ETL 401 – Blog Task 3

14 May

‘Information Literacy is more than a set of skills’.

There is a great debate on what information literacy actually means. The meaning of information literacy appears to have an ever changing continuum that often confuses teachers, learners and society in general. Information literacy encompasses more than the basic set of skills.

Traditionally, information literacy was closely linked with information research skills which often took place in the library and taught by the teacher librarian. Students learnt the basic skills of locating resources, general bibliographical techniques, reading and summation of information required when completing school projects.

In today’s learning environment, information availability has expanded exponentially and has complicated the issue of information literacy. Many academics have stated that information literacy goes beyond the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic of the past. There are more complex issues involved in being information literate in today’s society (Langford, L. 1998). There are many definitions given to information literacy, however it appears that these definitions are determined by the context and by societal interpretation of this concept.

Schools are in the business of developing literate and numerate citizens of the future, who can contribute efficiently and effectively to society. To be information literate, Bundy (2004) suggests that it encompasses a set of elements that are interlinked. These elements include the topic, discipline, the generic and information skills required and the personal values and beliefs structure that are infused into learning. Abilock (2004) reiterates this concept by suggesting that information literacy is a transformational process where the learner finds, understands, evaluates and uses information in various forms to create meaning for personal, social and global purposes.

In order to achieve information literacy, it is no longer the sole responsibility of the Teacher Librarian of the school. The Teacher Librarian can offer the skills set of searching and locating resources within the library setting. To further develop student skills in order to become lifelong learners, the Teacher Librarian needs to actively collaborate with teachers when planning the curriculum. By using collaboration as a partnership between the Teacher Librarian and the classroom teacher, it enables the opportunity for the development of appropriate learning materials which guides students in becoming more active in their learning. This also optimises information literacy skills as students can relate learning to real life experiences.

Eisenberg (2008) highlights the importance of this through the use of the ‘Big 6 Model’. This information process model provides a broad, logical skill set that can be used to problem solve across the curriculum framework. By empowering students to take responsibility for their learning within a guided framework, students are able to see the connection between learning and their own lives and this is what enhances their overall learning and information literacy skills.

The Teacher Librarian plays an important role in assisting students achieve information literacy through ongoing collaboration and planning with the school community. They provide a specialist service of resources and facilities, which can provide students with frequent opportunities to learn and practice these skills. The Teacher Librarian helps in the facilitation of developing practical and metacognitive skills that students require in becoming lifelong learners of the 21st Century.

References

Abilock, D (2004) Information Literacy. Building Blocks of Research: an Overview of Design, Process and Outcomes. Retrieved 25 April 2013, from
http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html

Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL).

Eisenberg, M.B. (2008). Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. Journal of Library and Information Technology, 28(2), pp 39-47.

Langford, L. (1998). Information Literacy: a Clarification. Retrieved 25 April 2013, from
http://www.fno.org/sept98/clarify.html

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