Sunday, May 21, 2006

Approaches to Information and Communication Literacy

An Evolving Literacy
Educators through history have tried to identify the basic competencies of a "well-rounded" student. Although many of these knowledge, skills, and attitudes can be associated with particular content areas such as math, science, social studies, or language arts, other competencies seem to flow through all areas. For example, all students need to be able to access, process, and communicate information and ideas. Critical and creative thinking is an example of this overlap with traditional curriculum areas.

Approaches to Information Literacy
Many educators view information and communication literacy as the foundation to all "traditional content areas." Rather than focusing on individual skills, many educators prefer to use a problem-solving or inquiry-based approach to the process of working with information and creating communication. Others prefer to call these study or research skills.

Information and Communication Literacy Model Comparison

The Big6 Problem-solving Model

Standards Alignment Chart

Manatee County's Big6

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Information Process

Finding, Collecting, and Using Information
Identifying and Locating Relevant Information
Identify Relevant Material
Where do you start looking?
What do you start searching for?
Locating Relevant Information
Think Critically About the Information Collected
Thinking critically involves:

* Distinguishing fact from opinion
* Recognizing bias and balance
* Being aware of the scope or censorship in an information source
* Understanding the authority or research on which the information is based
* Considering the currency of the information (when was it written - is it still relevant?)
* Considering the treatment. Is the information appropriate (language, style, level of complexity) for the audience you are addressing?
* Synthesizing and integrating the information you have read: bringing it all together, and relating what you have learnt to what you already knew.
Focusing the Information Search
Use Information to Help Focus the Search and to Find Further Information

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Integrating Information Literacy into the Curriculum

Ideally, information literacy skills will be integrated into the curriculum across all disciplines. When theoretical concepts related to the development critical thinking and information literacy skills are implemented within the context of meaningful practice, the result is authentic learning that builds a foundation for lifelong, independent learning related to finding, using, and evaluating information tools, formats, sources, and products.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Facilitating Active Learning

Active Learning Online
To a certain extent, all learning can be considered active as it stimulates your mind with new knowledge. However, not all learning challenges learners to put their new knowledge to use and deepen their understanding through practice.

What Is Active Learning?

"Active Learning is a multi-directional learning experience in which learning occurs teacher-to-student, student-to-teacher, and student-to-student.

Active Learning involves activity-based learning experiences: input, process, and output. These activity-based experiences take many shapes whole class involvement, teams, small groups, trios, pairs, individuals.

Activity-based experiences take many forms talking, writing, reading, discussing, debating, acting, role-playing, journaling, conferring, interviewing, building, creating, and the list continues."

Why Use Active Learning?
"Why use Active Learning strategies to teach any subject?
Active Learning leads to effective and efficient teaching and learning."

How Does Active Learning Work?
"Active Learning increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the teaching and learning process. Teachers want students to leave a class with knowledge and or skills they did not have when they began the class. Months later, teachers want those same students to retain the learning, apply it to new situations, build upon that learning to develop new perspectives, and continue the learning process.
This level of learning, resulting in retention and transfer, occurs most efficiently through concrete activity-based experiences.
Active Learning involves input from multiple sources through multiple senses (hearing, seeing, feeling, etc.).
Active Learning involves process, interacting with other people and materials, accessing related schemata in the brain, stimulating multiple areas of the brain to act.
Active Learning involves output, requiring students to produce a response or a solution or some evidence of the interActive Learning that is taking place."

The following sites provide diverse web-based tools for creating stimulating, multi-faceted learning activities:

Blue Web'n
"A Library of Blue Ribbon Learning Sites on the Web"
Check out the internet activities and projects at this site.
"Blue Web'n is an online library of 2024 outstanding Internet sites categorized by subject, grade level, and format (tools, references, lessons, hotlists, resources, tutorials, activities, projects). You can also browse by broad subject area (Content Areas) or specific sub-categories (Subject Area). See "About this Site" for a scoring rubric and answers to other burning questions!"

"Helping You Add Your Filament to the Web of Learning"
A great site that guides teachers and library media specialists through the process of creating many types of web-based learning activities.
"Filamentality is a fill-in-the-blank tool that guides you through picking a topic, searching the Web, gathering good Internet links, and turning them into online learning activities. Support is built-in along the way through Mentality Tips. In the end, you'll create a web-based activity you can share with others even if you don't know anything about HTML or serving web pages.
Filamentality combines the 'filaments of the web' with your 'mentality' allowing you to create a variety of formats that meet your personal or learner needs."

