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Archive for the ‘SIRS Issues Researcher’ Category

Poll: Should More Be Done to Regulate Fake News?

Strengthening information literacy skills is one way to fight the spread of fake news. However, according to a recent Pew Research poll, many Americans also believe that social media sites, search engines, and the government have a responsibility to stop fake news. Facebook, widely criticized for its role in spreading fake news, recently announced efforts to tackle the problem. Critics, though, argue that this approach could lead to censorship.

The “That’s Debatable!” poll, a popular polling feature in SIRS Issues Researcher, has been asking users all month whether fake news should be regulated. So far, users have overwhelmingly voted yes: fake news should indeed be regulated. What do you think? Should social media sites, search engines, and the government regulate fake news? Or is it the responsibility of news consumers to identify fake news on their own? Take our poll, and tell us what you think.

Are your students equipped with the information literacy skills to identify fake news? ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to learn information literacy skills. Free trials are available.

Top Trending Pro/Con Leading Issues of 2016

2016. What a year. Let’s take a look at some of the pro/con Leading Issues that dominated SIRS Issues Researcher’s featured trending list in 2016.

In 2017, ProQuest editors will continue to create new Leading Issues and update existing ones.

As always, we thank you for your support, and we look forward to serving you and your students in 2017 and beyond.

Don’t have SIRS Issues Researcher? Request a free trial.

Happy 45th Anniversary Capitol Reef National Park!

“National parks are America’s largest classrooms.”–National Park Service

A visit to a national park, actual or virtual, is a valuable learning experience. The state of Utah offers abundant learning opportunities as home to five national parks: Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. This week marks the 45th anniversary of Capitol Reef being established as a national park. On Aug. 2, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Capitol Reef a national monument. President Richard M. Nixon signed legislation establishing Capitol Reef as a national park on Dec. 18, 1971. I would like to commemorate Capitol Reef’s anniversary by sharing some interesting facts about this beautiful park.

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park
(Credit: Michelle Brault)

Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure located in south-central Utah. Capitol Reef received its name because early settlers observed that the white domes of Navajo Sandstone resembled the dome of the U.S. Capitol building. Prospectors in the area called Waterpocket Fold, a ridge in the earth’s crust, a reef because it was a difficult barrier to transportation. The park encompasses 241,904 acres. It is the state’s newest and least-visited national park, attracting almost 750,000 visitors every year.

I recently got to explore this often overlooked park, and I can tell you that if you take the time to visit this wondrous place, you won’t be disappointed. The park contains colorful canyons, red sandstone cliffs, ancient Fremont petroglyphs, diverse wildlife, the historic Fruita orchards, and amazing geological features. Capitol Reef National Park is defined by the Waterpocket Fold. The classic monocline extends for nearly 100 miles. The majestic park’s prominent landmarks include Cassidy Arch, Chimney Rock, Hickman Bridge, Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Moon, and my personal favorite, the Castle.

The Castle in Capitol Reef National Park

The Castle in Capitol Reef National Park
(Credit: Michelle Brault)

I was impressed by Capitol Reef’s geologic features, but I was equally impressed with the park’s unique history. People have lived in the area of Capitol Reef for thousands of years. The earliest inhabitants of the Capitol Reef area were archaic hunters and gatherers, the Fremont people, and Mormon pioneers who settled in the area that is now known as the Fruita Rural Historic District.

As much as I enjoyed learning about the park’s history and seeing the spectacular scenery, because I am an animal lover, the highlight of my visit was spotting mule deer. Capitol Reef is home to 71 mammal species, 239 bird species, 15 reptiles, 13 native fish species, and 5 amphibians.

I am so grateful that 45 years ago, Capitol Reef was reclassified as a national park. Since there are so many gorgeous destinations to visit in Utah, I have a feeling that if Capitol Reef had remained a monument, there is a chance I would have missed out on this remarkable place.

Take your students on a virtual field trip to Capitol Reef National Park! Explore these resources available in ProQuest eLibrary and SIRS Issues Researcher:

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park Research Topic

Utah Forests and Parks Research Topic

Remembering Walt Disney

50 years ago today, the world mourned the loss of one of its most beloved figures. Walter Elias Disney died of acute circulatory collapse brought on by lung cancer. He passed away at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, California on Dec. 15, 1966. He was 65 years old.

Disney had undergone surgery for the removal of a lung tumor on Nov. 21. The tumor was discovered while he was being treated at the hospital for an old neck injury he had sustained during a polo match. He returned to St. Joseph’s Hospital for a “post-operative checkup” on Nov. 30. He remained in the hospital until his death.

