Information Literacy

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Traditionally, ‘information literacy’ is defined as the ability to read, write and comprehend.  In the world of Web 2.0, the concept of information literacy is ‘dynamic’ (Kravik & Gee).   The evolving ‘concept’ of information literacy is, as stated by Langford, ‘the ability to read, write and develop the capacities to understand, absorb, assimilate, and digest the images being transmitted electronically with the added capacity to communicate these images electrographically’ (Langford).  It becomes quite clear that today’s learners require a variety of skills in achieving literacy, let alone fluency.    To be literate, one needs to have skills involving critical thinking, computer, information problem solving along with those we view as traditional.

Warlick also agrees that the skills sets are changing in becoming information literate in the 21st Century.  He refers to ‘information fluency’ as possessing the three skills of:

1)  Basic information technology skills (including computer literacy)

2)  Information literacy skills

3)  Critical thinking skills

He also stresses the importance of critically assessing ‘what’ we are reading.  What is the source?  Is it reliable?  Where did it come from?  All those things that ‘NetGeners’ may take for granted (Lorenzo).  This is where the TL and team of educators comes in.  If we use the metaphor of a journey toward information literacy, and pathways to knowledge, then the teacher librarian can be viewed as a guide who can help navigate through a myriad of obstacles and dead ends, by using well researched and reliable ‘route maps’.  The kinds of ‘route maps’ are suggested by Lorenzo in Catalysts for Change – Information Fluency Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the New Education Culture.  There is a need for ‘contained spaces’ in ‘web environments’ where information can be easily accessed and referred to rather than trying to navigate through the ‘wild and chaotic web’ (Lorenzo).

The following portals allow students to get to the stages of evaluating, analyzing, reconciling, and synthesizing without becoming knee-deep in information overload (Lorenzo)

  • California Digital Library
  • INFOhio
  • Virginia Centre Digital History (VCDH)
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