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Approaches to Information and Communication Literacy

What information and communication skills do my students need to be successful in today's world?
 
Are the competencies identified in different parts of the world similar?
 
What approaches are educators taking to be certain that all students are literate?

modelInformation and Communication Literacy

Educators around the world have identified basic competencies in the information and communication area for both students and teachers. Some of these guidelines place more focus on process, while others emphasize product. Technology plays a central role in some guidelines, while it is viewed as one of many options in other curriculum. In some cases, an integrated approach is taken. In other words, the scope and sequence for information and communication literacy has been merged with each content area.
 
The two links below identify the standards of two well-known organizations, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) reflecting the "technology perspective" and ALA (American Library Association) representing the "information perspective." Compare and contrast these two different perspectives and sets of competencies.

An Evolving Literacy

Educators through history have tried to identify the basic competencies of a "well-rounded" student. Although many of these knowledge, skills, and attitudes can be associated with particular content areas such as math, science, social studies, or language arts, other competencies seem to flow through all areas. For example, all students need to be able to access, process, and communicate information and ideas. Critical and creative thinking is an example of this overlap with traditional curriculum areas. During the 1970s and 1980s, a growing number of school library media specialists began to draw these skills together under an information literacy curriculum.
 
With the introduction of the computer in schools, a new wave of competencies emerged under the umbrella of computer literacy. However in recent years, educators have discovered that the core skills associated with the computer relate to information, communication, thinking, and learning rather than the hardware itself. Over the past decade, a new strand of competencies can be found in schools and organizations around the world. Although they have a range of names, they all relate to information, technology, and communication literacy in some way. You'll notice that many schools and organizations have adapted elements of the information processing models discussed below, particularly the Big6 model.

You may also want to read some articles about information and communication literacy.

Approaches to Information Literacy

Many educators view information and communication literacy as the foundation to all "traditional content areas." Rather than focusing on individual skills, many educators prefer to use a problem-solving or inquiry-based approach to the process of working with information and creating communication. Others prefer to call these study or research skills.
 
Regardless of the label, most educators agree that teaching information literacy as a process is the best approach to addressing the essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes. We've done a comparison of many of these models using Inspiration. It has been provided in both graphic file and PDF file.
 
Below you will find links to the most popular information processing models. Many of these websites contain examples and sample projects. The links below will also guide you to information literacy resources designed for teachers and links for students.

Information Processing Models

Overall Resources Designed for Teachers

Overall Resources Designed for Students

Explore the Standards and Models

Compare the ISTE and ALA guidelines.
 
Go to the Educator's Website for Information Technology and explore the information technology standards for each state. Compare and contrast the contents from two different states. Compare and contrast the information literacy models. A few are listed below:


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