Putting the A in Authentic Research: Partnering With Students, Teachers and Libraries

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Listen and learn : Lecture

Melinda Darrow  
Carolyn Foote  

Learn how a librarian and art history teacher grew students' authentic research questions into an opportunity for connected learning. A partnership that started in Google Classroom (and Zoom) led to larger collaborations with librarians at the Smithsonian museums and Library of Congress and culminated in a research trip to D.C.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Library media specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Mac
Tablet: iOS
Topic: Library/media
Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: Performing/visual arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.
For Students:
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
  • Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Challenge: How to make research authentic and how to deepen students' research skills
Technology Tools: Google Classroom, Zoom, Smithsonian Libraries, Library of Congress

Participants will learn keys to building a successful collaboration between teachers/librarians and how to support students in building authentic research questions.
Participants will learn the free materials available to every educator via the Smithsonian and Library of Congress.
Participants will learn how conferencing and coaching with students by a team led to deeper learning by students.
Participants will learn how they could replicate this project with the help of grants and free resources.
Student quotes about the success of this project will be shared.


Intro: Presenters and philosophy 5 min
Background information on project: 5 min
The role of Google Classroom and Zoom and how tools allowed dialogue - 10 min
Planning and executing collaboration with Smithsonian and LOC - 10 min
How other schools can replicate - 10 min
Student input and reflections - 5 min.

Audience uses to brainstorm problems for authentic research(beginning)
Audience pair/share "how can others replicate"

Supporting research

Comprehension and Collaboration by Harvey Smokey Daniels. (news story about this project)

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Melinda Darrow, Westlake High School

Melinda Darrow taught English and Art History and is becoming a high school librarian. She created two post-Advanced Placement Art History courses, growing the program from 6 to 300 students. She was named Westbank Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year, won an ALA Collaboration Award, and was elected Teacher of the Year in the two districts in which she taught. She earned teaching awards from Yale and Stanford, is an AP Reader, and has presented at NCTE and NAEA. She founded and directs the Girls Education Organization Foundation in Rwanda and International Arts in Education in India.

Carolyn Foote, Independent

Carolyn Foote is a former District Librarian in Eanes ISD in Austin, Texas, and is currently a "free - range" librarian and library consultant. She is passionate about libraries, library and classroom space design, library leadership, and student voice/choice. She is a 2013 White House Champion of Change for Connected Learning, and won the AASL Library Collaboration Award in 2019. Her writing can be found at her blog Not So Distant Future (, and in numerous articles in journals. She is a frequent ISTE presenter.

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