Tag Archives: information literacy

Blog Task #3 – Information Literacy

 

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Information Literacy: More than a set of skills?

There are many definitions of information literacy (Langford, 1998; Abilock, 2004; Herring, 2011). Depending on which definition is accepted, dictates whether one believes that information literacy is more than a set of skills or not.

Herring defines “information literacy as a critical and reflective ability to exploit the current information environment, and to adapt to new information environments” (2011, p. 63). Herring (2011) goes on to contend that information literacy is a capability and not a set of skills. Supporting this idea is Doyle (1996) and Langford (1998) who view information literacy as a concept that is built upon the attainment of particular skills via a process of learning. Information literacy involves the ability to identify an information need and then to define, locate, select, organise, present, assess (New South Wales Department of Education and Training, 2007) and use the information effectively. “Information literacy demands the ability to use critical thinking…it demands a set of skills to use to navigate various information sources and a process to follow to be successful” (University of Montana Western, 2009).

For example: turning on the computer, is a skill; being able to log on to the computer is a skill; setting up a Word document is a skill. All of these skills are part of the learning process that students need in order to develop information literacy. Information literacy is a process because there is no definitive end. However, students need to learn various skills in order to become information literate. This is because it is built on the reflective nature of the process of learning and the ability to transfer this knowledge to a new context. “Research projects should be a learning experience in which information literacy skills are integrated into the curriculum in such a way that students are able to take part in the process of creating knowledge, because learning is a process, not a product” (Purcell, 2010, p.32).

Role of the Teacher Librarian – Implementing it into the school

Accepting that information literacy is a learning process, research (Herring, 2011; Kuhlthau, 2004) suggests that the most effective teaching practice is for the teacher librarian to implement an information literacy model in collaboration with the classroom teacher. Examples include the Big 6 model, the PLUS model and the ISP model (Herring, 2011). Information literacy skills need to be taught explicitly within classroom learning programs (Australian Library and Information Association and Australian School Library Association, 2009).

Teacher librarians should be the driving force behind the successful implementation of one of these models in their school. Hay (2005) recommends that teacher librarians: support teaching and learning through a collaborative teaching structure, resource the curriculum to ensure that there is high quality print and digital information and create a conducive learning environment through the implementation of an information literacy model.

Using an information literacy model as the learning process embodies the idea of continuous lifelong learning. As technology changes at a rapid pace, students must learn to regularly update their skills to meet these changes (McElvaney & Berge, 2009). Using this process in developing information literacy skills encourages students to critically evaluate and synthesise new information in any situation.

Conclusion

Information literacy is a process that will teach students the skills required to critically assess and evaluate the vast amount of information that bombards them on a regular basis, no matter what the context. The primary role of the teacher librarian is to encourage students to become information and technologically literate users of information through the application of an information literacy model.

References

 Abilock, D. (2004). Building blocks of research: an overview of design, process and outcomes. NoodleTools: Information literacy. Retrieved 15 September, 2012 from http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html

Australian Library and Information Association and Australian School Library Association. (2009). ALIA/ASLA policy on information literacy in Australian schools. Retrieved from: http://www.alia.org.au/policies/info.literacy.schools.html

Doyle, C. (1996). Information literacy: Status report from the United States. In D. Booker (Ed.), Learning for life: information literacy and the autonomous learner (pp. 39-48). Adelaide: University of South Australia.

Hay, L. (2005). Student learning through Australian school libraries. Part 1: A statistical analysis of student perceptions. Synergy 3(2), 17-30.

Herring, J. (2011). Improving students’ web use and information literacy: A guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

Kuhlthau, C. (2004). Learning as a process. In Seeking meaning: a process approach to library and information services (2nd ed.), (pp. 13-27). Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.

Langford, L. (1998). Information literacy: A clarification. School Libraries Worldwide, 4(1), 59-72

McElvaney, J. & Berge, Z. (2009). Weaving a personal web: Using online technologies to create customized, connected, and dynamic learning environments. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 35(2) Retrieved 13 September, 2012 from: http://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/view/524/257

New South Wales Department of Education and Training. (2007). Information skills in the school. School libraries & information literacy. Retrieved from Author website: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/teachingideas/isp/index.htm

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.

