Information Literacy: the Defining Paradigm of Modern Education
National Forum on Information Literacy (1989)
--- "Information literacy is defined as the ability to know
when there is a need for information, and to be able to
identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use the information
for the issue or problem at hand."
NCLIS - National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
--- "Information Literacy encompasses knowledge of
one's information concerns and needs, and the ability to
identity, locate, evaluate, organize and effectively create,
use and communicate information to address issues or
problems at hand; it is a prerequisite for participating in the
Information Society, and is part of the basic human right of
includes the skills of
reading, writing, speaking,
calculating, perceiving and
Every student need to understand the difference
between fiction and non-fiction.
Every student need to know how to effectively use
reference books and periodicals.
Students need to understand the Dewey Decimal
System as a useful, logical system of hierarchical
organization and recognize its similarities to other
Students should use indexes and the library catalog
so often that it becomes a subconscious skill.
includes an understanding of the many
different types of media and the purposes for
which they can be used.
Students should be taught the difference
between fact and opinion, and be able to
distinguish between information,
entertainment and persuasion.
They should learn that all information has a
source and that knowing the source and its
bases is an important part of understanding
basic computer operations: booting the computer, saving
and retrieving files, loading a program, and perhaps some
rudimentary word processing skills such as "cut and paste".
Like basic literacy, technology literacy is a continuum of
skills that can always be improved, and, like library literacy,
students receive technology experience and instruction in a
hit or miss fashion depending on which teachers they may
have over the years.
Every student should be thoroughly grounded in both the
ethics and etiquette of technology use.
Most importantly, every student should have frequent
opportunities to use technological tools to create his/her
own information artifacts - in print, on the screen, and
“Visual Literacy means the skills
and learning needed to view visual
and audio/visual materials
skeptically, critically and
The information-literate student can:
recognize the need for information
identify and locate appropriate
access information contained in those
evaluate the quality of information
Most of the netizens surfing, hanging
about, prowling the web for study and
leisure presume that works uploaded in the
internet are true and valid and usable as
BJ Fogg, a social scientist from Stanford
University, found out that people do judge a
Web site rather than what it contains.
On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.
So how can you tell if the information is reliable
or not? Since people posting information in the
internet are not required to pass through
traditional editorial constraints or undergo any
kind of fact-checking required in conventional
published print media, there is no limit, check, or
balance as to what is uploaded in the WWW.
Thanks to cartoonist, Peter Steiner, whose
cartoon became a constant reminder to all
netizens to evaluate the validity of the
information they use and check the credibility of
the author using a set of criteria before they use
the information they found.
We must be discriminating, judicious and smart
users of information. That makes us information
literate. Not only must we be discerning learners
but we must be constantly learning.
Several scholars like Breivik and Jones (1993)
have found that the traditional literacies of reading,
writing and mathematical reasoning are insufficient
for lifelong learning.
The increasing quantity of information from all
sources and the pressure to remain in a constant
state of conscious learning means that we must be
dexterous in the use of information, too.
The need to handle and use information is
present in all stages of life and the acquisition of
the competencies of information literacy must be
intertwined with the acquisition of the other
This section of the special topic on
Information Literacy provides some
background on the changing views of
education and explains the resulting
changes in teaching practices that are
required for information literacy
is now perceived as a process, not a
"People do not quit learning when they
leave school, but remain lifelong
Now objectives are flexible, taking
individual and cultural differences into
account. Current events, local
resources and student's interests are
also taken into account as curriculum
objectives are adjusted to make
learning more relevant.
The classroom is viewed as an
environment where active learning takes
place. Overhead projectors, television
monitors, VCRs and computers are
standard equipment in the classroom.
Classroom environment is conducive to
learning and encourages students to
become self-reliant and responsible for
their own learning.
Educators today realize that students
need to be actively involved in
seeking information and using it in
some way as they create their own
unique concepts of knowledge based
on previous understandings and
Students today are viewed as
information seekers, information
users, decision makers and problem
solvers. What they learn depends on
what they need to know to make a
decision or to solve a problem.
Now teachers are facilitators of the
learning process and are constantly
learning as they work collaboratively
with other teachers, library media
specialists, community members and
even with overseas teachers via
Now projects of all sorts are the rule.
Authentic assessments are intended to
gauge what students learn by
measuring how well they use the
information such as portfolios,
presentations and written reports.
Library media centers are designed to
provide not only efficient storage but also
equal access to information and the
convenient retrieval of it. Library media
specialists now work cooperatively with
teachers to plan units that integrate
information literacy skills into subject-area
The identification of information literacy
skills needed for lifelong learning and
thinking promotes a change in what is
Brain - based research that shows how
students learn and the abundance of
information in all formats dictates a
change in how teachers teach.
Brian Ferguson in his e-book explains:
Information Literacy skills are vital to fully
participate in and contribute to the world we live in.
The best hope for citizens to understand and
function effectively in this data-intensive world is a
comprehensive, hands-on, universal education in
Information Literacy concepts and skills through
This course of study can and should be
integrated with the traditional school subject areas,
but it should also be considered as a separate core
discipline especially for purposes of goal setting,
curriculum design and evaluation.
Today's educators are responsible for
preparing students to be effective users of
information. The goal is to prepare students
early on to "learn how to learn" and carry these
skills into other areas of their lives so that they
can be independent seekers and consumers of
information throughout their lives (Humes,
According to Lenox (1993), teachers must
be prepared to "teach students to become
critical thinkers, intellectually curious
observers, creators and users of information".
The goal is to prepare students early on to
"learn how to learn" and carry these skills into
other areas of their lives so that they can be
independent seekers and consumers of
information throughout their lives.
Teachers of all subjects must blend their
traditional fact-based approach with an
emphasis on learner-based inquiry and the
scientific inquiry process.
This means shifting some of the
responsibility of gaining knowledge from the
teacher to the student and allowing students to
develop questions, strategies to search for
answers and formulate conclusions.
In order to produce learners who are
information-literate, schools will need to
integrate information literacy skills across the
curriculum in all subject areas beginning in the
Educational institutions that wish to produce
lifelong learners should be engaged in some
fairly basic rethinking of how teaching faculty
and information specialists such as librarians
and media specialists can work together toward
this end (Brittingham 1994).