We used to talk about Digital Literacy… Now ‘digital fluency’ goes a step further to include utilising and integrating digital skills into everyday communication, problem solving and learning. How teaching and learning has changed! Now the teacher must also ensure he or she is constantly upskilling to the point of ‘fluency’ then changing pedagogues in order to be relevant.
The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) is dedicated to improving 21st Century teaching and learning throughout the world by creating and disseminating products, practices and knowledge for effective Project Based Learning (PBL).
This skills framework contains definitions for each skill and sets them against the focus for which it needs to be developed. Project based learning has much in common with the Guided Inquiry approach we follow at Broughton and these definitions assist in making some of the 21C skills ‘jargon’ clear as more teachers learn new pedagogues.
This series of video clips by technyou were funded by the Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.
Training to think critically can be carried out through the integration of Information Skills across the curriculum. The Teacher Librarian plays a major role in enabling this by teaching collaboratively with teachers across curriculum areas and integrating critical thinking skills into the synthesis of information to build new arguments and knowledge to share creatively.
The Eduwebinar site has published a page of tools to support Inquiry Based Learning. These are organised by the steps of the Guided Inquiry process as set out in Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School by Carol C Kuhlthau, Leslie K Maniotes and Anne K Caspari.
For each step there are tools listed and linked to support learning – organising search strategies, organising information, presenting conclusions and supporting the evaluation of Inquiry Learning.
This video, produced using data obtained from an extensive research study of School Libraries in New Jersey led by Dr Ross Todd, describes the situation in school libraries today and the role of Teacher Librarian (called Library Media specialist in the USA)
Here is yet another way to present information. Students at Broughton have been learning to present information using Glogster, Prezi and Voki and here is yet another idea.
Easel.ly provides visual themes ready for data insertion. It is in early design stages so try this out – and give them feedback.
This chart, by the United States Department of Labor Futurework, graphically illustrates where we might be heading over the next thirty years based on the rapid changes in technology today. A conclusion is reached: “Fifty percent of today’s grade school kids will end up at jobs that haven’t been invented yet.” Clearly we must be training students to be creative and inventive.
This is where Guided Inquiry, used at Broughton in many classes, trains students to pose deep, personal questions, discover, select and channel information from many sources to reach conclusions that assist in bringing about change.
Students are often observed floundering in multiple website pages of useless information, or information that lacks authority.
At Broughton, Internet skills are taught specifically when I am assisting teachers in collaborative units of work – but more needs to be done across the board to enable all teachers and parents to guide students’ access to information and online activities safely, ethically and with authoritative results.
These two articles in eSchool News describe the dilemma – and what we as parents teachers and Teacher Librarians need to be doing.
Why more schools aren’t teaching web literacy—and how they can start by Alan November and Brian Mull
Web Literacy: Where the common Core meets common sense by Alan November and Brian Mull
Critical thinking skills are extremely important in order for students to be able to search and find relevant information to meet their research needs. This video clip states that there is now a new digital divide – “those that are able to search and those that are not able to search.” Google provides online tools, webinars and lesson plans to help teach students search skills.
Many students go straight to the search box without noticing the many extra tools that help to narrow the search field down to relevant information.
AND…Don’t forget that our school library offers Teacher Librarian support and seminars to improve information and digital literacy.
Students often type full questions into a search engine and wonder why the hits are not what they need. Learning how to decide on key words or search terms can be difficult for students. The following link gives an interesting and ‘fun’ way to broach this concept – use rebuses!
You might remember these puzzles from childhood, where select words in a narrative are replaced with pictures. We started playing with the idea, and realized this could be a great lesson for students in identifying the best search terms.
Dr Gail Bush from the National Louis University speaks about the way we need to view and use information when it is available in abundance from many sources. She says that in the 20th Century we used valid information to “answer the question” but now there are so many sources of information we must “question the answer”.
Dr Bush says we can’t trust every information source so we need to think critically when assessing information. Students need to be challenged to be open to changing perspectives under valid opinion. Students need to learn to question the validity of sources and look for perspectives and bias.
Read more here: http://www.nl.edu/news/informationtransliteracy.cfm
School is back for a new year and IRC seminars are in full swing as students are reminded of all the resources, tools and facilities available to them.
The skill of accessing tools, sites and new ideas needs to be combined with opportunities to actually use and transform these into expressions of creativity. As teachers and the Teacher Librarian plan units of work across all faculties, this needs to be kept in mind.
The blog post by Tanya Roscorla entitled 10 steps to strengthen digital and media literacy expands on this and argues for allowing increased access to social media in schools.
“...technology is a tool for communicative practice and for giving kids the opportunity to use their voices to strengthen their literacy, critical thinking and problem-solving skills”
The role of teacher Librarian is to foster and improve Digital and Information literacy across the school. Both teachers and students need to become expert information users.
“In the white paper Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action, professor Renee Hobbs from Temple University mentions skills that show digital and media literacy, including accessing information, solving problems, working collaboratively, communicating effectively, and analyzing data and evidence.“
Teacher Librarians assist collaboratively with the implementation of Information Literacy into the curriculum. Read more about this in this post on the Converge site:
This video “addresses the forces of change that are causing educators globally to rethink what education for today’s students should involve.”
Students are moving from learning about an historical body of information to becoming life-long learners manipulating information to solve and innovate in inquiry projects.
How do we help them to become capable of managing their own learning and to be learning forever? Information literacy and digital literacy is the key and this is the special role of Teacher Librarians as they team with classroom teachers in the school.