Walt Disney Research Topic

Walt Disney Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Walt Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois on Dec. 5, 1901. Walt Disney is regarded as one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry during the 20th century. He created the beloved cartoon character Mickey Mouse and revolutionized the theme park industry by building Disneyland. Walt was an innovator and visionary leader who became a cultural icon.

He co-founded the media conglomerate that is now known as The Walt Disney Company with his brother Roy O. Disney in 1923. He was a pioneer in the animation industry, a film and television producer, an entrepreneur, and a dreamer. He was even the original voice of Mickey Mouse.

Although Walt Disney has been dead for 50 years, his legacy lives on. Generations of children have grown up watching his animated classics and live-action films, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Mary Poppins. Millions of people, including myself continue to enjoy his theme parks each year and The Walt Disney Company has become an entertainment empire.

On the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney’s death, I encourage you to explore more about his life and legendary career by checking out these resources available in ProQuest eLibrary and SIRS Issues Researcher:

Disneyland Research Topic

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Walt Disney

Walt Disney

Walt Disney Research Topic

Walt Disney Company Research Topic

Walt Disney World Research Topic

Walter Elias Disney

Training for Your ProQuest Resources

Libraries see surge in e-book demandDon’t forget that ProQuest provides free training.  Our Training and Consulting Partners team is available at any time to meet with you via a privately scheduled webinar.  Just email us to make an inquiry.  We also provide regularly scheduled public webinars.  You can contact our team to discuss your questions about ProQuest resources, and we are also happy to focus privately scheduled sessions on topic areas of particular interest to you. 

This is just one of the many benefits you derive from licensure to your ProQuest resources!

 

Leading Issues in the News: Police and Body Cameras

Civil rights activists have long called for police officers to wear body cameras. But recently, after seemingly endless incidents of conflicts between police and citizens–many that led to the deaths of unarmed black men and were recorded on bystanders’ cell phone videos–more cities are implementing the use of body-worn cameras for their law enforcement personnel. About a third of the nation’s 18,000 police agencies are now either testing body cameras or have embraced them to record their officers’ interactions with the public.

Police Officer with Body-Worn Camera via Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)/U.S. Department of Justice [public domain]

Police Officer with Body-Worn Camera
via Office of Community Oriented Policing Services/U.S. Department of Justice
[public domain]

Researchers from the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology published the first full scientific study of the experiment they conducted on policing with body-worn-cameras in Rialto, California in 2012. The experiment showed that evidence capture is just one output of body-worn video, and the technology is perhaps most effective at actually preventing escalation during police-public interactions: whether that is attacks on or abuse of police officers, or unnecessary use of force by law enforcement. The study found that when the officers wore body cameras, public complaints against police were down 88% compared with the previous 12 months, while the officers’ use of force fell by 60%.

While the hope is that the cameras will increase transparency, accountability and boost police-community relations, their widespread use has also raised concerns about the privacy of people caught in body camera footage. There are also important questions about public access, review, storage, tampering and disciplinary action for officers who don’t use the devices properly. The cameras are also expensive. They can range in price from $300 to $800 per officer, and monthly video storage costs can cost hundreds of thousands more. In September, the Justice Department announced $23 million in grants for a pilot program to help agencies in 32 states to expand the use of body-worn cameras and explore their impact.

Should police officers be required to use body cameras?

This is the Essential Question explored in a recent addition to SIRS Issues Researcher’s list of over 345 Leading Issues: Police and Body Cameras.

Screen Cap from SIRS Issues Researcher

Screen Cap from SIRS Issues Researcher

For all Leading Issues, SIRS Editors create an engaging Essential Question, a summary for context, viewpoint statements, plus supporting articles to help build solid foundations for understanding the issues. Thousands of hand-selected, highly targeted newspaper and magazine articles, graphics, charts, maps, primary sources, government documents, websites, multimedia, as well as critical thinking questions, and timelines help broaden student comprehension of each topic. A Research Guide is offered to help guide each student through their assignment step by step.

Educators, direct your students to the new and updated SIRS Issues Researcher to dig deeper into the topic of Police and Body Cameras. Or they can explore these related issues:

Happy Centennial, San Diego Zoo!

The San Diego Zoo is celebrating its 100th anniversary. I’ve visited the San Diego Zoo twice and both times I was amazed by the sheer size of the zoo. Located in Balboa Park, the 100-acre San Diego Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world, with more than 3,700 animals representing over 650 species and subspecies. The goal of San Diego Zoo Global, the umbrella organization for the San Diego Zoo, is to help end extinction. San Diego Zoo Global participates in more than 130 conservation projects in over 35 countries and has reintroduced 43 species into the wild. In honor of the San Diego Zoo’s centennial, here are some interesting facts about the history of the world-famous zoo.

