Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom/Chapter 1.3


The 21st Century definition for Information Literacy encompasses a broad array of competencies including digital, visual, textual, and technological. The continuing expansion of information demands that all students acquire the thinking skills that will enable them to learn on their own, use technology, and demonstrate ethical behavior when using information.

Information Literacy Standards for Digital Learners are based on, and aligned with, national standards from: The American Library Association (ALA) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

These Standards are based on the following basic beliefs:

Libraries - provide essential community spaces, tools, and resources for 21st century learning Librarians - are essential for development of learning skills and successful learning experiences Reading - is a window to the world and a foundational skill for learning Ethical Behavior - is essential in a global society Equitable Access - is a key component for a successful society Inquiry - provides a framework for decision making and learning Technological Skills - are crucial for successful employment, learning, and communication Thinking Skills - enable lifelong learning.

Digital learners use skills, resources and tools to:

1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.

2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.

3. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively.

4. Develop an appreciation for ideas and information in pursuit of personal growth.

Digital learners inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.


Digital learners inquire, by...

• following an inquiry-based process in seeking knowledge • defining and articulating the need for information • developing and refining questions to frame the search • planning and implementing effective search strategies

Digital learners think critically, by...

• using prior experience and background knowledge • selecting and using appropriate technology tools to access information • finding, evaluating, and selecting appropriate sources to answer a question • reading, viewing, and listening for information in an appropriate format (textual, visual, media, digital) • evaluating information for accuracy, validity, appropriateness • analyzing information by identifying misconceptions, main and supporting ideas, conflicting information, and point of view or bias • making inferences supported by evidence to determine meaning

Digital learners gain knowledge, by...

• gathering information from diverse perspectives for a comprehensive view • connecting new information to previous knowledge and experience • collaborating with others throughout the inquiry process to broaden and deepen understanding

Digital learners draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new situations, and create new knowledge.


Digital learners draw conclusions and make informed decisions, by…

• using critical thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation • evaluating information critically • selecting and managing information to implement effective solutions • considering multiple strategies, diverse perspectives, and alternative solutions

Digital learners apply knowledge to new situations, by…

• transferring current knowledge to new information technologies, solving problems, generating new ideas and products • using technology to analyze and organize information • organizing knowledge in a useful way • validating new understandings

Digital learners create new knowledge, by…

• applying multiple literacies to express new understandings • collaborating with others to inquire and share information • incorporating new knowledge into their value systems and reconciling differences

Digital learners share knowledge and participate ethically and productively.


Digital learners share knowledge, by…

• collaborating effectively • communicating globally • utilizing a variety of media formats • respecting others’ viewpoints

Digital learners participate ethically, by...

• seeking diverse perspectives to gain a balanced viewpoint • following institutional policies, state regulations, and federal laws • understanding “netiquette” • practicing safe and responsible use of online environments • comprehending the potential economic impact of information • perceiving the social implications of information • crediting the original creator of information

Digital learners participate productively, by...

• exhibiting leadership • participating in lifelong learning • creating solutions • connecting learning to reality • generating original works in a variety of media formats

Digital learners develop an appreciation for information and ideas in pursuit of personal growth.


Digital learners develop an appreciation for information and ideas by…

• reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure and personal growth to make connections with self and the world • showing an appreciation for the creative expression of ideas in various formats and genres • interpreting new information based on cultural and social context • maintaining an openness to new and divergent ideas • connecting ideas to one’s own interests and prior knowledge and experience • participating safely in social networks to gather and share information both electronically and in person • creating original works as a means of personal or group expression

Digital learners pursue personal growth by…

• identifying their own areas of interest • recognizing the limits of own personal knowledge • exhibiting a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity • pursuing interests using multiple resources and appropriate technology • practicing safe and ethical behaviors in personal electronic communication and interaction • demonstrating personal responsibility for lifelong learning

To become independent learners, it is important that students acquire the above competencies. These skills will foster lifelong learners who can be productive members in a global society.



“AASL Standards for the 21 Century Learner,” AASL, American Association of School Librarians, (retrieved October 10, 2009).

“Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education,” ALA, American Library Association,, (retrieved October 10, 2009).

“ISTE, National Technology Standards,” ISTE. International Society for Technology in Education, (retrieved October 10, 2009).

“21st Century Information Literacy Standards for the Digital Learners of New York,” NYA. New York Library Association, (retrieved October 10, 2009).