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Information literacy paper

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  • 1. Information Literacy Paper 1 Laurie Roberts Information Literacy Paper ITEC 7136 Fall 2008 Information Literacy Paper: Bridging the Gap As today’s net generation becomes more dependent on technology, it is the responsibility of educator’s to ensure that they teach the skills needed in order for students to succeed in our ever-changing society. According to Eisenburg (2008), Information and technology literacy is clearly the basic skills set of the 21st century. In the past, students relied more on the textbook, but today they rely more on technology, this is why we have to make sure that the students view the media center as a place where they can learn things that they enjoy. There are some major gaps in this generation’s information literacy skills. Peter Drucker states that just being able to use a computer is no longer enough. In an effort to bridge these gaps, collaboration between the media specialist and teachers has to occur. However, this is not as easy as it sounds because not many teachers are very open to collaboration. It is up to the Media specialist and teacher to work together to fully equip our students with the skills needed to be information literate and to be able to think critically. Collaboration is more important today than ever before. In the past, collaboration was unheard of because educator’s were responsible for their own classroom and did not worry about teaching with or about any kind of technology. Some of the teachers from that generation are still around and are mainly the ones that feel so uncomfortable with technology and the idea of collaboration. As I was gathering information for this paper, I asked many teachers the following question, what and how do you feel about collaborating with the Media Specialist? Many of the teachers that had been teaching for
  • 2. Information Literacy Paper 2 25+ years quickly stated that they were not interested and didn’t really know that the Media Specialist was supposed to collaborate with teachers. They asked me what the lessons would be like and why they could not just teach it themselves. They stated that they did not see the need for her help. Most all of the teachers who had been teaching anywhere from 1- 20 years were very open to the idea. Many of them either stated that they were very interested in the idea or would love to find out more information about collaboration. They also stated that they did not know that these options were out there or that they Media Specialist ever taught lessons to students. The other question that I asked along with collaboration was if they felt that the Media Specialist was or needed to be a leader. Most of them stated that they did not see her as a leader. I then ask them that if she were to come into the classrooms and teach, would she be more likely to be viewed as a leader. They all responded yes, that it would help. I then ask the Media Specialist if she felt that she was a leader and she stated no, but that she was on the leadership team. I feel that the Media Specialist should portray the attributes of a leader if they are going to collaborate with other teachers. I feel that teachers would find it easier and be more open to collaborating with a the media specialist if she were very assertive, goal oriented, had a need to achieve, task competent, confident, and flexible . Since I was interviewing the teachers about how they felt about collaboration, I thought that it would be a good idea to interview the media specialist and also get her view was on the issue. I began by asking her what she thought about collaborating lessons with the teachers. She quickly remarked, “When?” She said that she did not have the time to meet with other teachers and plan lessons unless they were there to help. However, I thought that collaboration involved both parties! I was also surprised about
  • 3. Information Literacy Paper 3 the time statement because there is a huge time gap when students cannot even go to the library to check out books. It would be enough time for her to be able to go into the classrooms and teach lessons. I then asked that if she were to collaborate with the teachers, did she think that it should be done in the media center or in the classroom. She stated that it could be done in either setting, but thought that the classroom would be better because of the supplies and the new smart boards that were in each room. The next question was, what kinds of lessons she thought she should teach. She stated that she was not sure but that she would think anything that was aligned with the GPS Standards. I then ask what would be the best way to set these lessons up. She thought that it would be nice to have a sign up sheet where the teacher would write the date the lesson would be taught, the grade level, the unit or standard in which it would go with, and the time that they would meet to discuss the details. The next topic that I asked teachers about when interviewing was what they thought about information literacy and what skills were needed when referring to information literacy. In chapter 13 of Educating the Net Generation, Joan K. Lippincott (2005) stated that many faculty expressed concerns that students do not know how to adequately evaluate the quality of information resources found on the web. I have found that this is true for the most part. When interviewing the 3rd , 4th , and 5th grade teachers, their main concern was that the students do not know how to locate information and then when they finally find it, they pick the first thing that comes up, whether it be good or bad. They also stated that the students did not know how or where to begin searching. The teachers said that students do not think critically or independently enough to even begin to be able to search for good websites. This is due to the fact that they are unaware
