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Information literacy, the Finnish core curriculum and the role of school libraries in this combination
 

Information literacy, the Finnish core curriculum and the role of school libraries in this combination

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Presentation by Anu Ojaranta ...

Presentation by Anu Ojaranta
Researcher/PhD student
Åbo Akademi University
Department of Information Studies

Venue: Empatic International Workshop - Schools Sector in Krakow, Poland
Date: 8 June 2011

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  • Hello! My name is Anu Ojaranta and I come from the oldest city in Finland, Turku. The swedish name of the city is Åbo, hence Åbo Akademi University. The only Swedish speaking university in Finland. I am a researcher in Åbo Akademi and I am at the moment pursuing doctoral thesis. I am also a librarian, the last 7 years I have been working as a ful time school librarian. Before that also work in the higher education librarianship. School librarianship is very close to my heart and that, interest for learning and working with teenagers has also been the biggest fountain of inspiration in my research.
  • The title is: Lue dia läpi………
  • Vital in today’s world IL is something that has in many connections found to be the critical competence in all educational level, professions and vocational sotuations and for life long learning. It not only about reading anymore, it is about being able to tell the relevant from unrelevand, filtering stimuli in the form of pictures, moving pictures, sounds, multimedia text and totally new ways to communicate and interact. Being able to navigate so that one can cost-effectively gather informaiton for your assignment or problemsolving and constructing on your own knowledge. The interest lies in the sea of terminology: in which way to define the term? How does actors own preferences get involved? How to answer to a person who is decisively making a case for digital competencies and media literacy instead? The confucion in the curriculum is clear when not one definition is being made. The term information literacy is not used in the Finnish core curriculum at all. The rem used instead is ’information skills / information managing skills’. Media literacy is well visible in the core curriculum. Why is that? Medial iteracy is more about being able to interprete the messages that the mass media and the digital mass media is sending us.
  • Noteworthy from Finland’s perspective is that the current national core curriculum is said to have emphasis in information literacy. In many parts the core curriculum is taking up issues related to information literacy but the concept is not implemented as an all-embracing method. The deep analysis of the Finnish core curriculum is on my schedule for the fall so at this moment I can not make very far reaching analysis. The curriculum is being revised at the moment, to the direction of skills emphasis throughout the cussiculum. Some issues that make things hard at grass-root level, ie. in school lessons: Definitions are missing Variation can also be seen in individual teacher level, since everyone is obviously teaching the student they know best The responsibility of teaching ’information skills’ lies with all and therefore easily with no-one The teached education is possibly not paying enough emphasis The skills teacher students learn for them selves are hard to teach to students Even if Finland is still in the top class as the only European OECD country there were noteworthy changes in Finland’s results compared to the earlier PISA. There was a small but clear downward trend in nearly all the categories but especially in the part measuring information seeking skills.
  • Lue dia!
  • Lue dia!
  • There is hardly any organized governmental discussion about information literacy in the comprehensive school and upper secondary school. The legislation obliged the higher educational organizations to have a library. Even if there has been independent information skills development in the educational authorities’ side and the core curriculum, the issue has not raised enough discussion to this day. Therefore there is now a need to take a look at some school library related ventures and projects to form a picture of what has happened during the last 15 years. In the turn of the millennium there was a boost in form of several projects and also in literature about information seeking skills and of school and library cooperation and of school libraries. Media literacy played a big part in Finland can read -project. Something that is noteworthy is also that in many contacts and situations, the school library is still associated with the mother tong teaching and reading. Lue otteita paperista!!! Both Oulu case and Espoo case are at the very moment been researched as a dissertation work in Finland. Unfortunately (according to unofficial information) only Oulu has been able to turn information literacy curriculum to a concrete and visible everyday practice throughout the comprehensive schools. The practices developed in Lappeenranta then were not taken to be a part of the daily practices and the community. Interesting this is also from the point of view of my own research: why in some cases the practices root and grow to become a daily practice and in some cases it doesn’t?
  • In my personal opinion relating both to earlier research and seven years of school library work experience the difficulties in implementing information literacy to teaching and in best cases even to curriculum are many: Joining often two separate municipality authorities (educational and library) to agree on these issues is difficult because of different viewpoints and aims. To have teachers and librarians on the same page and working towards the same goal in this issue is difficult because of different educational backgrounds. In the current core curriculum teaching IL skills are the responsibility of all the teachers and that creates variation in teaching and confusing situations among both students and the staff. The teacher education both as pre-education and in-service-education has to be developed to contain also information literacy issues and give means how to teach these skills to students. The commitment and the will to make things happen have to be strong among all the actors in the municipality. The actors would need to commit to this issue permanently in order to have continuance in developing these skills to become a daily practice.

