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CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Palau

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Flag of Palau, via CultureGrams

The new Palau report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Palau:

  • Palau includes around 250 islands, but only about 10 of them are inhabited.
  • Palau does not have a military force of its own. The United States is responsible for its defense under an agreement between the two countries.
  • Bachel are stone disks or beads with a hole carved in the middle. They were traditionally used as a form of money in Palau and are now passed between families for important events, such as funerals, weddings, or births.
  • Palau gained its independence in 1994.

Read about life as a kid in Palau, holiday celebrations, and typical meals, all in this colorful new report.

Coming Soon: The New eLibrary!

Launching at the end of 2017, the new eLibrary is a completely re-imagined, redesigned experience to more efficiently guide novice researchers to identify their research topic and find authoritative information to support their research claim. See the upgraded features:

Featured Research Topics help users get started quickly

Editor’s Picks and Trending Research Topics, featured with image snapshots on the home page, help users explore and find topics quickly. Over 11,000 editor-created Research Topics are available in eLibrary and intuitive browse features guide students to their topic with a minimum of effort.

A better search experience

The new eLibrary will offer a cleaner, more appealing and visual, responsive design that will save users time regardless of device. The home page starts with a simple, single search box effortlessly guiding students to their topic and supporting content.

Simple icons help users search by Assignment or Subject

Beyond the featured Research Topics, on the home page, users can browse from one of two lists – Common Assignments and Subjects. Simple icons guide users to topics aligned to common curriculum.

Better design, better search

The highly visual and intuitive navigation gets researchers to the content they need quickly. And, the popular Research Topics feature is showcased front and center!

Trending Topics and Editors’ Picks sections are a great starting point for users to easily find a topic

• The responsively designed user interface is optimized for access on any device, 24/7

A streamlined feature-set focuses on tools that researchers actually use!

The more efficient search engine enables users to find relevant content faster

• Users can cross-search eLibrary with other ProQuest databases, improving library return-on-investment

• eLibrary content will be hosted on the award-winning ProQuest platform, and will offer two methods of access: a custom Guided Research application and as part of the unified platform, assuring ease-of-use

For more information, visit the eLibrary support page.

Fact Sheet: U.S. Teens, Politics, and Information Literacy

This is the latest in a series of posts on teaching controversial political issues to students. The previous post in this series discussed how educators can choose controversial political issues ethically.

In December 2016, the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research polled 13- to 17-year-old U.S. teenagers on politics and government, civic engagement, and information literacy. Here is an overview of the results:

Politics and government. Overall, teenagers have a pessimistic view of U.S. politics and government. About 8 in 10 believe the nation is divided on important values. Many teenagers find little commonality with those who are different from them, such as people who live in other geographical areas and people in other political parties. Additionally, a majority of teenagers have negative views on the system and functioning of government, including how political leaders are chosen and the ability of government to solve problems. Despite teenagers’ pessimistic views, over half believe that the American dream still exists, and most have positive or neutral views on the future of the country.

Civic engagement. Teenagers have a high level of civic engagement. In fact, almost 9 in 10 teenagers have taken part in at least one civic activity, the most popular being volunteering and raising money for a cause. Fewer teenagers are involved politically, perhaps unsurprisingly given their age and their views on politics and government. A majority have never expressed their political beliefs online, and a whopping 88 percent have never participated in a protest, march, or demonstration (though this may have changed some given the high number of protests, marches, and demonstrations in recent months).

Information literacy. A majority of teenagers reported learning about information literacy skills in school, but a sizable number of teenagers said they have not. One-third had never discussed how to evaluate the trustworthiness of online content. Some 40 percent never discussed the value of evaluating evidence used to support opinions. And 42 percent never discussed how to find varying social and political viewpoints online.

There are some lessons to be learned from this poll. First, civic engagement is high among teenagers, but this fails to translate into political participation. Educators should focus on teaching students how they can be a part of the political system and effect change. Second, teenagers believe that they have little in common with those who are different from them. Educators can help break down barriers and close this empathy gap by exposing students to different people, ideas, and viewpoints. And third, too few students are learning the necessary information literacy skills, especially as they relate to cyberspace. With the spread of fake news, educators should prioritize strengthening information literacy skills for the digital age.

Stay tuned for more posts in this series on teaching controversial political issues to students.

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SIRS Issues Researcher is a pro/con database that helps students understand today’s controversial political issues with editorially selected analysis and opinions that cover the entire spectrum of viewpoints.

Don’t have SIRS Issues Researcher? Free trials are available.

New Micronesia Interviews on CultureGrams

Images by: Karyn Sorenson [via CultureGrams Gallery]

Here at CultureGrams, we are continuously adding a variety of new and interesting content to our product. We most recently added two new interviews from The Federated States of Micronesia.

CultureGrams features a collection of over 400 interviews that reflect the experiences and perspectives of people from around the world. Be sure to keep an eye out for more new interviews coming this year!

