In some K-12 schools, information and technology literacy is integrated and threaded throughout the curriculum. One of my summer responsibilities is to create a rubric for each grade from K-12, with the hope that students will graduate with a clear understanding of what it means to be "information smart." This change happened as a result of a conversation I had with a librarian at SIBL. She mentioned that she's finding more and more graduating seniors not knowing how to access databases, conduct effective Boolean searches and evaluate Web sites properly. Part of the problem is there's a lot of confusion as to who should teach information literacy. Is it the librarian, media specialist, teacher, or the student-teacher's (fresh out of college) responsible? Then the question is, "What should they teach?" "Is it a stand alone subject?" No one knows. It's all debated but I have yet to find an updated Information Literacy Rubric for K-12 Curriculum…hence my summer job.
What we do know is that students are skilled at using the Web and are comfortable using technology. They are so adept that some colleges are recruiting them to assist their professors when needed. I'm guilty of that too.
This post is filled with questions because frankly, my answers may not reflect yours. This week I asked a random selection of students, "What does being information-literate mean to you?" Basically, their answers were what you'd expect. "It means knowing how to evaluate websites." Another said, "Information-smart kids know how to access databases." But one student provided a critical analysis of the question. "What if you're not into technology like me, and you're just into books? Can you still be information literate?" Despite my own love of books, I couldn't lie to him. No he couldn't be information-literate without being technology-literate.
Last question, how do we, as "conveyors of information" put a grade on a student's ability to retrieve and properly assess this information? We really need a K-12 assessment tool. But let's teach the material first and make sure everyone on board works to make this seamless transition through the grade levels EFFECTIVE. Let's put our turf wars aside and share thoughts and answers on this.
1) The ACRL site has a short list of examples of tests and surveys from a variety of higher education schools
2) From NPEC (National Postsecondary Education Cooperative: How Does Technology Affect Access in Post Secondary Education? What Do We Really Know? (Courtesy of Distance Education Library Services)
3) Try this Internet literacy scavenger hunt. It's a fun way for middle school students to learn Internet terms.
4) Minneapolis Community & Technical College Professor Thomas Eland's Information Literacy Online tutorial. This site has interactive quizzes and background guidelines for students to practice their skills.