Information Literacy Tips for Teachers and Learners

This fantastic contribution to our literacy month was prepared by Fran Skilton, Unitec librarian. Thanks Fran!

Information literacy

 

The concept of information literacy has come about over the last 20-30 years because of the huge growth of information accessible via the internet. As well, the change in the way people communicate, using mobile technology, Skype, etc, has changed the way information is used.

 

There are several models used to show how people become information literate. Increasingly, the models show that people experience information in different ways. By experiencing, then reflecting on their different experiences, people become information literate. Another model of information literacy, one that we use at Unitec, is the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Information Literacy Framework. This framework assumes six attributes of information literacy:

 

  • Recognising a need for information and the extent of information required;
  • Finding the information effectively and efficiently;
  • Critically evaluating the information found and the process;
  • Managing this information;
  • Using what they know and this new information to create new understandings;
  • Using information ethically and legally.

 

Every time we need to find out about something, make a decision or do any kind of research, we go through this process. The timing varies according to the question. We use this process throughout our lives, in the workplace and in our personal activities.

 

In tertiary education, students can probably all find information when required, but not necessarily relevant, high quality, and in some cases, academic information. They are able learn this, but it takes time and is best embedded into the course of study. Your students should learn in the classroom how to work through the information, or enquiry, process. Once it is familiar to them there will be an improvement in research and the quality of their information sources. Your Liaison Librarian can help you with this.

 

Unitec has developed an Information Literacy Rubric, based on the framework, showing the expected minimal level of information literacy competency students should have acquired at each NZQF level. Unitec has also created an Information Literacy Framework, recognising that information literacy is a key to success at Unitec and in the workplace. We also have an information literacy subject guide available for staff, providing further support.

 

Finally, the Study Toolbox, created by Te Puna Ako and the Library, provides interactive academic support to your students and will help develop their information skills.

 

Some ideas to foster information literacy in the classroom:

 

  • Have students brainstorm topics;
  • Develop students’ internet searching skills by giving them a time limit to find three “good” Internet sites. They will be required to justify their choices;
  • Use the flipped classroom approach to the Study Toolbox: have students work through a section on their own, then have an activity based around it in the classroom;
  • Include mini-assignments in assessments, that require students to demonstrate skills in summarising, paraphrasing, critical analysis, building an argument and referencing;
  • Provide students will a handout of relevant information sources, correctly referenced. They may use these, but must also find further sources of information;
  • Help students with referencing by providing APA links on Moodle and individual help;
  • Current awareness posters;
  • Annotated bibliographies;
  • Reflective information diaries and information searching logs;
  • Using assignments as information seeking exercises;
  • Portfolios – will show evidence of students’ information capabilities and encourage reflection.

 

 

References

New Zealand information literacy framework: Principles, standards and practice. (2004). A. Bundy (Ed.).  Retrieved from http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/learn/infolit/Infolit-2nd-edition.pdf

Bruce, C. (n.d.). Seven faces of information literacy in higher education. Retrieved from http://www.christinebruce.com.au/informed-learning/seven-faces-of-i...

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