Sunday, July 29, 2007
Many people have ideas about what the information literacy standards should be, and just as many people don't know that such standards exist.
The standards written by librarians are my favorites.
The Association of College and Research Libraries has had a long list for a long time. Check it out and see how many of these things you know how to do. And did you learn them in college?
They will also tell you how to create a program that teaches the standards in the document Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices: A Guideline.
The American Association of School Librarians also have standards, newly revised this year, and still in process. You can see the draft document here: 21st Century Library Learning Standards
I like them best because they focus on theory and concepts, and will be useful for a long time. They focus on what learners will be able to do, and the goals are practical and useful.
In the State of Wisconsin, information literacy for grades K - 12 is included under Information and Technology Literacy. The curriculum standards are listed in a book length document:
Wisconsin's Model Academic Standards for Information and Technology Literacy.
There is good information in this document, but there is also a lot of emphasis on specific technology skills, many of them 20th century skills. Yes, there are people in the world who cannot create email or word processing documents, but not many of them are children. It seems more useful to me to frame the concepts in broad terms e.g. use computer programs to create products that can be shared. Saves a lot of re-writing, and focuses on the strategy, not the skill.
The best technology literacy standards come from the International Society for Technology in Education, and they list them for students, teachers, and administrators. This is their vision of what students should be able to do: National Educational Technology Standards: The Next Generation.
The whole web site is worth looking at http://cnets.iste.org/index.shtml
and if you're a teacher or an administrator, take a look at the standards for your job and use them as a little self test. [How did I do? Between 80 and 90% on both lists, but libraries, information literacy and libraries are intimately intertwined, and I've been a librarian for some time now. . . ]