Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom/Chapter 10

Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom
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10.1 - Incorporating information literacy into lessons and activities edit

Information literacy in general is not a recently developed concept. As such, lesson plans and strategies have been developed to instruct and illustrate information literacy to students. In a traditional information literacy lesson plan, standards of independent inquiry and analysis are met through individual and group activities that utilize physical materials such as magazines, encyclopedias, and newspapers (American Association of School Librarians, 1998).

As we have transitioned into the digital age the content and outlets for content available have multiplied, leaving teachers and students with more information than ever. Barbara Lepanis (1998) emphasized this point by stating that, "information is no longer a scarce resource." Indeed, finding information is no longer a problem. The issue now, is that with more information comes more questionable information. It has become more important than ever that teachers provide students with the skills needed to filter through the massive amount of information available.

In the digital age, a majority of the standards, previously laid out to measure the level of understanding of information literacy, remain the same. What has changed are the lesson plan structures and the tools used for enrichment and assessment. Subsequently, the relevancy and connectivity of the information analyzed has improved significantly. With web tools, students are given the freedom to learn information skills independently. Often, these tools allow students to receive immediate assessment of their actions and give them the opportunity to learn from their errors.

10.2 - Lesson plan structure edit

The incorporation of information literacy in the classroom starts with the teacher having a structure and plan. The initial goal of information literacy is to have student’s access information efficiently and effectively. In order for an educator to prepare students for this, they must begin by creating lesson plans with a focus on inquiry.

Using an inquiry based lesson will target the indicators for effective information literacy learning. These indicators include:

   * Recognize the need for information
   * Recognize that accurate and credible information is the basis for proper decision making
   * Formulate questions based on information needs
   * Brainstorm and identify a variety of different available sources
   * Develop and use successful strategies for locating and understanding information (American Association of School Librarians, 1998)

Using an inquiry model within the development of your lesson can help guide a teacher to focus on information literacy. The main idea behind an inquiry model is to have students ask questions relating to the content, thus allowing them to submerge themselves deeper into the material and allow them to come away with a better understanding. The asking of the questions alone are allowing the students to go past the memorization phase of learning, and have them applying it to further concepts. Weather a specific answer is discovered of not, the inquiry alone can lead to an incredible amount of discovery and learning.

As the students begin to formulate their own questions toward the content, they will already begin to recognize the need for accurate information to help them best reach their final answer or decision. An example of an inquiry learning activity is a WebQuest.

A WebQuest is basically a web driven, discovery exercise that leads the students to a “final destination”, while allowing them to further explore once they’ve reached that destination(Trickel, 2005).

The incorporation of these inquiry strategies is taking the initial step in preparing students to become information literate. By setting up the need for information, along with the motivation to go beyond what they read on the page, you are preparing students to become more information literate.

10.3 - Technology resources edit

When looking to develop an information literacy lesson it is important to first determine what your objective is. Information literacy lessons can be focused on either teaching information literacy skills directly or on utilizing information literacy skills to accomplish an unrelated task. The technology resources available for lesson plan development primarily focus on only one of the two educational objectives.

Table 1 focuses on resources aimed at teaching information literacy skills directly to students. These resources focus on developing a conscientious student who is able to critically evaluate information and make thoughtful decisions based on the data gathered.

Table 2 includes resources that are focused on moving beyond simply teaching literacy. These resources incorporate the information literacy strategies and knowledge into activities to test students application abilities.

== 10.4 - Evaluation in lessons ==

In order to fully and properly evaluate to asses information literacy, the teacher should incorporate the use of rubrics and concrete grading criteria before the assignment begins. With the use of rubrics and the incorporation of authentic assessments, you are allowing the students to be assessed as objectively as possible and allow them to clearly see the expectations before they begin. Authentic assessments act as a motivation to desire further learning as it is as close to a real world application as can be made within the classroom. Students can take their knowledge gained in the classroom out into the world and continue to build off of it.

The use of rubrics, and the language used within them can encourage students to go beyond what is expected of them. Some other advantages rubrics offer are as follows:

   * Force the teacher to clarify expectations in specific terms
   * Promotes student awareness to help assess peers
   * Allows students to establish benchmarks to measure and track progress
   * Provides specific and accurate feedback on possible problem areas or areas of weakness

Especially with the incorporation of rubrics and authentic assessments, you are leaving the end product from the students somewhat “open” to allow further inquiry to be built off of, thus, refueling their need for not only information, but the ability to use and understand that information effectively and efficiently.

Another strategy in using rubrics is allowing for student input in the creation of the rubric. The inclusion of the student’s ideas into the criteria for assessment can help generate inspiration for high success. Of course, as the teacher, it is important to facilitate and guide the student’s to a desired destination. The links below provide tools for developing rubrics and assessment tools for information literacy lesson plans.

Tool For Real Time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills Rubrics For Web Lessons Rubric For Evaluating Web Quests

10.5 - Sample Lessons edit

The following links are examples of web based lesson plans that exemplify the techniques and strategies illustrated above. They can be used directly in the classroom, or as models to mold your own lesson plans after to more directly target your own designated inquiry expectations within your classroom.

Network of Illinois Learning Resources in Community Colleges Jurassic Park WebQuest Information Literacy WebQuests (3-5) Big 6 Resources

10.6 - Additional Resources edit

Information Literacy in the Digital Age Information Literacy - The Challenge of the Digital Age Information Literacy Weblog Let's Talk 2.0 In Virtual Pursuit Information Literacy Standards For Student Learning Inquiry Model For Information Literacy WebQuest Lesson Template Having an IM-PACT: a Model For Improving Instructional Presentations