Good afternoon from South Carolina:
Part two of this ramble was influenced by the messages that addressed the issues of teaching research to the Goggle generation.
In the early 90's, teachers in several schools asked my students to teach their students (5th and 6th graders) to use HyperCard to make reports. I warned my students not to start the kids on the computer with Hypercard without a plan and design on paper. I said "Remember what happened to you when you started your Stacks without a paper design?" Within days my students were back on campus upset that the Hypercard project was a mess. YA I said - No Plans!
I decided that we needed to tell the kids and teachers - no Hypercard use until you have a design and that design had to include the information resources that would be used in the Stack. The project had to start in the library!! What a good idea I said to myself!! Not - I soon learned that most of the teachers and students (mine included) had poor information gathering and processing skills. I knew I could probably get the school librarian to work with the kids and perhaps the teachers. My worry was the teachers and my students, I wanted them to know what information literacy was and how to teach their students. A librarian would not always be around.
As I thought about this I realized I had another problem - I didn't know what comprised "information literacy." I thought that I was pretty good at gathering, organizing, analyzing, evaluating and presenting information but I wasn't sure where I learned it and how I did it - was I information literate? Were there a set of information literacy guidelines - standards? Where to find out? (Remember this was the time of limited Internet - NO GOGGLE - maybe GOPHER.)
I decided it was time for a visit to a library and a librarian. As I pondered this question I was on my way to the Fletcher, VT Elementary School that had a part time librarian who probably would be at another school just when I needed her! Maybe I could get a clue in the Fletcher School Library. There it was on the back side of the Fletcher Elementary School library door - INFORMATION LITERACY STANDARDS for STUDENTS and TEACHERS. A poster by the VT. School Librarians Assoc. that illustrates the American Assoc. of School Librarian's information literacy standards for students and teachers. Try the following link:
The students and teachers I was working with used the standards and the kids came to the computers with information ready. At the time I thought it would be good to develop a Vermont K-12 curriculum that used the information literacy standards and to encourage its use with all students. Something like " the information processing curriculum."
Soon after that I left UVM for VISMT and the work never got done. Perhaps now is the time. In 2007 the American Assoc. of School Librarians released "Standards for the 21st Century Learner." Try the following link: http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aaslproftools/learningstandards/standards.cfm
The guidelines are ready! Shouldn't we be ready? I am sure that some librarians are doing this but it would be more powerful if we get into classrooms starting at grade one!!
Frank J. Watson
1 Lochend Lane
Cheraw, SC 29520
"I'll see it when I believe it"