Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom/Chapter 7

Introduction to Information Literacy in the K12 Classroom
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Information Literacy and the Application of Technology Tools edit

As mentioned in the Tools section, Information Literacy in the Digital Age, requires students and teachers to be able to access and manipulate a variety of technological instruments. With so many tools to choose from, proper application of a tool can some times be difficult to figure out.

Information Literacy Digital Age tools also promote professional development, which allows teachers, administrators and librarians to have regular conversations, take actions and to determine appropriate goals and objectives for its schools and maintain a wiki to share agendas, notes and ideas between schools (Derry, B. 2008 p. 23). According to Derry, not only do these Information Literacy tools create engaging learning activities that challenge students to think at a higher level, they also educate staff on the use and integration of skills and strategies (Derry, 2008 p. 24) for the betterment of these students' learning experiences.

These Information Literacy Digital Age tools may include wikis, social networking, digital storytelling (PhotoStory and Podcasting) tools; as well as interactive whiteboards, (Derry, 2008 p. 24), blogging, screencasting, streaming videos, Podcasts, Skype, digital video communication and other Web 2.0 tools to construct new paradigms for teaching and learning (Derry, 2008 p. 25).

When should we use a blog vs. a Wiki? And, at what point should the librarian step in to help our students understand how to utilize the technological tools available to them?

Need help deciding? Maybe this can help:

View the Wikis Vs. Blog Screencast

Wikis edit

The Wiki is an instrument of collaboration and cooperation. A teacher can use the Wiki to help students improve their writing as well as their editing and revising skills. Through a small research project, or written assignment, students can work in small groups to peer edit or collaborate on written assignments . Wikis can also be used for distance learning with students who have a variety of needs (Birch, 2008). Ideas for using wikis in the classroom include:

  • Storing Web sites and bibliographies that might enhance a research project, as well as critique these websites for the information provided
  • Groups mind-mapping and brainstorming of ideas
  • Connecting with home schooled children to discuss assignments and papers
  • Editing and annotating lessons to help students see how to and what to edit in their papers using proper techniques
  • Post critical or analytical statements directly on the work being looked at, students have a better time when they can write directly on a piece and see the correlation of their ideas to the work itself
  • Collaborating with distance learners in another district or country--the more students interact with others who have different values and ideals, the more understanding, tolerant and worldly they become (perhaps even running a community outreach program or generating ideas for a community service project

To take it up a notch, use a Wiki to keep track of student projects. Each project has its own page where students can post progress reports and add images, audio and other files. Or, make the project classwide: ask students to collaborate on a study guide, a manual, an encyclopedia or a glossary. Culinary students can help each other improve recipes, IT students can collaborate on developing source code, and future teachers can work out hypothetical lesson plans (Imperatore, 2009, p. 30).

For career exploration, students can create a Wiki for career resources that describes different jobs and the education and training required, as well as local employment opportunities. Introducing Wikis in the classroom is not without its challenges. "Wikis conflict with traditional assumptions about authorship and intellectual property," according to contributors on This Web site encourages educators to introduce students to the conventions of collaborative work, creating a style guide for the Wiki and discussing how contributors will be recognized (Imperatore, 2009, p. 31).

Look to Wikispaces and PBwiki to help you begin! More Ideas can be found at How do educators use Wikis? and Ideas with Wikis!

Blogs edit

Blogs are used for more personal reflections, journaling, or responding to prompts. Students can use them for book discussions, publishing daily work, getting to know one another, or as writing practice (Barret, 2006; Barrios 2004). Teachers may find blogs useful for posting homework assignments, updating classroom activities, and observing/creating classroom portfolios (Teaching Today 2007).

  • Publish daily, by responding to prompts given by the teacher to think critically on course content and its application to the world
  • Give updates to real world issues: surviving after an environmental disaster, overcoming an illness, losing a loved one--have students reach out with
    their blog to offer support and keep up with current events to share in class
  • Provide links to interesting facts and ideas that will effect the students like rezoning of a school district, budget increases/decreases, implementation
    of school uniforms etc. Have the students think critically and respond to the situation, while also commenting on fellow classmates blogs
  • Post daily homework problems for mathematics that the students can write out a small paragraph describing the thought process to discovering the answer
  • Have students use blogs to post questions and allow other students to help respond and answer each other's questions--it encourages community and critical
    thinking in the classroom
  • Use the blog to post important due dates for students work. If there are any questions about assignments, students can take the initiative to post and
    discuss on the blog with their instructor.

The following blogging websites give teachers excellent examples of how mathematical teachers, history teachers and science teachers are using a blog format to share and to find new strategies in the teaching and learning of their content area. Teachers display lesson plans, resources, puzzles, quizzes presentations, other valuable links, and much, much more.

The teachers are finding interesting and useful ways to journal their thoughts, discuss relevant problems and solutions, and make available to students and teachers, current 21st Century learning activities. As well, it gives students a voice in their learning and to think and write about their content subjects and publish it online.

In fact, there are many websites for blogging in different content areas. Any teacher can go to an online searching tool and place “blogging websites for”, along with whatever content area they are looking, for in the search box and find many useful websites.

