|School Partnerships for Instruction, Research, and Information Technology (SPIRIT)
Director: Cathy Palmer, UCI Libraries
SPIRIT is an outreach program that seeks to teach information literacy and life-long learning skills to students and teachers, increasing their understanding and confidence in their ability to locate and use information appropriately; facilitate student and teacher access to, and use of, scholarly electronic resources; and assist students in becoming eligible and competitive to enroll at the University of California, to thrive academically while here, and to graduate.
Every year, SPIRIT hosts numerous classes from FOCUS! high school and middle schools in one of UC Irvine Libraries technology aided classrooms. Curriculum is based on collaboration between UC Irvine Libraries personnel, UC Irvine faculty and/or graduate students and the classroom teacher. Subject matter is based on students’ current middle or high school curriculum.
Students arrive at UCI in the morning and spend two hours researching their topic using a variety of electronic resources, including UC Library sponsored databases, encyclopedias and reference materials as well as carefully chosen free and credible websites. In many cases, students present oral reports which summarize their research at the end of the session. Most of the teachers have their students develop a more elaborate presentation and/or poster when they return to their classrooms. Some teachers require a term paper based on the research completed at UCI. Depending on teacher preference and availability of resources, students also participate in a secondary activity connected to their research after lunch. For example, students studying the solar system have visited UCI’s observatory courtesy of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.