Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Learning to Find/Use Information

I am starting the information literacy aspect of this course and I was first posed with the question "how important is the skill of information literacy?" A simple answer would be one word: very. An expanded answer might include a variation of the following: more important than most of us can even realize.

A little background (taken from the course):

The term "information literacy" was defined in 1989 by the American Library Association's Presidential Commission on Information Literacy as an individual's ability to identify and shape research questions, access information, evaluate it, and manage it. Information literacy is different than "learning how to use the library", which focuses on teaching tools, resources, and strategies for a specific library's resources and for a very specific assignment. Although there is some value in this, today we all encounter information in a very different way. Having a broader and deeper understanding of the information landscape, including libraries, will enable you to navigate that landscape much more easily.

Information literate people are problem solvers; they can be dropped into any foreign situation and often take on a leadership roles because they are able to manage information. They are curious. They are researchers. They are those who make effective teachers and helpful friends.

It important to know that there are various types of information that can be found in different ways, using different tools. It is also important to have good searching skills. As a teacher, I am given the responsibility to help my students become informationally literate, which implies a mandate for me to be the same.

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