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Free Resources: S.O.S. for Information Literacy Launched at AASL

Posted Oct 12, 2005
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S.O.S. for Information Literacy, a project of the Center for Digital Literacy at Syracuse University and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, in collaboration with the American Association of School Librarians, was officially launched October 7, during the 12th American Association of School Librarians (ASL) conference in Pittsburgh. The K-8 version of S.O.S. was demonstrated and an announcement about new funding to extend S.O.S. was made.

S.O.S. for Information Literacy is a dynamic, multimedia, Web-based, and freely accessible resource for K-8 library media specialists and classroom teachers that promises to make a significant contribution to enhancing the teaching of information literacy skills worldwide, according to the project organizers. S.O.S. (Situation, Outcomes, Strategies) is a database of standards-based information literacy lesson plans and other teaching materials, emphasizing collaborative planning and delivery with classroom teachers and integrated with the curriculum, that can be used "as is" or adapted to specific needs.

S.O.S. features:

* "Just in time" training that takes the submitter step-by-step through the lesson planning and submission process
* Emphasis on motivational teaching strategies that excite students about the research process
* Collection of best practice video clips of lessons "in action"
* A "Spotlight on Educators" page that showcases library media specialists from around the world and their exemplary lesson plans
* Direct links to national information literacy and content area standards
* Handouts and other types of related support materials included in each lesson
*A unique quality control system—every lesson plan is thoroughly reviewed by two independent evaluators and must meet the criteria for acceptance into the database

The S.O.S. advisory board consists of college faculty, pre-service graduate students, practicing teachers and library media specialists, and consultants, including such education leaders as Pam Berger, Sharon Coatney, Bernie Dodge, Alan November, Kathy Schrock, Ross Todd, and Julie Walker.

Project directors Dr. Ruth Small and Dr. Marilyn Arnone of the Center for Digital Literacy at Syracuse University, noted during the launch at AASL that S.O.S. for Information Literacy is a "grass roots" project and urged interested educators to participate in lesson plan creation as well as use the resource. To build lesson plans and submit them for peer review and evaluation, visit the project Web site at

Small and Arnone also announced plans to extend the S.O.S. project to the high school level, and they put out a call for volunteers to help in development of this new component. Volunteers will help build the resource by:

* Providing input and feedback on new features as they are developed
* Submitting one or more quality lesson plans, with support materials such as handouts, PowerPoint presentation, etc., to serve as models for other educators
*Participating in surveys to help evaluate the project.

For more information, contact Dr. Ruth Small at or Dr. Marilyn Arnone at

Source: Center for Digital Literacy, Syracuse University,; Institute of Museum and Library Services,

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