Here are two excerpts from our newest CultureGrams interviews:

Wilika, age 17 from Chuuk, Micronesia

“Since I grew up here on my island, I love to eat local food made from what we grow on my island. One of my favorites is mashed taro, which looks like mashed potatoes except it is more reddish in color. Mashed taro is one of the main common dishes for people on my island, especially the older people. These are still the favorite for many people from my island who live in Guam, Hawaii, and the United States mainland. They always ask their family to bring these when they travel.”

 

Henry, age 50 from Weno, Micronesia

“There is a great difference for me as opposed to how my parents grew up on this island. The ways of life are completely different. The culture is slowly changing and there is greater mobility, as many people leave their homes and relocate to the city center, where they can find better employment opportunities, education, and health care. The way of life has slowly evolved, and some cultural traditions are breaking down. For example, the extended family, which was once highly regarded, is drifting apart as immediate families adopt more Western living styles. There is also more cultural integration as we pick up elements from the cultures we come into contact with.”

 

Find more interviews from countries all over the world in the CultureGrams Interviews gallery!

Don’t have CultureGrams? Request a free trial.

Find Primary Sources in ProQuest’s Guided Research Resources

Educators need to prepare students with information literacy and learning skills for college and the global marketplace. Common Core State Standards address this need through an emphasis on students’ ability to read and understand informational text. Standards require students to learn how to analyze text, make inferences, cite evidence, interpret vocabulary, and determine authoritative sources.

As students learn how to analyze sources, primary sources are key tools to help them learn to ask questions, think critically, and draw conclusions based on evidence.

ProQuest’s suite of Guided Research resources is your solution to prepare students to think critically with a wealth of primary and secondary sources.

ProQuest Research Companion

 

Start with ProQuest Research Companion to access 80+ short videos, nine learning modules, and assessment quizzes to teach students everything they need to know to be information literate and ready to research. For a lesson on primary sources, use this short video on primary and secondary sources.


 CultureGrams

CultureGrams Interview

Interview transcript of Hawa from Djibouti.
Image via CultureGrams.

CultureGrams is a primary source product with editions (World, States, Kids, and Provinces) that offer profiles of countries, U.S. states, and Canadian provinces. CultureGrams editors recruit native or long-term residents of the target culture to serve as writers and/or reviewers for each report, ensuring all reports are first-hand accounts and therefore primary sources. Also see supplementary features that provide more primary source material through photos, videos, interviews, statistics, and recipes.


 eLibrary

platform shoes

Video clip from 1973 chronicles the fashion “craze” of the platform shoe
and warns of the shoe’s dangers to feet and legs.
Source: MPI Video via ProQuest eLibrary

Besides a treasure trove of secondary sources and editor-created Research Topics, eLibrary offers collections of primary sources. A History in Documents (Oxford University Press) present a mixture of textual and visual primary source documents. MPI Videos provide insights into topics as diverse as world affairs, fashion, sports, and the arts from various periods in the twentieth century. And the Getty Historical Image collection highlights hundreds of iconic images from the twentieth century.


SIRS Issues Researcher

Primary sources can be narrowed in the results list. Image via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher.

SIRS Issues Researcher is the premier source for background and analysis of nearly 350 Leading Issues. Analysis and background include primary sources. Start with the SIRS Common Core Guide: Understanding Primary Sources, the step-by-step activity guide to help students analyze primary sources. Every search result can be narrowed by primary sources to find historical documents, speeches, editorial cartoons, and more.


 SIRS Discoverer

In the News, a monthly editorial cartoon feature in Spotlight of the Month Image via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer.

As an online reference source for elementary and middle school, SIRS Discoverer offers primary and secondary sources at a lower reading level than SIRS Issues Researcher, its sister product. Each document is hand-selected at an appropriate Lexile level for its target audience. Access historical primary source maps, graphs, and images in the graphics tab of any search. Find engaging editorial cartoons in the activities section, through search, and via the Spotlight of the Month.

Contact us for more information on how these Guided Research resources can fill your primary source needs or sign up for one of our free monthly webinars.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Montserrat

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Flag of Montserrat, via CultureGrams

The new Montserrat report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Montserrat:

  • Montserrat is one of the smallest island nations in the world. It covers just 39 square miles (101 square kilometers).
  • Goat water is the national dish of Montserrat. It is a goat meat stew cooked in a metal or tin pot over a wood fire and often served at weddings, funerals, and other special events.
  • The highest point on the island is the dome of the Soufrière Hills volcano. The volcano began erupting in 1995 and went on to destroy the southern half of the island, blanketing it in ash and making it uninhabitable.
  • English is the official language of Montserrat because the island was settled by Irish colonists in the 1600s.

Read about life as a kid in Montserrat, holiday celebrations, and the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano, all in this colorful new report.

