Teacher Review for EasyBib

Easybib is a useful online citation generator that helps students with the specifics of various citation styles, but fails to teach students the rules or rationale behind the format.

Eric G.
Classroom teacher
Mount Si High School
Snoqualmie, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts
My Rating
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
Until I started addressing Easybib in my class and teaching students how to use it responsibly, I often ran into essays and research projects that all had the same, incorrect (and often obscure) citation for a specific source. In response, I now always run a quick MLA-citation workshop at the start of the year. I take the time to walk my students through the whole concept of specific styles guides (MLA, Chicago, APA) and why they are used and where they will most likely encounter the need to use them. From there, I model the traditional method of using the MLA handbook to look up how to cite a specific source. I emphasize that there is no real need to memorize all of the rules, but it is important to know the basics and how to find an appropriate resource (The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a great one) to double check a citation and look up anything that may be tricky. After walking them through the basics and having them look up and create a few citations themselves, we then look at Easybib together as a class and compare the results. Students are quick to point out where Easybib is successful and where it fails to get everything correct. In the end, students understand the concepts of formatting styles, citation specifics, and learn how and where to double check whatever copy and paste product Easybib generates--all creating a bit more student ownership and understanding of a final work.
My Take
Easybib does exactly what its name suggests--it creates easy citations for bibliographies by simply plugging in a few descriptors of what ever source a student is looking to cite. After plugging in a author, title, or even an ISBN or website, Easybib churns out a formatted citation to copy and paste into a bibliography or works cited page. Students love Easybib because it takes all of the nit-pickiness out of creating MLA, APA, or Chicago style citations, but too-often students use the site without fully understanding any of the specifics of what they are generating or why a proper citation is important in research. While no one is advocating the need for all students to memorize the often-overwhelming specifics of all of the MLA's citation guidelines, it is important for students to understand the rationale behind a proper citation and the basics of what goes into it. As many teachers can attest, teaching research to today's students is often spent guiding them away from simple "copy and paste" techniques for getting their point across...Easybib, unfortunately, is all too often more of the same "here's-an-answer-I-can-easily-grab-and-insert-and-not-think-about" approach to writing. This isn't to say Easybib can't be a useful research and teaching tool. But, it is important for students to understand the basics behind citations before using the program blindly.