Information literacy, the Finnish core curriculum and the role of school libraries in this combination Information literacy, the Finnish core curriculum and the role of school libraries in this combination Presentation Transcript

  • Information literacy, the Finnish core curriculum and the role of school libraries in this combination
    • Anu Ojaranta
    • researcher/PhD student
    • Åbo Akademi University
    • Department of Information Studies
    • EMPATIC workshop
    • Krakow, Poland
    • 8.6.2011
    27.09.11 Åbo Akademi University - Domkyrkotorget 3 - 20500 Åbo
  • 27.09.11 Åbo Akademi University - Domkyrkotorget 3 - 20500 Åbo My presentation in EMPATIC workshop
    • A brief presentation of my research in progres
    • A look at information literacy
    • The Finnish core curriculum and information literacy
    • Developments in Finland during the last 15 years
    • Concluding remarks
  • My research:
    • The title: Information literacy in the curriculum and in teaching the seventh grade: A research of schools and school libraries and the roles and attitudes towards information literacy and information seeking
    • The aim of the thesis is to study the national core curriculum as the term information literacy (IL) as a framework.
      • How do actors (teachers, librarians and principals) in schools understand the term IL, and what are their attitudes towards teaching IL skills and information seeking mentioned in the core curriculum?
      • How does their students think about information seeking skills and what it means to be information literate?
    • One important aspect of the study is does school libraries play a part in teaching IL skills or information seeking and if so, how does this go about?
    • Intentions for the study to be ready for defense in 2014.
    27.09.11 Åbo Akademi University - Domkyrkotorget 3 - 20500 Åbo
  • Information literacy
    • Why information literacy?
      • Vital in today’s world
      • Interesting since the sweet confusion of terms and definitions
      • No information literacy in the Finnish curriculum??
      • What’s with media literacy?
    27.09.11 Åbo Akademi University - Domkyrkotorget 3 - 20500 Åbo
  • The Finnish core curriculum and IL
    • The present core curriculum has said to have an IL emphasis.
    • The core curriculum is at the moment been revised, the new will be in effect in 2014.
    • The core curriculum is adapted and implemented in the local level.
    • Some issues that make things hard at grass-root level, ie. in school lessons:
      • Definitions are missing
      • Variation can also be seen in individual teacher level, since everyone is obviously teaching the student they know best
      • The responsibility of teaching ’information skills’ lies with all and therefore easily with no-one
      • The teacher education is possibly not paying enough emphasis to this issue
      • The skills teacher students learn for them selves are hard to implement to teaching the students
    • And – one important observation. PISA scores in Finland are in a down-ward trend, especially when it came to information searching skills
    27.09.11 Åbo Akademi University - Domkyrkotorget 3 - 20500 Åbo
  • IL in the Finnish core curriculum
    • Some excerpts from the curriculum:
      • In the general part: ”the definitions of conceptions of learning, the study environment and methods and operational culture” speak for example for
        • Constructivist learning philosophy
        • Personal knowledge construction
        • Individual and collaborative problem solving
        • Being able to work independently
        • ” A library should be close to the school to enable active and individual studying”
        • ” The work methods should promote skills in information seeking, using and evaluating information, and the usage of information and communications technology.”
    27.09.11 Åbo Akademi University - Domkyrkotorget 3 - 20500 Åbo
  • IL in the Finnish core curriculum
    • In Cross Curricular Themes
      • One of the 7 cross curricular themes a school can choose as the theme of the year is ”communication and media competence”, which includes the need to develop information skills and to compare, select, and to use the acquired information.
    • In Finnish language curriculum, secondary school, that is grades 6-9:
      • On of the five central contents is information managing skills, including:
        • Searching for information in various sources, planning the search, judging the source credibility and usefulness
        • Making notes and learning to make simplified list of references, selecting information, grouping of information and building it into a presentation.
    • There are some scattered notions in some subject specific curricula about specific information skills in subjects like health education, history, social studies, and visual arts.
    27.09.11 Åbo Akademi University - Domkyrkotorget 3 - 20500 Åbo
  • Development in Finland during the last 15 years
    • The IL conversation in education still concerns mainly higher education
    • Not enough discussion
    • Several projects around the turn of the millennium
      • National project ”Finland can read!” 1998-2000
      • National project ”The reading Finland”, 2001-2004
      • Active cities in these projects Espoo, Oulu (School library of the information society), Lappeenranta (The spring of information).
    • Some of there projects gave birth to guides and books about school libraries and teaching information skills in schools.
    • Most of these projects were literacy and reading oriented but with a strong emphasis to school libraries of library cooperation.
    27.09.11 Åbo Akademi University - Domkyrkotorget 3 - 20500 Åbo
  • Concluding remarks...
    • Based on earlier research and my personal observations: the things that will create difficulties in implementing IL to teaching and possibly even to the curriculum:
      • Different municipal authorities with different viewpoints and aims
      • Teacher – librarian problems, different professional backgrounds
      • Who’s responsibility or the responsibility off us all? Unclear at the moment...
      • Shortcomings in teacher education and the difficulty deriving from this
      • Commitment among the actors in all levels: government, municipality, school, and teacher
      • A long term commitment is needed to make these issues daily practices in schools
    27.09.11 Åbo Akademi University - Domkyrkotorget 3 - 20500 Åbo
  • Thank you!
    • Questions and comments...
    • Contact info:
    • [email_address]
    • Twitter account: BloomingCherry
    • Delicious: anuojaranta
    27.09.11 Åbo Akademi University - Domkyrkotorget 3 - 20500 Åbo