  • 4. Information Literacy Paper 4 of the criteria for evaluating websites and do not know how to think critically. Critical thinking is responsible for how much one learns and being information literate. The teachers stated that this was a major concern and that they were interested in information or lessons on how to teach students the necessary information to be able to search. The teachers stated that most of the children just care about using the internet to download music, social networking, and emailing. I think that according to this information, critical thinking, the evaluation of the websites, and searching would be great lessons for the Media Specialist to start off teaching. When asked what they thought should be done about these problems, they all stated that they did not know enough about the issue to teach it themselves, but all agreed that it would be a great idea to meet with the media specialist and set up a time for her to help come up with a lesson. All of the teachers also stated that after contemplating this information, they are becoming aware of the fact that just because students have grown- up with computers all of their lives does not necessarily mean that they are information literate. When interviewing the Media Specialist about information literacy and the skills children needed when referring to information literacy, her view was somewhat different than the teachers view of this issue. She stated that she felt the reason that the students in our school were not very information literate was due to the fact that we were a city school and that some of the students have never even turned a computer on. I agree with her, but is that a reason to just push it aside? I think that this should be the driving force behind us coming up with remarkable lessons that really educate these children on these issues. I feel that they would be very open to listening and learning because they have
  • 5. Information Literacy Paper 5 grown- up in a world full of technology, but their parent’s low socioeconomic status allow for limited access to technology. The last concept that I interviewed teachers about was information fluency and competency. I was curious about how they felt about these topics or if they even knew what they were. Lorenzo and Dziuban (2006) stated that information fluency is similar to information literacy, though it adds stronger technology/ computer literacy and critical thinking skills into the mix of desired capabilities. A California State University Work Group defined information competence as the ability to find, evaluate, use, and communicate information in all of its various format. While interviewing teachers, I showed them these two definitions. Most of the teachers stated that they did not see what this had to do with elementary students. The remaining teachers stated that they did not understand these two terms at all. One teacher however, stated that she felt that these were two things that the students in our school lacked and were not interested in because they had not been taught to be interested in them. The media specialist stated these were important concepts, but that our school was different than most b/c our students were lower and therefore would have trouble grasping these concepts. I quickly responded that we would not know if we didn’t try. I suggested several ways and websites that she could use to create lessons on these topics. I challenged her to at least choose a group and pilot a lesson to see how it went. In conclusion, these interviews that were conducted were a major eye opener. I never realized the underlying problem until I researched it. I now realize that it is not the teacher’s fault that they are not educated on it, but should be a major priority of theirs to teach these students these concepts. We as Media Specialist should inspire to collaborate
  • 6. Information Literacy Paper 6 with teachers and teach not only these concepts, but others that are of interest to the students. I did remind all of the teachers to keep a positive attitude and an open mind about this and to not be so quick to think that our students could not learn the information or would not be interested in the information. I think that it is sad that our Media Specialist is not more open and enthused about getting this information out to the teachers and helping them teach it. Since we are dealing with today’s net generation, we should be setting goals and working even harder to educate these students on these concepts. We should strive to make our media center a place where students will want to come and learn new things. We should ensure that our students are effective users of information and ideas, but without being a leader and educating our faculty and students on these issues, they will quickly diminish.
  • 7. Information Literacy Paper 7 References Eisenburg, M. B. (2008). Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age, 28, 39-47. Lorenzo, G., & Dzuiban, C. (2006, September). Ensuring the Net Generation is Net Savvy [Abstract]. Educause. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://connect.educause.edu/library/eli/ensuringthenetgenerationi/39340 Morrissette, R. (2007). What do they know? A Strategy for Assessing Critical Literacy. Knowledge Quest, 35, may/ june, 14-17. Oblinger, D., & Oblinger, J. (2005). Educating the Net Generation (D. Oblinger, Ed.). Boulder: Educause.