Posted on April 21, 2016
By Tracey L. Matthews
Some schools acquire Gale resources on a state-wide level, offering broad access to our authoritative resources. But not everyone knows they’re available. Detroit’s (MI) Cody Academy of Public Leadership is one example.
In the course of setting up a mentoring program nearly two years ago with Cody High School’s Academy of Public Leadership, one of the first things we learned was that the staff was unaware they had access to any reference content. Like many other schools in the Detroit school district, their media specialist positions had been eliminated, leaving busy and challenged teachers with no help identifying resources for their students, who not surprisingly relied primarily on Google for their research needs.
Our first service to Cody was to hold a training session with Cody staff to introduce them to the Michigan Electronic Library (MeL), through which they had easy access to a wide variety of reference and periodical databases, including Gale products like Opposing Viewpoints In Context.
Taking it a step further, a group of Gale volunteers then began regular visits with three senior English classes, working with their teacher, Qiana Lawhorn, and Cody principal, Johnathon Matthews (who just happens to be my husband). We worked with students to improve their research and essay writing skills using some of the databases and tools in MeL, particularly Opposing Viewpoints In Context, which proved to be the perfect authoritative resource for the students’ final essay projects.
They found Opposing Viewpoints In Context easy to use and liked the wide variety of topics and authoritative viewpoints on both sides of an issue. They also appreciated the convenient tools in the database like the MLA citation generator. In addition to the English classes, other groups like the Debate Team and Student Government Team became ardent fans. Mrs. Lawhorn called Opposing Viewpoints In Context a “one-stop tool for research needs.” She also reported that former students continue to use Opposing Viewpoints In Context in college—a testament to its usefulness and broad reach.
Last school year’s volunteer program was very successful, and we are currently in our second year, mentoring a different set of students. Not only did Gale staff gain valuable insight about our school customers and end-users, their research needs, and how they use our products, we also introduced Cody High School to a wealth of resources through MeL.
Do you know what Gale resources your state offers, and are you using them?
About the Author
Tracey is a senior content developer in Gale Databases. She is passionate about family, food, volunteering, and traveling—not necessarily in that order.