Gale in Context: For Educators | Reference Database Review

SLJ reviews the latest addition to the Gale suite of databases, this one aimed toward educators. 


Grade Level  Professional

Cost  Pricing is subscription-based and calculated using full-time enrollment. It varies based on the number of In Context products currently available through the state or district. Institutions wishing to purchase multiple In Context products will receive special pricing.

Content  This instructional database offers ready-to-use lesson plans with opportunities for differentiation and cross-curricular connections. The instructional materials are aligned to national and state standards and are available in different media. They can include academic journal articles, newspapers, primary sources, podcasts, images, videos, textbooks, and case studies. Instructors can create a digital learning experience that is personalized for students and provides real-world engagement.

When logging in, users will see the familiar Gale layout with a few differences. A search field prominently displayed in the center-left of the screen serves as a versatile starting point for users, where a keyword search retrieves resources from across Gale’s databases. A menu of four browsing options is located on the upper right-hand corner: Curriculum Standards, Subjects, Lesson Plans, and My Class ­Resources.Scrolling down the page presents users with organization and sharing opportunities in Folders. A Learning Center where educators can watch tutorial videos for how to effectively navigate and use the ­database is featured further down.

The keyword search on the homepage retrieves information in various media, such as academic journals and videos. When clicking on one of the search results, the selection will open, and educators then have several customizing options that include entering an Instructor’s Note at the top of the page, as well as highlighting portions of text and adding annotations intended for students. These resources can be saved to Folders, ready for future lessons. Saved resources can be shared with students in several ways and contain any customization educators have added to the resource. Students can implement Gale’s accessibility tools, such as font size and translation, as well as productivity tools, including highlighting and notes. Student work can be saved to their Google Drives.

The Folders feature is a convenient option for curating lesson resources. All database resources and materials can be saved to Folders. Educators can modify what materials can be shared with students using the Visible to Students option within the folder. Customizable tags can also be added to the contents in the folder for at-a-glance organization. External URLs and personal files can be added to support the folder’s instructional materials, and Collaborate grants ­access to colleagues.

Browsing for content can be carried out through Curriculum Standards, a menu option available on the database homepage. This section features national and state standards by subject. When the educator finds their targeted standard, clicking See Resources, an option located next to each standard, retrieves ­standard-specific resources and lesson plans. Resource ­results can include various media. Lesson plans are assigned by grade level and include objectives, vocabulary, a 5E model lesson sequence, plus a check for understanding assessment. Subjects is another featured menu option on the database homepage menu where users can browse through resources for lesson planning. In this section, subjects are available by elementary, middle school, and high school levels, and range from English Language Arts to Social and Emotional Learning. To personalize learning, subject results can be filtered by selecting ­Leveled Documents, which narrows down the search results to include articles that can be adjusted according to Lexile level, a useful tool for differentiation.

Lesson Plans, another homepage menu option, is where educators can directly search for ready-to-use lesson plans; currently, the database houses about 1,100 of these, with plans to add more soon. Filters such as grade level and lesson type can be used to narrow down results. Lesson plans can be saved to Folders and shared with colleagues for coteaching.

Students and Teachers  Gale in Context: For Educators is compatible with many commonly used learning management systems, such as Canvas, Schoology, and Google Classroom. The content supports educators in their endeavors to provide a variety of resources to students with real-world connections and personalized content. Because resources come in a variety of formats that include articles, images, videos, podcasts, and primary sources, they can be used for cross-curricular and project-based learning. Ready-to-use lesson plans are accessible through simplified keyword search and browsing options.

Verdict  This is a user-friendly and efficient interface that educators will appreciate for its relevant supplemental materials that provide a connection to real-world engagement, lend themselves to personalized learning, and are compatible with most online learning management systems. Browsing and curation are made easy through national and state standards or subject areas, and differentiation is possible through a variety of accessibility features and Lexile levels. This is an excellent addition to a Gale subscriber’s collection of databases.

Alexandra Cornejo, Harlingen School of Health Professions, TX

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