Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Technology Infrastructure and Information Literacy. This is by Eugene A. Engeldinger. It was published in Library Philosophy and Practice Vol. 1, No. 1 (Fall 1998).

From the site:

The fundamental purpose of higher education is the preparation of students for their futures. If graduates of today and tomorrow are to flourish in the modern, fast-paced, high-tech world, they must have information seeking and technology skills. They must be information and technology literate. The means of acquiring these literacies must be imbedded in student learning and be part and parcel of their educational experience. For this to be so imbedded, it is necessary for the institution to develop and maintain a robust information technology infrastructure.

Information Literacy

Information literate people have a number of qualities and skills. First of all, they recognize when they have an information need. This, as we all know, is not a quality possessed by everyone. They know the appropriate places to look for information, and they know the appropriate strategies to use for each of them. The information literate person has the ability to recognize the information when it is found, and then to determine if it is the best, most accurate, or most current information available.

Information literacy can combine various elements of library literacy, computer literacy, media literacy, network literacy and other literacies, but it should be noted that in the best educational experiences, students become more information literate in the natural course of learning subject content and research methodologies of the various disciplines they study.

Whether our institutions of higher learning expressly articulate it or not, they all want their graduates to have developed these competencies and many believe their students have done so. Even though all want their students to be information literate, few have specifically built the means of acquiring those skills into the curriculum. We are all aware that inculcating these competencies should be a curriculum-wide responsibility. But because of the differences in technical expertise among the faculty and the technical resources on our campuses, not all can contribute equally to the effort.

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