Approaches to Information and Communication Literacy
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?
Information 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
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.
- National Educational Technology Standards. This ISTE sponsored page focuses on news, resources, and guidelines for the National Educational Technology Standards. It also contains sample curriculum.
- Information Power: The Nine Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning. This ALA sponsored page focuses on nine information literacy standards associated with information literacy, independent learning, and Social Responsibility.
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.
- Information Technology Skills. This page contains links to dozens of websites focusing on information, technology, and communication skills resources. Many contain scope and sequence, skills checklists, and assessments.
- Educator's Website for Information Technology. This web page links to state, national, and international information technology standards.
- The Information Literacy Movement of the School Library Media Field: a Preliminary Summary of the Research. This article by David Loertscher and Blanche Woolls provides an excellent review of the research and movements in the area of information literacy.
- Computer Skills for Information Problem-Solving: Learning and Teaching Technology in Context. This article by Michael B. Eisenberg and Doug Johnson discusses the importance of teaching technology skills in a context.
- The Research Cycle - Jamie McKenzie discusses different approaches to the research cycle.
- Info Skills Bibliography - Pappas and Tepe have put together a great bibliography of print resources.
- Directory of Online Resources for Information Literacy. This directory provides links to a wide range of resources on information 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
- The 8Ws. This model was developed by Annette Lamb in the early 1990s to bring together perspectives from library media, technology, and traditional content areas.
- Pathways to Knowledge. This Follett sponsored information skills model was developed by Marjorie Pappas and Ann Tepe. Go to their thematic units page for examples on the topics of fossils, endangered species, microbes, and Shakespeare.
Big 6. This Information
Problem-Solving Approach by Michael B. Eisenberg and Robert E.
Berkowitz is probably the most popular model for information skills.
It includes the steps of task definition, information seeking
strategies, location and access, use of information, synthesis,
and evaluation. You can also see examples
of each element. Explore and evaluate a series of lesson
examples and lots of links to K-12 school projects.
- Big6 Assignment Organizer - worksheet
- Research Cycle 2000. This information model by Jamie McKenzie also provides links to the other models.
- Stripling and Pitts Research Process Model. This was one of the earlier models developed.
- InfoZone. This was one of the first web-based information process website. It includes the phases of wondering, seeking, choosing, connecting, producing, judging.
- The Building Blocks of Research. Engaging, defining, initiating, locating, examining, selecting, comprehending, assessing, recording, sorting, organizing, interpreting, synthesizing, communicating, and evaluating are parts of this model. For each of these areas, they describe the student skills, outcome, and teaching strategies. They also give a sample project for each area.
Overall Resources Designed for Teachers
- Research Modules Supporting the Essential Curriculum and Information Literacy. This site provides research modules for K-12 teachers across content areas. This site provides simple, nicely organized examples.
- WHISP: Teacher Information. This site follows the research process and provides resources for students and teachers.
Overall Resources Designed for Students
- Pathways to Knowledge. This website helps students work through the information process using the Pathways to Knowledge model. It has great graphics, but may be slow loading.
- The Big 6. This page provides an overview of each step in the process and an explanation of each step: Big 6 visual organizer worksheet.
- Take a Walk on the Wired Side. This website for high school and college students focuses on topics related to information literacy.
- Research Strategy. This website takes high school and college students through the research process.
- Student's Guide. This primary grades page from WHISP focuses on how to do a research project.
- Student Guide to Research on the Web. This page reviews the research process using the web.
- A+ Research and Writing. This page follows the research process.
- Study Guides and Strategies. Explore many different short guides.
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:
- Arizona Technology Standards
- Bellingham Public Schools
- CTAP (California) Region VII Information Literacy Guidelines
- Colorado Information Literacy
- Maryland Library Media Learning Outcomes
- North Carolina Information Skills Curriculum
- Oregon Information Literacy Guidelines - connected to content areas
- Washington's Information Skills
- Wisconsin's Information Technology Literacy
Library Media Standards