Britannica Helps Teachers Impart Research Skills

July 1, 2013

White paper, webinar provide classroom lessons in using online sources

For teachers looking to instill good research habits in their students, help has arrived from Britannica Digital Learning (BDL), with an in-depth lesson plan on research skills for the digital age.

The lesson appears in the Britannica white paper “Building Career and College Readiness Skills: How to Evaluate Online Sources” and is addressed in a related webinar hosted recently by School Library Journal. Britannica Curriculum Specialist Sara Torpey leads the webinar along with School Librarian Wendy Stephens of Cullman High School in Cullman, Ala.
The paper and webinar work together to help teachers instruct students in the art of reading critically, judging the value and reliability of online sources and making good use the information they find. The lesson, which supports key curriculum standards, uses the Britannica School information resource as an example of a sound and trustworthy source for research and reference.

The issue of student research has taken on new urgency in recent years with students awash in online information, much of which is of questionable value and accuracy. A recent survey of teachers by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found many reporting that students rely too heavily on Internet search engines. A high priority for the classroom, most agreed, is for students to learn to “judge the quality of online information.”

“’Search’ and ‘research’ are not the same thing. It’s important for students to know the difference and to be able to conduct valid research,” said Michael Ross, general manager of Britannica Digital Learning and a senior vice president at Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. “There’s so much more information these days, which is great, but it’s important to know how to distinguish the good from the bad.”

The white paper may be downloaded at the Britannica site,, from the 21st-Century Learning section.

About Britannica Digital Learning
Britannica Digital Learning (BDL) provides reliable, high-quality classroom products and solutions for educators. BDL experts produce curriculum-aligned resources for all ages from preschool to college that make creative and purposeful use of technologies widely used in schools today—such as interactive whiteboards, tablets, smart phones and learner-response devices—making it easier for teachers to teach and for students to learn. Products include Britannica School, SmartMath, Pathways: Science, and Image Quest. BDL is a division of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. and is headquartered in Chicago.

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Tom Panelas
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.