting one to use in his exploration of South America.

Dylan knows that he'll have to be fluent in Spanish before visiting South America. He's not worried about reading and writing the language. Instead, he's concerned about being able to understand when people talk to him. He discusses this frustration with his teacher who suggests that they investigate Spanish speaking sources on the Internet.

Dylan locates a daily Spanish language podcast that can be downloaded using iTunes. Unfortunately he doesn't have an MP3 player, so he has to listen to the podcast in the school library media center.

As Mr. Washington reviews his use statistics, he finds that an increasing number of students are downloading podcasts, digital books, and other audio materials. These students account for many hours on the computers when they actually only need an MP3 player. He decides to invest in 6 small ipods that can be checked out by students for 3 day periods to reduce the strain on his computers.

Dylan is thrilled with the ipods. He can download a week of podcasts on an ipod and listen to them over the weekend.

Explore Mr. Washington's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore Mr. Harrington's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore digital media used by student information scientists.

Explore books used by student information scientists.

Explore maps used by student information scientists.

Miranda: Search for a Cure

teen with appleMiranda's mother and grandmother both have diabetes. What's the likelihood that Miranda will become diabetic? How long before this disease is cured? These are the questions that Miranda has been asking herself the past several months.

Miranda decides to explore the Internet for background information and soon discovers that there are thousands of websites related to diabetes. Which resources are the most reliable?

She selects a few websites and begins to compare the information she finds looking carefully at the website sponsor, web page authors, sources cites, dates of materials, and other key elements. She develops a list of those things she considers most important in a quality website related to diabetes. She plans to return to these websites regularly, so she notes those that are updated often. She wonders whether she should focus on her African American heritage or her European roots.

Explore Mr. Washington's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Jamal: Canine Flu, Bird Flu and Beyond

The Great Influenzateen pointingAs part of a "reading in the content areas" program, students selected a work of fiction or non-fiction work read.

It's difficult for Jamal to find a good place to read at home. He's found that the comfortable leather chairs in the library are the perfect place catch up.

After reading The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the 1918 Pandemic by John M. Barry, Jamal became interested in whether a pandemic like the one in 1918 could strike again. Is the world prepared for this type of disaster? How would a pandemic impact the poorest members of our communities? Is the public health system ready?

The Canine Influenza Epidemic: Fact or Fiction?

dogLike most teens, Jamal communicates with family members through email. When he receives an email "forward" from him grandmother in Florida, he generally puts it in the trash. She sends lots of "forwarded messages" including chain emails, prayers, political jokes, and urban legends. While she thinks of these messages as fact, Jamal is much more skeptical. He's also mature enough not to argue with grandma.

However one email forward catches his eye. The headline is "The New Canine Influenza". The message states that a virus deadly to dogs was first found in greyhound race dogs and has been spreading in the canine population of the U.S. He wonders if this could be true. His grandmother is clearly concerned about Bailey, the family dog.

Having recently read The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the 1918 Pandemic by John M. Barry for a science class, Jamal considers whether this could be connected to other recent viruses such as the "bird flu."

Like most teens, Jamal spends lots of time on the Internet. His first stop is Snopes to look up dog flu. He quickly locates a copy of the ominous email and is shocked to find that Snopes indicates the email is True. After reading the background information found by Snopes, he decides to conduct his own investigation to confirm the information in the email.

The message refers to an article at, so he checks the reference. Wondering about the credibility of this website, he examines the Founder page and learns that the website is authored by a person with authority. To check his credentials, Jamal googles "Henry L Niman". He finds that Niman is being interviewed by many news and health organizations worldwide on this topic.

The article also mentions AVMA. Googling AVMA brings up the American Veterinary Medical Association. This website contains the JAVMA (Journal of Veterinary Medical Association) News which links to an article titled "Canine influenza virus emerges in Florida." It states that "Known as canine influenza or canine flu, the disease is caused by a highly contagious virus that was recently identified by researchers at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine." Jamal decides to read the press report from the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner titled Bronson Alerts Public to Newly Emerging Canine Flu. The article indicates that the actual report is in the journal Science (30 September 2005).

Unfortunately he doesn't have access to the journal Science, so he logs into his school library to search for the article. He finds that the current issue isn't available online, but it is available in the physical library.

Jamal goes to the journal Science online and wonders about their credibility. The copyright notice indicates that the magazine is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The AAAS website confirms that they are actually associated with this magazine. He has confidence in this article.

The email also mentions the APHIS. He googles APHIS and learns that it's the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA. The website isn't well organized, so he leaves.

Finally, he checks the references provided at the Snopes website from the New York Times and Boston Herald.

Satisfied that people are concerned about this topic, Jamal decides to see what government officials are doing to address this concern. Having gone to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as part of his 1918 Pandemic report, he starts there.

He reads a transcript from a news briefing held September 26, 2005. Now we're getting somewhere. The conference includes the author of the article, Dr. Crawford from the University of Florida along with people from the CDC and Cornell. The discussion conveys the idea that the flu is a concern, but that the illness has a low mortality rate. The lead researcher even indicates that she would continue to show her dogs at Kennel Club events and is confident that they'll be fine. This makes Jamal feel much better.

Jamal emails his grandmother to assure her that Bailey will be fine.

Click the visual below to see a full-size version.


Become a Metacognitive Explorer

To be effective in a digital world, we must all become metacognitive explorers! The visual below represents Jamal's information inquiry process. Can you match the key points with his experience above? Can you match the key points with your own inquiry process? What are your comfort sources?

Click the visual below to see a full-size version.


Explore Mr. Washington's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore books and seating areas used by student information scientists.

Cody: National Forest Debate

teen with palmCody is a student information scientist. He's interested in the different perspectives related to the our national forests. What's the best way to manage our environment, yet still enjoy these natural resources? Cody lives in a wood structure house and reads books made of paper. These products came from wood harvested from our forests. Should he be concerned about where this wood comes from?

Through Inspire and the state of Indiana, the learning laboratory has access to Gale's Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center database (click the example screen below to enlarge). Cody is interested in different views on logging and the lumber industry in national forests.

opposing views

He wonders what others think about lumbering in our national forests and is interested in conducting a survey.

Cody was very proud of his success on his national forest project. He decides to add this final report to his portfolio along with other documents that he's been collecting throughout his high school career.

Explore Mr. Washington's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore how electronic databases and portfolios are used by student information scientists.


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