University of Montana Western. (2009). How do I become an information literate lifelong learner? Library. Retrieved 15 September, 2012 from http://my.umwestern.edu/academics/library/page21.htm

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Topic 4 – Information Literacy

Activity 1 – Definitions of information literacy

Langford:

“Why have not the understandings and skills that inform information literacy become embedded into the classroom practices of teachers and educational systems? Is it because information literacy is understood as something that is teacher librarian oriented and not part of the general curriculum?” (p. 60)

  • teachers need to become literate in the field of information
  • promote literacy as part of the necessary skills for information development and thinking
  • “the concept of literacy really depends on the information needs of the society of the time.” p. 63
  • all literacy is information literacy
  • “the Australian definition of literacy may, in fact, be the best: to be able to function well in society, which entails the ability to read, use numbers and to find information and use it appropriately” p.65
  • students need to develop skills that enable them to locate and access information in all its forms and to be able to solve information problems that develop competencies in the skills necessary to survive in the information age
  • at present most teacher librarians are at the forefront for developing information literacy skills that will enable students to become lifelong learners.
  • In order to become a lifelong learner, one must develop literacy information skills

Abilock:

This model was based on Engaging, Defining, Initiating, Locating, Examining, Recording, Communicating and Evaluating.

  • comprehensive explanations
  • exhausting

Herring & Tarter:

This model was based on Purpose, Location, Use and Self-evaluation with the premise that one could go back to purpose if after location and use the student either didn’t have enough information or had too much.

Activity 2 – Guided Inquiry

I am overwhelmed at the number of different Guided Inquiry models. However upon reading the literature, I’m still drawn to Kuhlthau’s model as it takes in to account the feelings of the students as they progress through the stages. Students learn in different ways and I feel that this model is structured yet flexible enough to accept different learning styles. I like the idea of GI, but am still not sure to tackle this within the job that I currently have. I simply don’t have the time with my study commitments to take anything extra on. I can see the benefits that this can have and am hoping that with the Website that I’m designing in 501, I may be able to start next year with a small GI unit. The challenges are finding someone willing to collaborate with you and having the time to set such an adventure up. I’m still not confident enough of my technology skills to go in to a classroom and try and teach it. I’m hoping to go and visit a few different libraries in T4 to check out how other teacher librarians are working it.

Activity 3 – Transfer of information literacy skills and practices

It’s a little discouraging to read that despite good teaching practice, not all students will transfer information literacy skills unless prompted. However, I believe that this is the case with any learning. Until it is does often enough it is not automatic. It’s like learning to drive a car. There is the theoretical knowledge as well as the practical. It is initially daunting to drive a car and one needs lessons and prompts before it becomes automatic. The same thing with GI – it needs to be repeated several times.

Activity 4 – Forum Questions

1)   Has the school in which I work developed an information literacy policy?

NO! We don’t even have a library policy!! I work in a resource-learning centre that has a lady in charge that is neither teacher nor librarian qualified. I have to contend with the noise of Yr7-12 classes as they are “dumped” in the library with “quiet” work to do by the absent teacher. I have to throw high school students off the available computers that I have booked to use with Stage 3. Not conducive to learning or teaching!

2)   Should this be an essential policy for a 21st century school?

Definitely!!

3)   How is information literacy approached in your school? Do you see gaps in the approach used, and if so, where?

There is no approach to teaching information literacy in the school. There has not been a qualified librarian in the school for over 5 years. I was only employed 1-day per week as a stop-gap measure for the AP who no longer wishes to take library RFF because she is too busy.

4)   How can a transliteracy approach expand the teaching role of the TL beyond the traditional information literacy paradigm?

I would be happy just getting an information literacy program up and running first and then be able to think about a transliteracy approach.

Information Literacy vs Information Fluency

I was surprised to read that:

Information fluency is the ability to access, make sense of, and use information to build new understandings. The term “information fluency” is now accepted in the field as a replacement for “information literacy” because students must not only know the skills, but also apply the skills fluently in any personal or academic learning situation. (Stripling, 2007, p.25)

My understanding of information literacy was that it was the teacher librarian’s objective for the skills acquired by the students to be with them in any learning situation either personal or academic. Is Stripling trying to rename something that already exists?

Any other thoughts?

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