How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School

Learner-Centered Psychological Principles
: Cognitive and Metacognitive Factors

Monday, March 20, 2006

Learning and Blogs

In my opinion, if blogs are thoughtfully designed and content-based they can be an excellent teaching tool for students of any age. For students who are able to read, blogs can be a particularly engaging method for sharing content. With the addition of graphics, blogs can support visual literacy as well as learning based on reading comprehension. However, some school districts may have policies against the use of blogs. It may be necessary to present a blog prototype in order to convince administrators of the educational value and flexibility of blogs.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Magic of Connection

Librarians, especially school and public librarians, have many opportunities to connect children with books. If librarians use their knowledge of children and books, to help children find books that provide authentic, individualized connections, the "connection" can be truly magical.
When children who are considered non-readers or who struggle with reading discover a connection with books, they may transform into committed and confirmed readers!

E-Portfolios & Learning

Creating the E-Portfolio was an exercise in constructive learning. Exploring presentation formats and researching content provided opportunities for considering usability and to focus on delivering selected resources to a specific user group.
By designing an E-Pathfinder in conjunction with information ethics, I gained practical experience in constructing learning tools that integrate web-based resources for building students' information literacy skills.

The E-Portfolio assignment was definitely a valuable learning experience. Students were able to examine general concepts related to information ethics by responding to the course-based questions. In addition, students were invited to explore a subject related to information ethics in depth.
By allowing students to choose a topic of interest, the E-Pathfinder assignment became personally meaningful. Having the opportunity to connect concepts presented in the course to development of the E-Pathfinder provided experience with practical applications and facilitated the creation of functional research tools that can be shared beyond the course.
Course requirements were extended into "real-world" applicability. The knowledge gained by developing E-pathfinders and constructing E-Portfolios builds highly-valued, experienced-based professional skills.

Having created a blog focused on sharing information resources related to the topic of information ethics and literacy with students and teachers, I will definitely maintain the blog and use it to support student learning across content areas. I have shared the blog with my school district administrators, and they are uniformly enthused about its content, and about using the blog format as an instructional tool. My experience with creating and using blogs as learning tools has given me a head start in using cutting-edge technology for expanding learning opportunities, and both my district and I truly appreciate the fact that I had the opportunity to experiment with this format!

My advice to other Information Ethics students would be to give careful thought to your topic, to begin creation of the E-Pathfinder as soon as possible, and to devote time each day to designing the pathfinder, exploring resources, and integrating content.

Using the Bb discussion board for responding to course-based questions works well. However, using the E-Portfolio blogs as a vehicle for responding to classmates would provide additional opportunities for sharing ideas and giving/receiving feedback.
It is always valuable to gain practical experience using various formats to communicate with others. While the ability to comment to blog posts is an engaging way to communicate, it is important to keep in mind that Bb is typically stable, while other web-based venues (especially servers) can be unstable and less reliable!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Building Communities of Learning

The Gap
By Andy Carvin -- 3/1/2006 -- School Library
Once a hot topic, the digital divide seems all but forgotten, while the poor, mainly black and Hispanic, are still being left behind

"Despite all the incredible advances in streaming video and Web-based multimedia, the Internet remains a text-dominant medium. If you lack a strong foundation in literacy skills, all the Internet access in the world isn’t going to do you a lot of good.
Unfortunately, the digital divide is rarely addressed as a major policy issue in America. But as the U.S. struggles to improve its schools, while dragging its heels at improving our national broadband infrastructure, countries like India and China are churning out highly skilled young people for their workforces. At the same time, Nordic countries and Korea deploy ubiquitous Internet access. Other nations are creating government ministries to spur technological and educational innovation, while American digital divide policies have fallen off the docket. America is losing its competitiveness because we’re not making the necessary investments in education and infrastructure.

Fortunately, there is still positive work being done. The federal e-rate program continues to enable low-income schools and libraries to connect to the Internet, while nonprofit and private sector entities invest in local and national efforts dedicated to bridging the gap (see “Bridging the Divide,” above). Meanwhile, copyright initiatives like Creative Commons ease the way for people to publish their own content for broad public use. And open courseware initiatives from universities, such as MIT, are making some of the most coveted curriculum freely available, whether you can afford to attend the brick-and-mortar institutions or not.

The challenge remains, however, to get the digital divide back on the national agenda. The disparity in technology access must be viewed as a national threat—to our economic competitiveness, our civil rights, and our national creed of equal opportunity. While it may be true that seven out of 10 Americans are online, we shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back just yet. Not as long as disenfranchised, underserved Americans remain on the wrong side of the divide." (Carvin, 2006).
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.