Bai Yun, a female Giant Panda at San Diego Zoo, California

Bai Yun, a female Giant Panda at San Diego Zoo, California
By Mfield, Matthew Field, http://www.photography.mattfield.com (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), [ CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It All Started with a Roar

The idea of opening a zoo in San Diego was conceived by Dr. Harry Wegeforth. On September 16, 1916, the local physician was driving past Balboa Park with his brother, Paul, when he heard an abandoned lion roaring. The lion had been left over from an exhibit for the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition. Dr. Wegeforth said to his brother, “Wouldn’t it be splendid if San Diego had a zoo! You know…I think I’ll start one.”

Beginnings

Dr. Wegeforth, his brother, Dr. Fred Baker, Frank Stephens, and Dr. Joseph Thompson formed the Zoological Society of San Diego (now San Diego Zoo Global) on October 2, 1916. Originally, the San Diego Zoo consisted of animal exhibits left behind from the Panama-California Exposition.

In 1917, a brown female bear named Caesar became one of the first animals given to the San Diego Zoo. Caesar had been living on a Navy ship as a mascot, but after getting too rambunctious, the sailors decided to donate her to the new zoo. When Caesar arrived at the harbor, zoo officials didn’t have any trucks to transport her. Dr. Thompson, the acting director of the zoo at the time, sat her in the front seat of his roadster and drove her to her new home at the San Diego Zoo.

Zoo Exhibit Design

The San Diego Zoo became the first zoo in the United States to display animals in open-air grottoes in the 1920s. The exhibits featured large moats as an alternative to cages. This meant there were no longer bars between the zoo animals and the visiting public.

Balboa Park

The Board of Park Commissioners for the City of San Diego approved the site for the zoo in Balboa Park in 1921. The same year, Ellen Browning Scripps donated $9,000 for a fence to indicate the zoo’s designated boundaries. Her donation made it possible for the zoo to charge an admission fee of 10 cents when it had its grand opening in January 1923.

Giant Pandas Arrive

In 1987, San Diego fell in love with two giant pandas Basi and Yuan Yuan when they came to the zoo for a 200-day visit. The pandas were seen by over 2 million people during their stay. The appearance of two giant pandas outside of China was a rare event. By hosting the giant pandas, the San Diego Zoo gave people the opportunity to see the charismatic species in person and raised awareness about their endangered status.

On September 10, 1996, two giant pandas from the People’s Republic of China arrived at the San Diego Zoo. Bai Yun and Shi Shi were part of a landmark 12-year research loan agreement that has been extended multiple times. On August 21, 1999, Bai Yun gave birth to Hua Mei, who is the first surviving giant panda cub born in the United States.

The black-and-white bears remain as popular as ever among zoo visitors. I visited the San Diego Zoo in the beginning of 2016 and I believe the wait time to view the pandas was between 1-2 hours.  Unfortunately on that visit I didn’t get a chance to see the pandas because I spent too much time admiring my favorite animal–the polar bear. Have you been to the San Diego Zoo? What’s your must-see animal at the San Diego Zoo? Comment below or tweet us using #ProQuest.

If you’re not able to visit the San Diego Zoo in person, check out the zoo’s videos and live cams to see your favorite animal. To learn more about the San Diego Zoo, explore these resources available in SIRS Issues Researcher.

Animal Attractions: Amazing Tales from the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Animals

San Diego Zoo Centennial

San Diego Zoo’s Panda Cam

SIRS Knowledge Source: New Interface & Google Integration!

Just in time for back to school, SIRS Knowledge Source is updated with a brand new interface and Google integration for SIRS Issues Researcher, SIRS Government Reporter, and SIRS Renaissance.

SIRS Issues Researcher


Explore the benefits:

  • A cleaner, more streamlined, and modern appearance
  • Design optimized for viewing on mobile devices as well as desktops (i.e. responsive design)
  • Focus on the most valued content and features
  • Integration with Google Drive and Google Classroom
  • Design aligned to other popular ProQuest products like CultureGrams and SIRS Discoverer
  • Continued access to all the great SIRS content

 

zika

See the 13 New Leading Issues out of 345+ added by our editorial team covering complex social topics:

  • Biological and Chemical Terrorism
  • Concealed Weapons
  • Concussions in Sports
  • Conflict Minerals
  • Education Reform
  • Executive Pay
  • Government Ethics
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Islamic State Group (ISIS)
  • Refugees
  • Religion and Science
  • Religious Minorities
  • Zika

As evidenced by these tweets, educators are excited about the new integration between SIRS and Google Drive and Classroom!

