Information Literacy Skills for Students

Teaching Strategies

By Michael Hilkemeijer

Today we live in a society that demands more independent and responsible behaviour. In order to survive and thrive people then have to make responsible decisions in new and unexpected situations. Most of all, people need to embark on their journey of lifelong learning. As society continues to use ICT for its personal growth, creativity and joy, to consume goods and even to increase their wealth, it is essential that they are able to analyse mass media information on websites critically and to also use the information from the Internet productively.

 

Defining Information Literacy

The individual needs and expectations of society require people who have the skills and knowledge to:

  • Analyse information they gather from websites
  • Search for information on the Internet such as websites, databases, documents;
  • Evaluate information and thinking critically about them;
  • Present information  to others like in student assignments, reports,
  • Exercise judgement in order to plan, predict and control fast changing events.

(UNESCO, 2005)

All of the above skills are indispensable to ICT-supported and non-ICT learning environments. Information literacy empowers people in a digital society, in an information society and in a knowledge society. They will need to be able to use ICT fluently to earn they place in a digital economy.

 

Integrating ICT in Teaching and Learning

ICT can help students develop their ICT capability in being able to research, inquire, question and explore. This can be done in three main ways (Kent, 2009, p43):

  • Construct knowledge by searching  for information that already exists and is written down on the Internet;
  • Find out by investigating a digital model or simulation, or by using technology to conduct an experiment;
  • Research by tapping into knowledge and experiences that exist in society; finding out information by asking questions of other people we can connect to using ICT.

 

Where to start

A prime example of where to start with students is determining their ability to decide whether the information on a website is trustworthy. Researching on the Internet is becoming a common practice amongst students and as a result, it can increase the breadth and rigor of a student’s research due to the range of sources they are exposed to. The tremendous range of the sources of information present on the Internet via webpages means that students requires them to critically evaluate the credibility websites.

Some questions they may ask include:

  • Who is the author?
  • What are their qualifications in this area?
  • Does the website have a sponsor? Is the sponsor reputable or biased?
  • Is there a link to information about the author or sponsor?
  • Should I trust this information?
  • Can I verify the information?

In other words:

  • Accuracy;
  • Authority;
  • Objectivity;
  • Currency and;
  • Coverage

 

Information Literacy Scheme of Work

To learn more information try our custom-made scheme of work in your classroom. Created with the Australian Curriculum requirements in mind, it includes the following:

  • Teacher notes – background information on information literacy;
  • Pre-made lesson plan equipped with everything you need to have prepared;
  • Student ICT activities;
  • Teacher examples to use for demonstration;
  • Advice on how to teach and assess ICT capability in relation to information literacy skills and;
  • List of resources.

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