With the explosion of information available to us at our fingertips and even by voice command, it is paramount that we as educators begin to understand information literacy, media literacies and related concepts of digital citizenship. These three terms can lead down many paths of conversation. For a beginning focus in this post, I'll ask can we assign a topic to our elementary-high school students and expect that they can find credible, reliable sources and know how to cite them? Will students be safe as they explore sites at school and home? When do these skills get taught, and when do conversations about digital citizenship begin? Is around junior high too late? Whose responsibility is it to teach these skills and to instigate these conversations? Perhaps all educators (including administrators and parents in this definition) need to learn and be involved in helping our children navigate informational literacy, media literacies, and concepts of digital citizenship.
Begin Exploring Digital Citizenship at Digital ID
I'm still in the beginning stages of pulling together some sources to help my own kid understand these topics and to continue educating myself. Digital ID is a great place to go to begin understanding digital citizenship (a part of which relates to information literacy). It is a wiki created by Gail Desler and Natalie Bernasconi. Take your time, explore it and use it with your students! Watch this Ed Tech Talk where Gail and Natalie discuss the wiki site and more.
This interactive graphic by Online PhD spurred on this post and offers some tips for using Google search. But don't forget to go beyond Google. Some of the links in the Information Literacy Tools section on our web 2.0 tools page offer some ways of doing so for various age groups. Don't miss our young guest blogger's post, The Teachers Should See This: Research and Expensive Food. These are a few ways to begin to understand informational literacy.
How do these concepts of information literacy, media literacies, and digital citizenship connect? Perhaps in large ways as our students remix and become producers of knowledge, not only consumers of it. As educators, we can help them do this in responsible ways. We can encourage connections to the everyday pop culture, but focus on extensions beyond into academic learning. Doug Belshaw gave an interesting TEDxTalk entitled, The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies, that offers another view of this changing landscape as well as more food for thought.