We love connecting with students and teachers, during or after school. Our chat service is available 24/7 and students may also email us for responses within a few days.
Answerland librarians help students find resources for their assignments and research projects, and share search strategies and starting resources.
It is important to note that this service is not a replacement for school library staff or for information literacy instruction.
Introducing Students to Answerland
Students get more out of Answerland if they know what to expect. The first time students use Answerland, it should be to find out what, who, or when. Examples of assignments include:
- researching biographies
- state reports
- country reports
How and why questions are also welcome, but students coming to Answerland for the first time can become disappointed and frustrated that we don’t answer those questions directly.
Using Answerland in the Classroom
Answerland is not set up to handle a full class logging on to chat at one time. That’s because at any one time, there are only one to three librarians staffing the service. Often, it can take 20 minutes or more for librarians to provide a complete answer to a question.
If you want to demonstrate to students how to use the service, we recommend that you determine as a class the question you want to ask, and while projecting the Answerland chat box, have one student engage with the Answerland librarian while the others watch. That way you can also coach appropriate responses. Then as students hit roadblocks in their research, they can individually use Answerland as the need arises.
It helps if you give Answerland staff a heads-up about demos by contacting us.
Information to Share with Students
- Ask detailed questions.
- Meh: I need help about salmon. (What about salmon are you studying? You’ve probably found some information already, so what specific information do you need?)
- Better: I am studying what has contributed to the decline of the salmon population in Oregon. I believe one factor is warmer river temperatures, but I cannot find a good article to support that theory. Will you please help me find information about that?
- For homework problems, like for students who are having difficulty with an algebra problem, Answerland librarians will not explain how to solve the problem. Instead, they will point students to resources that should help them learn the concept. A paid service like Tutor.com provides step-by-step help with homework like solving math problems and writing essays. Some public libraries subscribe to Tutor.com or similar services, so check your local library’s offerings.
- Beyond assignments, Answerland librarians can help with book recommendations and other fun things like gaming tips and song lyrics.
- Sometimes an answer cannot be found instantly, so Answerland librarians might ask students for an email address so they get back to them.
- Remember online etiquette. Answerland librarians are real people. Manners are appreciated, and most often, inappropriate behavior can be traced.