Information literacy

A New Skill Set in an Informational Age

A family disagreement about a trivial fact resulted in my three year old son suggesting that we just “Google it”.

With information so easily accessible it is easy to experience “Data Smog”, a term coined by David Shenk. “Data smog” refers to mass amounts of information becoming an obstacle rather than a benefit. As we are inundated with information, it is crucial to maneuver through it effectively and efficiently.

Students are wallowing in “Data Smog”. Constantly changing sources of information coupled with large amounts of information has created the need for a new skill set to succeed in our informational age. The National Forum on Information Literacy refers to this skill set as,  “the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand”.

Information literacy is not limited to the classroom. Its development empowers individuals to become critical thinkers.

  • Evaluate web sites- Discussion on credible websites is key. A great website to help you implement this in the classroom is Information Forensics.
  • Promote research using a wide variety of sources.
  • As simple as this may seem, emphasize lessons on fact and opinion.
  • Discuss bias and author’s purpose.
  • Kathy Schrock provides the 5 W’s-, a useful handout to guide students through the website evaluation process.
  • Tools for Research