I was reminded last week of a video I saw when I was in Grade 4 at Woodward Elementary School – the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest:
I remember being sucked right in.
Of course, the tools have changed. In recent years, Alan November has done a great job of sharing the web equivalents of the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest in:
Just as so many of us learned how to find the author, publisher and other pertinent information with books and magazines, these skills are more important than ever. I was convinced that we were winning this battle, but several visits to classrooms lately, and through conversations with students, I’ve come to the conclusion that we need to do more to reinforce the idea that just because “Google” puts it at the top of the list on a search, doesn’t mean it is any more valuable that the other results. As we unleash more students in one-to-one situations in an era of personally-owned devices, information literacy is just as important now as it was when we learned how to find the author of a book.
Again, Alan November is helpful with this. Some of the skills he advocates for include:
- Learning How to Read a Web Address
- Finding the Publisher of a Website
- Finding the History of a Website
- Checking the External Links
One way I have seen this done (in a Grade 6 class in our district) was that the teacher required students using a website for a project to not only give the URL but also include WHO wrote the information on the site, WHAT the purpose is for the site, WHEN the site was last updated, WHERE the information comes from and WHY the information is useful for the project. This is inline with the suggestions that come from Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators.
Information literacy is not new, but the tools have changed. As the number of devices continue to increase, and we put them in kids’ hands at younger ages, we need to be sure that information literacy is a key aspect of our instruction.