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Enhancing classroom instruction with online news

Michael D. Ekstrand (People and Information Research Team, Department of Computer Science, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA)
Katherine Landau Wright (Department of Language, Literacy, and Culture, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA)
Maria Soledad Pera (People and Information Research Team, Department of Computer Science, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 15 June 2020

Issue publication date: 17 November 2020




This paper investigates how school teachers look for informational texts for their classrooms. Access to current, varied and authentic informational texts improves learning outcomes for K-12 students, but many teachers lack resources to expand and update readings. The Web offers freely available resources, but finding suitable ones is time-consuming. This research lays the groundwork for building tools to ease that burden.


This paper reports qualitative findings from a study in two stages: (1) a set of semistructured interviews, based on the critical incident technique, eliciting teachers' information-seeking practices and challenges; and (2) observations of teachers using a prototype teaching-oriented news search tool under a think-aloud protocol.


Teachers articulated different objectives and ways of using readings in their classrooms, goals and self-reported practices varied by experience level. Teachers struggled to formulate queries that are likely to return readings on specific course topics, instead searching directly for abstract topics. Experience differences did not translate into observable differences in search skill or success in the lab study.


There is limited work on teachers' information-seeking practices, particularly on how teachers look for texts for classroom use. This paper describes how teachers look for information in this context, setting the stage for future development and research on how to support this use case. Understanding and supporting teachers looking for information is a rich area for future research, due to the complexity of the information need and the fact that teachers are not looking for information for themselves.



This work was funded by a Boise State University College of Education Civility Grant. Patrick Cullings, David McNeill, and Michael Green developed the LITERATE prototype. DavidMcNeill also assisted with coding and analysis of Stage 1. Ion Madrazo Azpiazu assisted with problem framing and workshop presentation of early versions of the work.


Ekstrand, M.D., Wright, K.L. and Pera, M.S. (2020), "Enhancing classroom instruction with online news", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 72 No. 5, pp. 725-744.



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