Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom/Chapter 6.1

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

Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom
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Blogging: Applying Information Literacy Concepts in the Secondary ClassroomEdit

Using new strategies to teach information literacy to the Google Generation: A rationaleEdit

A 2008 study evaluating differences in information behavior between generationsX, Y, and Google, revealed information gathering characteristics unique to the current crop of high school students. Some findings are unsurprising, such as the youngest generation's general acceptance for digital technology and comfort with Web 2.0 tools for social networking. Some results indicated a gap in information literacy, such as tendencies to disregard source credibility, bypass libraries, and assign the same value to expert and amateur sources. Most disturbingly, college freshman were found to lack general information literacy skills. Decreasing information literacy in the face of a changing digital information environment indicates more instruction on information literacy with digital formats is needed in the secondary classroom.[1]

Using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom: A focus on blogsEdit

Michigan State University faculty Nicole B. Ellison and Yuehua Wu found in a 2008 study that weblogs, or blogs, can be an effective tool for enhancing course content and teaching information literacy. [2] Among their student sample, most students found reading blogs more helpful than their own critical analysis of a topic through a formal response paper. Furthermore, when asked to respond to a topic via a blog rather than a traditional paper, the vehicle for their response effected critical analysis very little, creating evenly mixed responses both in favor of traditional writing and blogging.[3]

More benefits to bloggingEdit

Blogging creates flexibility in the classroom. Teachers have choice in how to set up their blogs. They may choose to have each student create his or her own blog, or create a single blog for the class to which each student contributes. Likewise, teachers may have all students respond to the same or similar topics, or assign connected but unique topics and avoid repetitiveness. Secondly, blogging adds a collaborative environment to the classroom, allowing teachers from different content areas, librarians, and technology experts to work with students simultaneously. Teachers can expand the classroom even further by using the blog as a tool to address tangents and other "teachable moments" that often get sacrificed for time during the traditional 45- or 90-minute block. Lastly, blogs are a great addition to the differentiation toolbox. They can individualize course content according to student interest, give shy students an opportunity to contribute to the class dialogue, and allow students to progress according to ability by continually revising until the product is correct, rather than aiming for a one-time grade. [4]

A few considerationsEdit

As a relatively new teaching tools, blogs will also create some challenges. For examples, researchers are still undecided as to how the digital environment impacts the quality of student work. In the Ellison study, students reported taking a less formal tone to their writing. This may be problematic if it means students taking the work less seriously, or it could indicate that students will exhibit a more authentic quality to their writing. [5] Richard Glass argues that blogging may enhance student thought and effort because blog's public nature incites competitiveness. [6]

Another consideration is anonymity. Allowing students to keep their blogging personas private may encourage a freer expression of idea and, particularly when discussing sensitive or controversial topics, prevent the words of their youth from following students into adulthood.[7]

The bottom lineEdit

If implemented well, blogs can enhance curriculum and promote information literacy in the digital environment. Richard Glass offers a good example. In his study, students began enhancing blogs with images and other visual aids without being asked. Not only did this elevate the course discussion and add to the class's body of knowledge, but it also "enhanced their skills at data manipulation and presentation". [8]


  1. Loertscher, D. (2008). What works with the Google generation? Teacher Librarian, 35(4), 42.
  2. Ellison, N. & Y. Wu. (2008). Blogging in the classroom: A preliminary exploration of student attitudes and impact on comprehension. Journal of Education Multimedia and Hypermedia, 17(1), 99-122.
  3. Ellison, N. & Y. Wu. (2008).
  4. Glass, R. (2007). Incorporating blogs into the syllabus: Making their space a learning space. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 36(2), 145-155.
  5. Ellison, N. & Y. Wu. (2008).
  6. Glass, R. (2007).
  7. Ellison, N. & Y. Wu. (2008).
  8. Glass, R. (2007).