My classmates and I co-authored a book on our experiences teaching and designing instruction on information literacy. My chapter, “What’s the Keystroke Command for Information Literacy? Getting from Tech Skills to Thinking Skills,” focuses on the connection between basic technology skills and the mental acumen needed to sort and filter information. When it comes to instruction, we teach students how to use various pieces of technology, but we often forget to connect it to information literacy. We are so busy showing our peers and students that we’re tech-savvy that we forget to translate the more traditional skills in information literacy to the digital realm and model these practices.
How can we avoid this?
- Frame the instruction from the beginning in information literacy
- Avoid Application Overload
- Translate more traditional analog information literacy skills and processes to digital interfaces
- Structure lessons to treat technology as a tool, not as a means to an end
As computers and other forms of technology become embedded in our work habits and as more information becomes available on the Internet, the skills and services librarians offer will become less connected to the reference desk and possibly, to the physical library itself. Students are gradually becoming their own personal librarians as they adopt more technology. Their 21st century lives are leading them to figure out ways to organize the artifacts of this digital life, whether it be their photos, notes, handouts, or lecture material. These new (digital) tools without the appropriate cognitive skills are not tools; without robust information literacy skills students are essentially are still operating at a superficial level.
The book can be downloaded (epub or kindle) for free here.