Information literacy is more than a set of skills.
It is difficult to acquire a conclusive classification of information literacy. The literature presented me with a lack of clarity within the writings of the experts, who themselves appear to be unable agree on a definable understanding on what information literacy is. I believe that Bruce (1997, P. 10), was correct when she stated that as teachers ‘our understanding of Information Literacy (IL) is problematic’. Langford (1998) also believes that those responsible for teaching don’t appear to truly understand the information process let alone information literacy. Eisenberg and Small (1993, p. 269) defined IL as ‘‘acquisition methods, information seeking and problem solving procedures’’ however Eisenberg (2008) later defined IL as the ‘‘basic skills set of the 21st century’’.
To be information literate is, according to Lloyd (2007, p. 182), to be able to “access and evaluate information, to think about information, and to demonstrate and document the process of that thinking”, while Todd, (2000) states that “Information Literacy is the bridge between ‘Learning to read’ and ‘Reading to Learn’”.
My perspective of information literacy has altered from first seeing it as a set of skills to be taught and mastered, to now considering the rote list of skills to be only one part of the adaptive process that is information literacy. This view is supported by the readings that describe information literacy as a process that encourages the learner to discover, understand, evaluate and make use of a range of information from a variety of sources (Abilock, 2004) as a process that can be scaffolded within the curriculum.
The ability to seek, critically evaluate, synthesize and use information conveyed by means of spoken language, print and multi-media, is as an essential skill to learn for information age students as “learning the “three R's” were for people educated in the 1950s”. (Queensland Dept. of Education, 2000, p. 9).
How will i make it happen in my school.
The development of information literacy as an accepted process within the schools curriculum will require the teacher librarian to collaborate with all stakeholders, showing all involved the benefits of collaboration to themselves, each other and their students (Small). TLs can establish an information literacy model such as Kuhlthau’s ISP, Herring’s PLUS model or Eisenberg and Berkowitz’s Big 6 model to develop the groundwork critical thinking through the scaffolding of IL skills.
TLs must collaboratively format the use of IL skills within the curriculum, ensuring the student are able to transfer these skills from subject to subject and across all media, according to Newman (2010) the term transliteracy, embraces the use of all the developing information medias, and is “the social construction of meaning via diverse media.” (Ipri, 2010, p. 567).
School learning environments are designed to nurture the development of information literacy skills, which are essential to 20th century knowledge. Information Literacy must be an enduring process by scaffolding acquired and transferable skills that will empower students in their “lifelong learning”. Teacher librarians, as a information literacy teacher can contribute to this process by using a guided inquiry model and the school library as a laboratory (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007) to provide not only teaching and learning resources for our students, but the skills required to locate, evaluate and comprehend information through the use of multiple ICT technologies and formats, assisting them to continue independently long after they have left the academic arena
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