Information Literacy

Information literacy is how an individual uses and deciphers information.  However, that is a very general definition.  In fact, there are many parts to the term “information literacy.” Students have to be able to know where to look for specific information or when any resource will do, and the difference between the two.  They will also have to understand how to convey the author’s message, with credit given.  Also, with every piece of communication, there is an intended message and an unintended message. So, how could we sum up information literacy?  In general, critical thinking makes up a big chunk of information literacy.

Information literacy could not be more important in the twenty-first century.  Think of five hundred years ago.  To us, that seems like forever, but in the life of the human race, it is a split second.  In that day, information was kept in books exclusively and books that were often chained down because of their scarcity and cost.  Today, we have access to all the information the human race has at our fingertips.  Information access has turned on its head completely; we now have an unlimited access to an abundance of information and a zillion information mediums.  We don’t even have to research anymore; most search engines will give answers to direct questions.  Information literacy’s importance will rise in tandem with the integration of technology into our lives.

So, why and how do we emphasize this in the classroom?  The classroom needs to be reflective of the outside world.  The purpose of school is to prepare students for the problems of the future and integrate them into our society.  Technology has entrenched itself in our lives and we need to show students how to use it effectively and properly.  If we are going to have students interacting with technology at a young age, we need to tell them the ins and outs at a young age too.  The same information literacy lessons that I was getting in high school should be taught at elementary schools.

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