Sonoma County Office of Education

Library Media Services

Information Literacy

Futurists and other social scientists tell us that we're living in a new age – the age of information. Success in this new era will be measured not by what we know, but on how efficiently we can access, interpret, filter and synthesize information from a plethora of sources, from traditional print materials to new electronic media.

Background

E-Literate | Link
The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies produced a video called E-Literate that serves as a good introduction to information literacy. Consider these questions as you view the video:

  • How has the nature of information changed in the past 500 years?
  • What's important for people in the 21st century to know and be able to do in regard to information literacy?

Kathy Schrockís Information Literacy Primer | Link
Kathy Schrock, an information technology specialist, identifies the skills that comprise information literacy in an excellent article from the George Lucas Educational Foundationís newsletter, Edutopia.

Curriculum

Information literacy is an important 21st century skill that has many connections to the common core standards. Educators should consider how information literacy skills are being delivered at each grade level to build competencies for college and careers. Starting points for thinking about information literacy skills include:

Information Literacy Competency Standards or Higher Education | Link (pdf)
A comprehensive document from the American Library Association describing information literacy and what skills are necessary for students in higher education. This document is important because it provides specific criteria for students entering colleges.

Big 6 Skills Overview | Link
The Big6 integrates information search and use skills along with technology tools in a systematic process to find, use, apply, and evaluate information for specific needs and tasks.

Evaluating Resources

Looking more generally at skills for evaluating electronic materials (websites, videos, podcasts, etc.), librarians have suggested that teachers work to help students analyze media from the following perspectives:

  1. Purpose: Determine what the main purpose of the media is – to inform or persuade (advocate for a cause)?
  2. Author: The best media resources are produced by those who have appropriate education, training, or experience to write with authority on the topic. Check media documents or external sources to find out more about the author or producer. Is the author or publisher qualified on the topic or theme?
  3. Content: Consider whether content seems biased. Does the author have a "vested interest" in the topic? Look for documentation of claims and a balanced point of view.
  4. Coverage: Look around for different perspectives on the same topic. You can compare resources on the same topic to see which provides the best coverage.
  5. Currency: If you are looking for the most current information on a topic, be sure to determine when information was added.
  6. Recognition: Also try to determine whether the media has been recognized as exemplary by others linking to it, tagging it, or citing it.

Online Resources

Material that supports critical thinking and evaluation of information can be found at the following websites.

Educational Resources for Web Literacy | Link
Alan November and his colleagues at November Learning offer seven steps for developing web based literacy.

Contact

  • Rick Phelan,†Director, Technology for Learners
    (707) 524-2847,