Pathfinder Assignment






Critical analysis and reflection of the creation of the electronic pathfinder



This assignment has involved the making of a web-page pathfinder to be used at Namadgi School Middle School section for Year 8 Vikings. This pathfinder assignment is being completed to be used in actual middle school setting. The topic has been chosen as it is an area that is new to many of the history teachers. This paper will discuss curricular topics, search strategies, how to enhance information literacy and what I have learned in the process.


Discussion of curricular topic and projected learning outcomes of your specified group of students when using this pathfinder as an aid.

The Year 8 History course concentrates on the end of the ancient period to the beginning of the modern period, c.650 CE – c.1750 CE, when major civilisations around the world first started to come in contact with one another. (ACARA, 2013a) Students are to develop their historical knowledge, understanding and skills through the use of inquiry questions and interpreting sources.

This pathfinder is to assist students in constructivist learning, where students do not merely repeat the knowledge of the teacher, but are the constructors of their own knowledge. (Herring, 2011) Students can create their own guiding questions for assignments, where they examine sources and come up with their own conclusions. In the Year 8 achievement standard, by the end of Year 8, students will develop questions to frame an historical inquiry. They analyse, select and organise information from primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence to answer inquiry questions. Students develop texts, particularly descriptions and explanations, incorporating analysis. (ACARA, 2013a)

This is why I have chosen to look at two of the General Capabilities (GCs) – Literacy and Critical and creative thinking. Throughout the pathfinder I have annotated the sources, briefly describing the theory behind the resource where possible so that students can choose sources that conflict to communicate their view.


Include your search strategies and tools and your evaluation of these tools.

The greatest help finding these resources was collaboration. Excellent teacher librarians should collaborate with teachers to plan and implement information literacy and literature programs that result in positive student learning outcomes. (ALIA, 2004)

Of use here was the section of study on search engines. Two documents used include Infopeople’s Search tools chart (Infopeople, 2012) and Lindberg’s comparison chart. (Lindberg, 2006) I tried out a variety of search engines before settling on Duck Duck Go to recommend to students.

When searching for online resources for this pathfinder I used Boswell’s advice. (Boswell, 2010) I used two search engines (Google and Duck Duck Go) and one metasearch engine (Dogpile). I used the advanced features of these sites.


How will your pathfinder enhance students’ use of information literacy?

Information literacy (IL) is the set of skills and knowledge that allows us to find, evaluate and use the information we need as well as to filter out the information we don’t. (Eisenberg, 2008). I have created this pathfinder to help students find quality resources and to model good practice. I have included the CARS model checklist (Harris & Spinks, 2007) for students to use when they find other resources. I have also included a guide for writing and directed students to Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process Model. (Pickering Thomas, Crow & Franklin, 2011)

Another way to enhance students’ information literacy was to include a ‘readability guide’ into each of the resource tabs. This will help to encourage students to examine the resources that are appropriate to them. The idea is not to scare students off by guiding them to a resource that is too difficult for them.


What have you learned in the process?

Most importantly I have learned how to create a website. This is something I have not done before. I found this process quite easy to do and am proud of the website. I hope to promote the role of the Teacher Librarian (TL) by producing more of these workable documents.

First decision was to produce either a website or a wiki. I have decided on a website despite Valenza’s article. (Valenza, 2013) The Weebly site has all the criteria she has mentioned. Documents can be added. A blog could be added. Sites can be linked easily. Administrators can be added.

I have had to consider website design in making my website easy to use. I have ensured that I have no more than six pages in the main menu. (Coombs, 2013) To do this I have had to have two drop down menus. I have only very minimal picture content and have used a very neutral colour scheme and square font type. I hope this makes the site easy to read and use for all students. I am aware of copyright and have taken care to reference material and not include anything that could breach this. I emailed Kids.Net.Au asking permission to use their logo which they granted. I have kept a copy of this email. I took a personal photo for the image on the Home page.


I am happy with the document I have produced. I have completed the readings and included all necessary information to make this a workable document that can promote the role of the TL and create a demand for collaboration in the school. I hope to use it as a template to produce more documents like this. 



ACARA. (2013a). F – 10 Curriculum: Year 8. Retrieved from

ACARA. (2013b). F-10 Curriculum: General capabilities. Retrieved from

Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from

Boswell, W. (2010) Web Search Made Simple: How to Search The Web Faster, Easier, and More Efficiently. Retrieved from

Coombs, B. (2013). ETL501: Web design basics [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University School of Information Services website

Eisenberg, M. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age. DESIDOC Journal of Library and Information Technology. 28(2) pp. 39-47

Harris, R. & Spinks, A. (2007) The C.A.R.S Checklist for evaluating Internet Sources. Retrieved from

Herring, J.E. (2011) Improving students’ web use and information literacy. London: Facet Publishing

InfoPeople. (2012). Search tools chart. Retrieved from

Lindberg, G. (2006) Comparison chart. Evaluating search engines for and with K-12 students. Retrieved from

Pickering Thomas, N. Crow, S. & Franklin, L. (2011). Information literacy and information skills instruction: Applying research to practice in the 21st century school library, 3rd Edition. California: Libraries Unlimited.

Valenza, J. (2013) Ten reasons your your next pathfinder should be a wiki. Retrieved from

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