6 Reasons Why Editorial Cartoons Are an Essential Teaching Tool

“One strong editorial cartoon is worth a hundred solemn editorials.”
—William Zinsser, On Writing Well

daily-paper-464015_1920

CC0 Public Domain, via Pixabay

My seventh-grade social studies teacher gave extra credit to students who brought in editorial cartoons for class discussions. Luckily for me, stacks of newspapers were common in my house. My father was a printing-press operator and a newspaper addict. We got three newspapers daily and sometimes more when my father couldn’t resist a newsstand. So I got a lot of extra credit that year.

Editorial cartoons are all that I remember from that class. My newspaper monopoly aside, I remember being captivated by grown-up cartoons and wanted to understand them, which is how I became interested in current events and issues. I still get excited when I see editorial cartoons. An astute cartoon is an oasis in a wit-starved world.

To accompany our Editorial Cartoons Curriculum Guide, here are six reasons why editorial cartoons are an enduring curriculum essential.

Why do you think editorial cartoons are an essential teaching tool?

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter #ProQuest or in the comments below.

ProQuest editors are continually adding editorial cartoons to ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher. Don’t have it? Request a trial.

Let’s Debate…Federal Funding of the Arts

Federal funding of the arts–which encompasses visual art, performing arts, cultural events and programming, public television, public radio, and more–has been a politically debated issue for decades. Want to learn more about both sides? Check out the infographic below. Then explore more by visiting SIRS Researcher‘s new Leading Issue Public Funding of the Arts.

 

SIRS Issues Researcher is a pro/con database that helps students understand today’s controversial political issues with editorially selected analysis and opinions that cover the entire spectrum of viewpoints.

Don’t have SIRS Issues Researcher? Free trials are available.

CultureGrams: New Dominican Republic Interviews!

Boca Chica beach, Dominican Republic

Boca Chica beach, Dominican Republic [via CultureGrams Photo Gallery]

We’ve added three new interviews from the Dominican Republic to our CultureGrams Interviews collection! Each interview captures different viewpoints about life in the Dominican Republic from people of various ages living in the northern coastal city of Puerto Plata:

These interviews by country natives are not only interesting and fun to read, but they also give students insider knowledge into what life and culture in the country are really like.

Here’s an example from the interview with Alfonso, in which he describes what being a citizen of the Dominican Republic means to him:

AlfonsoBeing a citizen of the Dominican Republic means living in an amazing country. You get to enjoy the beautiful scenery, food, and people. The views are amazing. There is a little bit of everything for everyone. If you like the beach, there are amazing beaches all around the country. If you like the mountains, there are gorgeous peaks in the north and center of the island. If you like hot and dry, the south and west areas are just the right place for you. Also, the food is amazing. The seasoning and ingredients used in the variety of traditional dishes are amazing. Whether its eggs for breakfast or a five-course meal, it’s always amazing. And the people are amazing and kind—always happy and ready to have a good time. Being with Dominican people is never boring.

Find more interviews from countries all over the world in the CultureGrams Interviews gallery!

Don’t have CultureGrams? Request a free trial.

Just in Time for Back-to-School: 9 New Leading Issues from SIRS Issues Researcher

The pro-con format of our Leading Issues helps students pick a topic and understand its context with overviews, essential questions, statistics, global perspectives, viewpoints, supporting arguments, and critical thinking prompts. The editors at ProQuest were busy this summer selecting articles and graphics, creating and updating timelines, and adding new Leading Issues to ensure your students and patrons have the most up-to-date and relevant content on current controversial issues.

Introduce your student researchers to these engaging new Leading Issues:

The Arts: New main category (Sub-issues: Art and Cultural Repatriation, Arts Censorship, Banned Books, Music Lyrics, Popular Culture, Public Funding of the Arts, Violence in Mass Media)

Abortion Funding: Are U.S. policies like the Mexico City Policy, which restrict federal funding to global health organizations that provide abortions or abortion information, a good idea?

Driverless Vehicles: Do the benefits of driverless vehicles outweigh the risks?

Net Neutrality: Are net-neutrality rules necessary?

Prescription Drug Prices: Should the government take steps to lower prescription drug prices?

Public Funding of the Arts: Should the government allocate federal funds in support of the arts and art programs?

Sharing Economy: Should the sharing economy be regulated?

Transgender Children: Should children be allowed to transition to the gender they identify with?

U.S.-Mexico Border Wall: Should the U.S. build a wall along the border with Mexico?

Driverless Vehicles Leading Issue in SIRS Issues Researcher

The following Leading Issues have also been updated, and new Essential Questions added in some cases, to reflect the current focus of the controversy:

Child Care, Digital Media, Dietary Supplements, Epidemics, Human Smuggling, Indigenous Peoples, Pipelines, Poverty, International (main issue), Privacy and the Press, Refugees, Reporters and Shield Laws, School Choice, Social Media, and Women in the Military.

 

Which Leading Issues topics are most popular with your students? Are there any topics you would like to have added? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us with #ProQuest.

ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to think critically about current issues. Free trials are available.

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