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Contest Provides Meaningful 21st Century Skills Activity for Students

A pair of middle- school students and a team of 5th graders have been awarded iPods in ProQuest's first ever SIRS Student Video Podcast Contest. The competition honors the best student-created podcast on "Leading Issues" from SIRS Researcher.  Aimed at engaging students in critical thinking, reasoned opinion and debate using the creative format of video podcasting, the competition included two categories: Inform and Persuade.  From those, a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner were selected.  This year's winners were selected from 16 finalists representing teams from elementary to high schools. 

"I was fascinated and impressed to see the level of collaboration, thought, and creativity that went into all the submissions," said Barb Beach, vice president of publishing for ProQuest.  "Behind the engaging presentation of the podcasts, each one also demonstrated careful use of relevant facts and references, and logical organization of information to inform or persuade."

The First place winner in the INFORM category is the two-person team with the podcast named "Animal Experimentation" from LaSalle Springs Middle School in Wildwood, Missouri.  Judges said the team's podcast, "led the entries with exceptional audio and visual elements that capture viewers' attention in a creative, entertaining, and well-balanced presentation of the issues surrounding animal experimentation." 

First place in the PERSUADE category goes to a team of four 5th graders from the group submitting the podcast named "Violence in Mass Media," from Kennedy Elementary School in Winder, Georgia.  Judges noted the team's "very effective presentation of the effects of violence in mass media.  The cohesive delivery and logical flow of information enhances the message in this podcast with excellent production quality and content." 

Other winning topics included: 

  • "Education,"  covered  education and the effects of not completing school: Marvin Ridge Middle School   Waxaw, NC
  • "Pop Culture," addressed  materialism among young adults: Marvin Ridge Middle School  Waxaw, NC
  • "Nuclear Energy,"  presented background about alternative energy: Lasalle Springs Middle School  Wildwood, MO  (students from this school also won 1st place in Inform)
  • "Immigration," spoke to the issue of illegal immigration: Sierra High School  Tollhouse, CA


The SIRS Student Video Podcast Contest is designed to support typical research and classroom topics done in subject areas such as current events, world affairs, government, civics, debate, journalism, media studies, and more using a popular new medium.  It enables students to connect with the issues being discussed throughout the country as part of the 2008 election process; and provides a meaningful,  creative framework for those discussions. 

SIRS Researcher covers thousands of current and enduring issues, with a special Leading Issues feature that places additional emphasis on the most-researched issues. Leading Issues not only provides the context necessary to understand an issue's origins and key points of contention, but also current articles that follow recent analysis and debate.

To view all the winning podcasts, visit  Watch for announcements regarding contests for the 2008-2009 school year.

About ProQuest
ProQuest creates specialized information resources and technologies that propel successful research, discovery, and lifelong learning. A global leader in serving libraries of all types, ProQuest offers the expertise of such respected brands as Chadwyck-Healey™, UMI®, SIRS®, and eLibrary®. With Serials Solutions®, Ulrich's™, RefWorks®, COS™, Dialog® and now Bowker® part of the ProQuest brand family, the company supports the breadth of the information community with innovative discovery solutions that power the business of books and the best in research experience.

More than a content provider or aggregator, ProQuest is an information partner, creating indispensable research solutions that connect people and information. Through innovative, user-centered discovery technology, ProQuest offers billions of pages of global content that includes historical newspapers, dissertations, and uniquely relevant resources for researchers of any age and sophistication—including content not likely to be digitized by others. Inspired by its customers and their end users, ProQuest is working toward a future that blends information accessibility with community to further enhance learning and encourage lifelong enrichment.

For more information, visit or the ProQuest parent company website,

29 May 2008

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