Some Mathematics links are:

Mathematics Learning – Sharing Strategies

Let’s Play Math

Standard Based Web Activities

New Teaching Resources

Math Video Blog

Math Twitters

Some History links are:

Best of History

U.S. History

Teaching History with Technology

National History Center

Web Resources for Teachers

A Few Science links are:

A Great Science Blogging Site

Middle School Science

Women – Related Websites in Science/Technology

Science Facts and Resources

Science Buddies

Look to Classblogmeister , Blogger and Edublogs for starting your blog space

Syndication edit

Syndication or RSS(Really Simple Syndication) is a way of collecting current information from numerous resources about one particular topic without having to search the internet. First you need to download an RSS reader. Most of them are free such as Google Reader or RSS Bandit. In fact, all of’s Top Ten RSS readers are free. Once loaded, you’ll only need to visit your sources once to sign up for their RSS feeds. Then to see your up-to-date information on your topic, you’ll only have your RSS reader to go to.

Example: You are writing about the H1N1 virus. Information is changing by the minute. Once you have done your initial investigation on the topic, you only need to visit your reader to see current information from the sources of your choice.

Google Wave edit

Google just introduced a new powerful tool, Google Wave, in May 2009. The most important aspect of this reinvented new tool is open sourced. What we can do with this powerful tool is almost anything possible that we used to do separately – emails, chat, blog, wiki, game, comments on document, video, maps, twitter, ... you name it all within Google Wave. And we are able to do it by real-time live collaboration and communication.

Harris stated, “Students collaborating on an assignment could use a wave to collect, organize, and publish a final document without having to repeatedly exchange word processor files” (Harris, 2009).

One of the significant characteristics in Google Wave is that it provides live translation of our text as we type in chatting. “Just imagine the potential for enhancing communication in schools and librries” (Harris, 2009). I view this is just a beginning of a huge impact ahead of us. How can educators get ready for our students? I truly hope this topic will be updated by the future contributors because it is very interesting to watch the progress.

About Google Wave

More Importantly: Why? edit

Using the new tools: wiki’s, blogs, podcasting, etc. in your classroom will create a learning environment that the students enjoy being part of. They will become more focused, engaged and excited about their learning experiences because it is what they know and do best. Robyn Henderson of the University of Southern Queensland states that, "they are using literacies as part of daily sociocultural practices and are laying the foundations on which to build future knowledge and expertise (Henderson, 2008, p. 14).

According to "Wikis and Blogs: Your Keys to Student Collaboration and Engagement," an article in Today's Classroom Teacher by Catherine Imperatore, Wikis and blogs can strengthen reading and writing skills and teach students about the new literacy of the Internet age. If setup properly, these tools ensure privacy and safety. Reluctant students who do not speak up in class, feel empowered when they use a Wiki or when they Blog. And there is a sense of ownership when students use these tools, because they pay greater attention to detail when their work is published online (Imperatore, 2009, p. 30).

As well, they LOVE technology and are eager to learn how to use new tools. You as a teacher can also learn from your students because for most of us, our students know more than we do when it comes to technology. When it comes to assessing what students are actually learning by using the tools. It is the same way you assess them every other day, expect that you have to be willing to allow the students to be more creative with their final products. A good source of information is: a Rating Scale.There are a wide variety of opinions when it comes to using the “new tools” in the classroom. However, we live in the digital age and we must prepare our students for an even more technology competitive world if we want them to succeed!

Resources: edit

Barret, T. (September 2006) Blogging Activities. Retrieved June 21, 2008, from What about Wikis...I think there is potential here too! Retrieved June 29, 2008 from

Barrios, B. (2004) The Year of the Blog. Retrieved June 20, 2008, from

Birch, T.S.A. (April 18, 2008) Teaching Wikis: Ideas for incorporating technology in the classroom. Retrieved June 20, 2008, from Dalhousie University (June 12, 2008). Information Literacy Tutorials. Retrieved June 21, 2008 from

Derry, B. (2008). Information and Technology Literacy. Retrieved October 6, 2009 from Teacher Librarian 36:1, University of Mary Washington Library web server.

Gil, P. (2009) "What is 'RSS'?". Retrieved October 11, 2009, from

Harris, C. (2009, August). Get ready for Google Wave. School Library Journal, 55 (8), p. 12.

Henderson, R. (2008). It's a Digital Life! Digital Literacies, Multiliteracies and Multimodality. Retrieved October 6, 2009 from Literacy Learners: The Middle Years. Volume 16, Number 2.

Imperatore, C. (2009). Wikis and Blogs: Your Keys to Student Collaboration & Engagement. Retrieved October 11, 2009 from Today's Classroom Teacher.

Loertscher, D.V. and Blanche Woolls. (June 1997). The Information Literacy Movement of the School Library Media Field: a preliminary summary of the research. Retrieved June 22, 2008 from

McPherson, K. (2006). School Library Blogging. Retrieved October 6, 2009 from Teacher Librarian 33:5, University of Mary Washington Library web server.

Sethl, R. (2007) 15 Educators Respond: "How would you use your PBWiki in your classroom?" Retrieved June 29, 2008 from

Teaching Today (2007) Teaching Today, How To: Blog Basics. Retrieved June 20, 2008 from

Tschabitscher, H. (2009) Top 10 Free Windows RSS Feed Readers / News Aggregators . Retrieved October 11, 2009, from