SIRSKnowledgeSource-tweet

For more details about the interface update, visit the SIRS Issues Researcher support page.

Share the good news with your colleagues! Tweet about the new SIRS Knowledge Source @ProQuest.

Our Founding Fathers Said That?

Constitutional Convention (Granger Collecton, NY/courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/PUBLIC DOMAIN) (courtesy of SIRS Discoverer)

The United States Constitution is considered to be “the supreme law of the land.” And it has been for more than two centuries. No small feat for a document uniting the ideas of nationhood, independence, defense, general welfare, and all sorts of liberties.

This document certainly was not created alone.

Many people contributed to the development, shaping, and writing of the U.S. Constitution. Those who had the most significant impact on its outcome are considered to be the U.S. Founding Fathers (remember that this was the 18th century–women, such as Abigail Adams, influenced the Constitution, but through their husbands…a blog post for another day).

With all of the hullabaloo around the upcoming presidential election, and with all of the recent discussions on and controversies around gun rights and women’s rights and immigrants’ rights and LGBTQ rights and criminal rights and voting rights…, let’s take a listen to what some of our Founding Fathers have said about the U.S. Constitution.

First U.S. President George Washington (Gilbert Stuart/U.S. Dept. of the Interior/PUBLIC DOMAIN) (courtesy SKS)

 

“The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.”–George Washington (1732-1799)

George Washington is considered by many to be the “father of the country.” He was, after all, the nation’s first President. He served that office from 1789 to 1797. Prior to that, he was a general in the Revolutionary War and is considered to have played a pivotal role in leading the American Army to victory.

Our first president was known as a man of few and select words, as embodied by the above quote. He thoughtfully deemed the U.S. Constitution a “guide” to be followed, not the zenith or the ultimate truth.

Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson (Rembrandt Peale/U.S. Dept. of the Interior/PUBLIC DOMAIN) (courtesy SKS)

 

“Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”–Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States (1801-1809), was a terrible speaker but a terrific writer. He wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, and his input was invaluable to the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.

Jefferson was a lawyer, diplomat, naturalist, architect, educator, statesman, musician, inventor, scientist, geographer…he was fluent in many languages…he supported women’s rights, free public education, and a free library system. All in all, a brilliant and cultured man. He knew government had to be kept in check, and that the general population was essential to maintaining this stability: “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government–lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”–Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

Patrick Henry was never president, but he certainly made a name for himself as an orator, lawyer, and politician. He served as first and sixth governor of Virginia, and was instrumental in opposing the Stamp Act of 1765. In fact, he may be most famous for saying, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

This guy liked freedom.

Henry’s political priorities always aligned with affirming the general population’s rights and well-being. He was consistently against the idea of a strong central government. He initially opposed the idea of a U.S. Constitution, fearing it would jeopardize individual freedoms and state sovereignty. He only became an ardent supporter of the Constitution once the Bill of Rights was added.

Henry wanted the U.S. Constitution to serve as an “instrument” for the people, providing them with the means necessary to maintain their freedoms and hold their government accountable.

Fourth U.S. President James Madison (John Vanderlyn/U.S. Dept. of the Interior/PUBLIC DOMAIN) (courtesy SKS)

 

“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”–James Madison (1751-1836)

James Madison, fourth president of the United States (1809-1817), is considered to be the “father of the Constitution.” He had helped write Virginia’s State Constitution, the model for the U.S. Constitution. Both are grounded in his belief that the United States’ potential would be “derived from the superior power of the people.”

Madison predicted a national crisis if no Constitution was drafted. His advocacy for creating a U.S. Constitution paved the way for the Constitutional Congress.

He understood the importance of understanding and interpreting the context in which the document was written. As the context of the living documents changes, should the Constitution?

“It is every American’s right and obligation to read and interpret the Constitution for himself.”–Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Benjamin Franklin’s words could not be more timely.

Franklin–statesman, writer, scientist, philosopher, inventor, political theorist, printer–understood that true freedom in this nation began with freedom to choose for oneself.

Franklin’s highest political office was Minister to France. But as the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention, he had participated in significant events in American history, such as the signing of the peace treaty that ended the Revolutionary War, and the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

As a participant in the signing of the Constitution, Franklin shared an observation that all hoped would be a symbol for the new country. Upon seeing the sun sitting atop George Washington’s chair at the closing of the Constitutional Convention, Franklin said: “I have the happiness to know it is a rising sun and not a setting sun.”

What are your students’ thoughts about the U.S. Constitution? Find resources in SKS and SIRS Discoverer and join us throughout the month of September as we celebrate National Constitution Month.

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 celebrate our new 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.

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