Is Wikipedia a good source for facts for a school research paper?
That is among the questions Breanna Lee answers for hundreds of Adairsville Middle School students every week as she teaches them the best methods of searching for accurate and timely information.
She also makes sure the school’s student laptops are maintained, and the school’s media center is stocked with books — including the hundreds the school recently received.
Bartow County Schools’ 18 other media specialists voted Lee as the system’s Media Specialist of the Year recently.
The system’s 19 media specialists vote online for the winner, who has the choice of applying for a regional contest.
Lee said each individual school’s needs dictate the work schedule for each media specialist in the county system.
She oversees Adairsville Middle’s media center and its collection of books and tabletop computers; and maintains the school’s laptop computer program, which includes making sure the school’s 800 students are using working devices.
She also teaches students about which internet-based sources are the most trustworthy for accurate information.
“Research has changed from paper (sources),” she said.
She said she tells students how to find information from accredited sources, and to look for recent copyrights or recent authors.
Lee said she suggests use of the University System of Georgia’s GALILEO website, which is only open to educational institutions and gives access to more than 10,000 journal titles as well as encyclopedias, business directories and government publications.
Others she recommends are the SIRS Discoverer general reference database and Brittanica School, which Lee said are more “age appropriate” for sixth- through eighth-graders.
She noted the popular site called Wikipedia is not a good source because anyone can access it and change the information it contains at any time.
To keep her young researchers’’ interest, Lee said she sometimes will lead scavenger hunts in which students are to find information in a specific place.
She noted she recently selected 600 new books for the library after the school received $10,000 from a state literacy grant.
Lee has been processing them since receiving them in early March. She also gave some students opportunities to view the books before she made them available, she said.
The Adairsville Middle School earned a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education from Kennesaw State; a master’s degree in library media service from University of West Georgia; and education specialist degree in curriculum and instructional management from Nova Southeastern University.
Lee began her teaching career as a sixth- and eighth-grade language arts teacher. She worked as a library media specialist at Camden County High School in southeast Georgia before moving to Adairsville Middle, where she has worked for seven years.