HackHealth Team to Host ALA Pre-Conference Workshop

Saturday, April 4, 2015

 As the Internet becomes more essential in meeting young people’s everyday life and academic information needs, ensuring that students have the skills needed to assess the credibility of online resources becomes more critical. These skills are particularly difficult to teach, largely due to the ambiguity of what makes a site both credible and relevant to a young and inexperienced searcher.

 This workshop will introduce participants to methods of credibility assessment instruction informed through research conducted by the HackHealth team from the University of Maryland's Information Policy and Access Center, in collaboration with school librarians in selected middle schools. This collaborative team runs weekly after-school sessions through the program, HackHealth, wherein young people learn to become effective users of health information, increase their health literacy and health-related self-efficacy, and make positive changes to their health behaviors. By selecting, researching, and presenting on a health topic of personal relevance, students learn valuable skills of digital research in a way that is connected to their own lives. Using data collected and methods tested during HackHealth sessions, this workshop will present strategies for effectively teaching Web-based credibility assessment to middle and high school students. The workshop will incorporate: 
  • Hands-on learning, such as real-time credibility assessment, group discussion on current practices, and demonstrations of credibility lessons;
  • Interactive presentations of effective credibility assessment strategies to use in the library and classroom; and
  • Activities focused on developing ways to incorporate skills learned into the participants’ teaching practices.
  • More specifically, librarians will come away from the workshop with individual action plans to take back to their schools. Depending on their needs, librarians will be able to build innovative lesson plans, create professional development activities, and develop strategies to implement credibility instruction across grade levels.
 Click here for information about registering the workshop. About HackHealth: HackHealth is a 12-weeks after-school program lead by iPAC Associate Director Dr. Mega Subramaniam and iPAC Assistant Director Dr. Beth St. Jean. Researchers from the University of Maryland work with school librarians in selected middle schools to lead after-school sessions that engage disadvantaged youth in (a) conducting scientific inquiry into health maintenance and/or disease prevention and management; (b) acting as health information intermediaries; and (c) taking action based on what they learn. School librarians are important partners in this endeavor because they are trained information specialists who can teach participants effective strategies for information seeking and credibility assessment. The after-school program includes activities designed to teach youth how to look for and evaluate health-related information online, share the information with their families, and make decisions that will improve their (and their family members’) health. These activities are structured into pods and librarians can customize these pods to meet the needs of their students.