Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom/Chapter 1.2

Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom/Table of Contents

Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom
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Introduction to Information Literacy edit

We are an information society. At least 61.8 percent of homes in the United States had a computer in 2003 (EarthTrends: World Resources Institute). More than likely that number has increased in the past five years. Everywhere we turn we hear or see how technology is being used to better learning and understanding in our school systems and workplace. There are so many different web sources that many people do not pick up dictionaries, encyclopedias, or journals for research. With all of these sources available for people it is hard to tell which sources are credible. Regardless of whether you are in the education system or not, every one must have not only reading skills and computer skills but information skills, too ( . The US Secretary of Labor's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS Report), included information competency among its five essential workplace competencies for the 21st century.

Information literacy is the ability to access, evaluate, organize, and use information from a variety of sources—books, CD-ROMS, newspapers, videos, or the web. Information literacy requires an awareness of the way in which information systems work, of the dynamic link between a particular information need and the sources and channels required to satisfy that need (Darch et al. 1997). Being information literate requires knowing how to recognize the need for information; identify potential sources for information; develop successful search strategies; access sources of information including computer-based and other technologies; evaluate information, use information and critical thinking and problem solving (Valenza, 1998).

The goal of information literacy is to move people away from textbook learning and into using a variety of sources to learn. Because information literacy gives people a variety of sources to choose from, there are some concerns about information literacy. Many people can manipulate information on the web or create sites with faulty information; therefore, people must know how to determine if information is reliable.

Information Literacy Diagrams edit

Information Literacy Diagrams found on the Web that might be helpful for you to grasp these ideas

Information Sources edit

Information sources that all students should have access to.

  • Abstracts--are among the most important sources to researchers because they contain content summaries of the articles, books and other materials. Example: Social work abstract sIndex area of stacks in reference
  • Dictionaries--are alphabetical listings of words, phrases, and other terms. These may be consulted for explanations of meaning or usage. Example: International dictionary of psychology
  • Encyclopedias--provide topical descriptions and elaborations of meaning. They may be general and cover many subjects or be quite specific to a particular field or subject. Often short bibliographies of additional sources are appended to the articles. Example: Encyclopedia of education
  • Field guides--are practical handbooks that provide reference data, charts and sketches for identification and similar data. Example: Birds of North America : a guide to field identification
  • Guides--explain and illustrate a topic. Example: American armies and battlefields in Europe; a history, guide, and reference book
  • Guides to the literature--these are selected bibliographies, often arranged in topical order. Example: Guide to information sources: chemistry
  • Handbooks--are often a compilation of reference data and a kind of one-volume topical reference library. Example: Handbook of chemistry and physics
  • Indexes--these are alphabetically arranged listings of journal and book contents, typically subdivided by author and subject. Example: Reader's guide to periodical literature
  • Manuals--these generally contain instructions on particular topics. Example: The Merck manual of diagnosis and therapy
  • Maps--while often geographical, astronomical maps are another example of a reference that shows the proximity of one locations or object in relation to others. Example: Topographical maps located in map cases
  • Reviewing sources--these provide an evaluation or summary of the content of particular media, whether books, journal articles or films and videos. Example: Book review digest
  • Tables--these bring together reference data, formula and statistics that are frequently or infrequently used. For example, interest tables contain amortization tables for loan amounts and the monthly payments at particular interest rates. Example: CRC standard mathematical tables
  • Yearbooks--these provide up-to-date information on topics where information is changing periodically. For example, a political yearbooks might contain listings of state representatives, congressmen, or heads of state. Example: China yearbook

References edit

Information Literacy Modules index.html

American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. 1989. Final Report. Washington, DC.

Association of Colleges and Research Librairies. What is information literacy? Retrieved from

Darch, C., Karelse, C., and Underwood, P. (1997). Alternative Routes on the Super Highway. Independent Online-Higher Education Review. Independent

Educational Media. Information Literacy. Retrieved from

EarthTrends: World Resources Institute. Retrieved from

Joyce Kasman Valenza, wrote an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer in March 1998 titled, Schools at the Cross Roads- Information Literacy.

Sonoma State Univ. Computers in education. Retrieved from