Learning Philosophy 1.0

Information literacy is vital in today’s globally connected society, where the norm is the near-constant ebb and flow of news bites, blogs, and advertisements.  When often-conflicting sources of information are available, it is imperative that information users of every sort are able to evaluate statements for their validity before making decisions, big or small, no matter if the objective is researching a political candidate or trying to find a review for the new pizza place down the road.  Every day, the library community is bombarded with many options of how to find the information both formal and informal learners require for work or for play, and they must be able to judge for themselves whether or not they are finding the right sources.

Through structured information literacy training, librarian instructors can help students and patrons become proficient in locating the best possible resources on their own.  Away from the reference desk and out in the real world, library users are not always going to have a librarian to guide them, and they must be able to interact with information in an educated and purposeful way during these informal learning opportunities.  The goal is to find the most valuable information quickly and efficiently, but when flustered or rushed, it can be too easy to revert to a basic internet search that yields only popular sites, not necessarily the most reliable sources.  It is the librarian’s responsibility to create familiarity and comfort with search methods that are both user-friendly and useful.  By encouraging students and patrons to think critically about information as it is presented to them, librarians can help learners make the best choices for their personal literacy needs throughout their lives.

Wordle: Information Literacy

5 thoughts on “Learning Philosophy 1.0

  1. Karen Yarbrough Post author

    Jeff, I suppose I don’t see participatory learning as being a huge part of my IL instruction because I have such limited time with students. The assignments are usually handled by the classroom teacher. Instead I will probably use it during more informal learning situations and for outreach/marketing library services, but I’m thinking about the things I learn in this class as being more about technology support for other teachers. Media specialists are usually a go-to these days, and I want to have a solid arsenal of options to encourage teachers to use more regularly than I could based on the fact that I’m not a classroom teacher.

  2. jmm5032

    As Jeff said, I like hearing about your perspectives as a librarian. One of your goals is to help people become proficient in locating the best resources available. In what ways can you guide them in developing this skill set? Would you use participatory learning in your lesson design, and how would your philosophy of learning factor into the instructional planning?

    “Information” stands out in your wordle art, certainly no coincidence. I’m not surprised, but are you? Information, which might be equivalent to knowledge, is a powerful force, possibly a key one driving the Web 2.0 movement. Access to information and its creation form the basis of the fourth information age. How to find reliable information is a huge part of our world and requires valuable skills. A comical way that older, untrained people in the digital era share websites with one another is by spelling out the entire web address. People who are more adept at finding information on the Internet describe the key words to use in a search engine. I cite this mundane example as a way of agreeing with your support of the notion that proficiently finding reliable resources is crucial in today’s world.

  3. Karen Yarbrough Post author

    You’re both right that information literacy is a big part of 21st century learning, and I think people who rattle on about libraries dying or being obsolete don’t know a damn thing about actual libraries. There will always be a need for people to find the best information and a need for people to help them find what they need.

  4. Melissa Glenn

    I had not thought much about information literacy until this year when I was part of a committee that discussed how we could best assess information management student learning outcomes. Information management is part of the State University of New York’s General Education Competencies. Students needed to demonstrate that they could use the basic functions of a computer, use basic research techniques, and–here’s the difficult one–“Locate, evaluate and synthesize information from a variety of sources” (http://www.suny.edu/provost/academic_affairs/LearningOutcomes.cfm). It is one thing to find information, but students need to evaluate if that is the information they need and then bring multiple sources together. I am also part of a team developing a new freshman experience course for science majors, and we have discussed the best ways to incorporate learning on information management. I have already come up with a few ideas through our course, such as the use of diigo to bookmark and comment on scientific articles.

  5. jaf378

    I love reading your perspective as someone involved with the libraries. Libraries are fundamentally about how to access information, and it’s very interesting to see how the techniques of those working in the libraries are changing with emerging technologies. I liked seeing words like “user-friendly,” “reliable,” and “responsibility” because they strengthen the idea that access to information isn’t enough. It’s not enough for a student to have a computer that is connected to a huge database where they can find anything they want. They have to know how to access these emerging technologies, how to search within them, and how to employ the information that they find. Librarians and resource staff are teachers that are facilitating how learners access new information, just outside of the classroom.

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