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MLA8 Means Changes...Are Coming! Lifelong Learning Skills for High School Students

Written by Emily Rozmus on Friday, 07 October 2016. Posted in Posts

In Spring of 2016, MLA (Modern Language Asscoiation) published their 8th version of MLA style - an update that addresses documenting sources in the digital era. Rather than ask for the version of the source of the publication's format, MLA8 addresses the practical likelihood that most formats are combined - a poem or song online could have com from a print book or an album cover. Therefore, the indication of whether the source is print or web-based has been deleted in MLA8.  The core components for a citation in MLA8 are 

INFOhio is currently working with our vendors to ensure that the citations that accompany articles, transcripts, biographies and other information are updated to reflect MLA8. In the meantime, however, there are several ways that you can help your students understand that citation styles do change and that it is important to be aware of possible updates.  

Use Purdue OWL's MLA Eighth Edition: What's New and Different as a guide for your high school learners. Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) is an information-rich site that is ideal for students who are preparing for college and career readiness. Ask students to read and discuss in groups the information from the web page. In groups, students can outline what they see are the biggest changes to MLA, and provide examples from resources such as books in your classroom, or articles found using a search engine.

Then, ask students to use ISearch, and using a current event or classroom topic, find an article and click View/Download to access it. Once there, students should click on the citation button on the right of the screen to view the citation provided.  


Now, students should compare what they have learned about MLA8 to the citation they have found.  Has this database updated their citations yet? How can they tell? If it hasn't been updated, what needs to be changed in order for the citation to use MLA8? Then share your recommendations for what students should do in this situation. Remind students that all citation helpers, whether from an INFOhio database, EasyBib, or other tool, are rough drafts of citations. Students are always responsible for making sure their citations are correct. How can they ensure that the format they are using is updated? Who is most likely to notice if it isn't correct? Why do the students need to care? Brainstorm with the class to develop steps to take that will help them accurately cite sources not only in high school, but later on in college classes and careers.  

Being aware of the ever-changing world around them - whether live or virtual - is a key characteristic for life-long learners. Encourage your students to explore and think about their information sources, and the ways in which they can share what they know.

About the Author

Emily Rozmus

Emily Rozmus

Emily Rozmus has been an Integration Librarian for INFOhio since December 2013. Before this, she was the district librarian and high school English teacher for Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools. In her 20 years there, she worked on teams to implement curriculum, develop district growth plans, integrate technology, create instruction for information literacy, and foster teacher development. At INFOhio, she focuses on helping educators use INFOhio resources to improve early literacy. Her work has resulted in instructional "bags" for Ohio teachers, early literacy webinars, partnerships with like-minded agencies, and numerous statewide presentations to teachers, administrators, and educational leaders in Ohio. In her free time, she reads, enjoys time with her husband and three teenaged children, and plans for her next big adventure in life.

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