Monday, September 28, 2015

Information literacy

What does it mean to be "information literate" at SK (and elsewhere)? In a library and research context, it means that children are able to find that for which they are looking, to evaluate its usefulness and its authority, to process and make sense of it, and then to use it to create new knowledge.

In kindergarten, for example, this means that children understand how a dictionary works and when it might be useful to consult a dictionary (all of those fun letter tabs are just a delightful bonus). 

In seventh and eighth grade, information literacy involves using databases to find scholarly articles about Animal Farm (the read-aloud they just finished) and using spreadsheets to budget for their fictional road trips (and it's still only September!). 

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) uses the phrase "information fluency" to describe students' ability to "locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources of media" (ISTE Standards for Students). 

The American Association of School Librarians (a division of the American Library Association) understands "information literacy" to be an umbrella term for the multiple literacies that are now "crucial skills for this century," including "digital, visual, textual, and technological." (AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner). 

These standards and definitions are used by librarians and teachers all over the country as a way to frame the meaningful work happening in school libraries and classrooms around the teaching of critical thinking skills in a world where students are inundated with information from a wide variety of sources. Here at SK, I will continue to join teachers in their classrooms (and in the libraries) throughout the year to weave concepts of information literacy into classroom activities and projects.

To research,

Rachel

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