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The Internet and the school librarian: a description of one course
by Prof. Edna Aphek

- 2

Students' assignments:

Some of the students chose to do the assignment in pairs.
By now I have received 5 assignments by 7 students as two students chose to work individually.

Assignment topics and some students' remarks.

The topics the students chose were varied and in accordance with their own interests and practical objectives; I.e. topics that could help them either at work or in their personal, daily life.

M. a school librarian in one of the West Bank settlements, a woman in her fifties, chose the topic of Drug Prevention and the Internet. She wrote the following.

I learnt a great deal from this paper and I was very impressed by the creativity and the variety of the sites. I tried the sites on my children and the rest of my family. They also got very enthusiastic about what I found. It's a pity there aren't many good sites in Hebrew. I understand it. We are a small country. But this is an extremely important matter.

I am handing in this paper to the library in my settlement and to my nephew, who has just started working with drug addicts. I hope that my paper will help the young researches and any one who might be interested in this topic.

H. and N. one from northern Israel, the other from the south, chose anorexia nervosa as the topic of their paper.
In their summary they write the following:
We read a lot of material on the subject [anorexia] and we learnt that the best treatment of eating disorders is prevention…. We also learnt that there is a silence conspiracy as far as this topic is concerned…
It's most important that an information file on the subject of anorexia, be made available to the public. It's most desirable that this topic will be taught at school.
We found out that most sites are talking about female patients. there is little reference to the fact that there are also mail patients suffering from this illness.
It's true that about 90% of the patients are male. However, about 10% are male. The percentage of male patients is on the rise .The symptoms revealed by the male patients are more difficult and the acceptance of this illness by male patients is harder. It's important that this serious illness isn't labeled as a female illness.
Such labeling might make it difficult for the parents to face the fact and to admit that their son might be ill.
N. and I. explain their choice of the sites:
We chose the sites according to the criteria of quality, authority, relevancy, accessibility and interest.
We also checked the links from the various sites.
The sites we checked and evaluated were quite varied so that different surfers might find what they are looking for.
This and more, most of the sites we evaluated are written in the Hebrew language, as we believe that both the youngsters and their parents will prefer sites written in Hebrew.

However, we also evaluated a few sites written in English.
Each site we chose to evaluate and to include in our work contains some new information on the topic of anorexia.

S. a woman in her fifties from Eilat, a city at the bay of the Red Sea and A.a man in his forties from Jerusalem, chose to prepare a "dossier" on the Red Sea.
They posed a few guiding questions for their search, most of them too informative, to my liking.

Where is the Red Sea?
What are its characteristics?
The flora and fauna of the Red Sea.
What endangers the marine life in the Red Sea?
Who protects the Red Sea?
Their work is geared to learners in 6-9.
A. and S. didn't write any concluding remarks but rather took the reader together with them on their "virtual trip "to various sites dealing with the Red Sea.
I. and P.both women in their early fifties, from the Golan Heights, prepared an information file for religious senior students, prior to their joining the IDF. (Israeli Defense Force). They titled their paper: "A Guide for the Undecided Senior".
Army service is mandatory in Israel for both men and women.
Ultra orthodox people are exempted and so are religious girls, on certain conditions. Religious boys who aren't exempted have though a few options:

They can join:

• Hesder Yeshiva, were they learn the Torah and do their military service at the same time:
• Military preparatory
• Academic Military Cadre I.e. youngsters going to higher learning institutes prior to their military service and only when they graduate they start their full military service.
• Regular military service at the age of 18.

I. and P. serve as librarians in a Yeshiva. They felt that information about the aforementioned options is most essential for Yeshiva students, prior to their joining the army, in particular.
In the introduction to their work I. And P. write that they divided their work in two: one part geared to the Yeshiva students and the other for the course lecturer [ i.e. myself E.A]

I. and P. gave a detailed description of their search process:

They conducted their search via the following search engines in Hebrew:

http:// www.walla.co.il
http://www.nana.co.il
http://www.google.co.il
http://www.tapuz.co.il
http://www.iol.co.il

They used the following search words: Yeshivas of Higher learning, preparation for joining the IDF ( Israeli Defense Force),IDF, military preparatory, before or prior to enlisting.

I. and P. tell the reader the following: "we found many sites and chose from amongst them the ones which met the following criteria:
$ Authenticity, we evaluated the sites both from the technical and the content aspect.
$ Content sites, supplying much information and with quality hyper links."

They go on saying that they used well designed, user friendly sites, only in the Hebrew language.

An interesting comment I. And P. made is about the sites they decided not to include in their paper:

From the very first glance and reading the very initial information, we realized

We could do away with most of the sites for the following reasons:

- Sites found by the search engine, but with no connection whatsoever between their content and the search words.

- Sites which appeared several times but under different names

- Sites in foreign languages

- Sites that lacked the "contact us" and or e mail address feature

K. who can't send her son to a regular school due to health reasons, chose to write a paper on Jewish home schooling and the Internet.

Her concluding remarks are as follows:

First of all - I learnt that it's not easy, all this looking for specific information in sites after a search. It's phenomenally time consuming. At some sites I spent more than two hours trying to get the appropriate information for my task. One needs a significant "chunk" of dedicated time going through the labyrinths of a typical site trying to get things done.

Bad sites are time consuming because they are poorly configured and difficult to navigate in. Good sites are also time consuming, though. Once I finally get to a good site, I tend to get swept away, because the information is just so attractive and interesting. For example, in an astronomy site, I got drawn in pursuing things that might be interesting to my son, and I found things that interested me too.

Soon I was looking at pictures of Saturn's rings and comets and finding out all sorts of new information… meanwhile I had come to the site and fallen to the wayside in my enthusiasm.

About home schooling - the Web is definitely a good source. It is very hard to create a curriculum on your own, especially when education is not your field. There is a lot of worthwhile material out there- I really found enough stuff to keep him [my son] happy for a long time- stuff that is structured, attractively presented, and educationally sound. The work I did for this project, therefore, was not "theoretical"- it was practical. My voluminous notes will be put to good use in the months to come improving the life of an inquisitive and intelligent young man with great promise, but health limitations that prevent him from fully taking advantage of standard classroom education.

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