Merit Network

Michigan E-Library Providing Tools for Today’s Educators

Patty Giorgio 2010 News, News

You can’t open a paper today without hearing about the budget cuts that Michigan educators have taken, and will continue to take as a result of our depressed economy. Schools throughout the country and the state are trying to figure out how to do more with less. Michigan eLibrary (MeL), under the direction of the Library of Michigan is working hard to put more tools in the hands of Michigan’s educators and citizens.

The Michigan eLibrary is a project made possible by grant funds from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and administered by the State of Michigan through the Library of Michigan. MeL puts a world of information at your fingertips and can be accessed from any computer via the Internet, 24/7. Information on issues such as starting a business, job search, medical research, homework help, and practice tests with instant scoring for ACT, SAT, GED and more can be found on the Mel web site.

On the front of one of MeL’s brochures is the question “What’s the best gift you can give to a teacher?” The answer: free access to a comprehensive collection of online educational resources. That is what MeL is providing Michigan educators. If you go online to mel.org you will find a plethora of resources for not only educators but Michigan residents as well. Everything from a statewide library catalog (MeLCat), which provides a resource sharing and borrowing service to a digital history archive (MeL Michigana) which offers digital access to valuable historical resources. MeL has put together an impressive collection of resources for the state.

MORE for Teachers

One of the most significant resources in the Michigan eLibrary can be found at more.mel.org. MORE launched in 2008, stands for Michigan Online Resources for Educators; it is a portal which provides educators with tens of thousands of quality educational web sites that are browseable, searchable and aligned to Michigan’s Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs and HSCEs).

Today’s educators are asked to do so much more with less – less time, less funding and less of just about everything. Michigan teachers from Kindergarten through High School can use MORE at no cost, allowing them to access over 60,000 high-quality, curricular based online resources. The tools provided on MORE allow teachers to be more efficient in planning for their classroom teaching while meeting Michigan Content Expectations at the same time.

Another tool provided in the MORE portal is a Lesson Plan Builder, which allows teachers to create lesson plans tailored to a specific subject and grade level as well as save and share lessons and activities with other teachers statewide. My Resource Locker enables teachers to store their favorite resources including lesson plans, online interactives and multimedia files as well as utilize a shared folder accessible by selected colleagues. There is also a Collaboration Center in MORE where educators can discuss, share resources and work together on educational issues.

Partners in Learning

The MORE portal is the result of an initial exciting partnership between the Library of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Education. In 2008-2009, the portal welcomed the addition of resources from the Verizon Foundation’s, Thinkfinity.org. This generous partnership allowed for the addition of more material from well-known and respected content partners such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, National Geographic Society and many others right into the classroom of Michigan students.

According to Deb Biggs Thomas, Michigan eLibrary Coordinator, “in May 2010 alone, the MeL website was accessed from over 60 countries. The resources provided to educators from the MeL website are not only extremely beneficial for teachers in the K-12 area, but they are also a great resource for Michigan colleges that have degree programs in education.” The resources in the MORE portal will help pre-service teachers hit the ground running in their classrooms enabling the teachers off tomorrow to be well versed in using the online tools that are being developed today.

The Library of Michigan, Merit Member since 1993, using Merit’s Michigan Teacher Network (MTN) as the building block for the Michigan Online Resources for Educators (MORE). Beginning the project in 2007, the MORE portal continues to add exceptional educational resources from Thinkfinity.org, GaleCengage Learning and others.

About Library of Michigan

The Michigan elibrary (MeL) is a project of the Library of Michigan and is an online library of databases and resources focused on information of interest to the people of Michigan. It provides all Michigan residents with access to free full-text online articles, ebooks, websites and digital images, and has a statewide catalog and interlibrary loan system which allows Michigan residents to borrow books and other library materials at no cost through participating public, academic, K12 and special Michigan libraries.