The Importance of Information Literacy Instruction, According to Educational Psychology

The fact is that much of what has passed for knowledge in previous generations is still valid and useful.What is true is that there is an increasing amount of new information becoming available, some of it trustworthy, some not. To adequately deal with this stream of new information that increases in size and tempo daily, one must be able to search, find, evaluate, select, process, organize, and present information. However, as Hannafin and Hill (2007) warned, “while technology has been lauded for potentially democratizing access to informaion, educational use remains fraught with issues of literacy, misinterpretation, and propagandizing” (p. 526).
The set of activities and/or skills needed to adequately deal with this information generation and dissemination is frequently referred to as information literacy or—when information and communication technologies also play a key role— digital literacy activities/skills (Bawden, 2001; Brand- Gruwel & Gerjets, 2008; Brand-Gruwel, Wopereis, & Walraven,2009;Eisenberg&Berkowitz,1990;Jones-Kavalier& Flannigan, 2006; Moore, 1995; Wolf, Brush, & Saye, 2003). This is often seen as one of the core 21st-century skills propagated in much school policy (Anderman, Sinatra, & Gray, 2012; Dede, 2010; European Commission, 2002; Voogt & Pareja Roblin, 2010).
Although students are often thought of as being competent or even expert in information problem solving (i.e., that they are information and digitally literate) because they areseen searching the web daily, research reveals that solving information problems is for most students a major if not insurmountable cognitive endeavor. Searching, finding, and processing information is a complex cognitive process that requires identifying information needs, locating corresponding information sources, extracting and organizing relevant information from each source, and synthesizing information from a variety of sources. According to Miller and Bartlett (2012), effective Internet use requires distinguishing good information from bad. They noted, however, that learners are not astute Internet users. Learners not only have problems finding the information that they are seeking but also often trust the first thing they see, making them prone to “the pitfalls of ignorance, falsehoods, cons and scams” (p. 35). Many researchers (e.g., Bilal, 2000; Large & Beheshti, 2000; MaKinster, Beghetto, & Plucker, 2002; Wallace, Kupperman, Krajcik, & Soloway, 2000) have demonstrated thatyoung children, teenagers, and adults are not capable of effectively choosing proper search terms, selecting the most relevant websites, and questioning the validity of sources. Furthermore, research of Brand-Gruwel, Wopereis, and Vermetten (2005); Branch (2001); Gross and Latham (2007); and Lazonder (2000) revealed that students lack regulatory skills and have difficulties defining the information problem; identifying what they do not know. Taking all these research results into account, it can be concluded that students must learn to solve information-based problems and must learn transferable search and evaluation strategies […]
The fact that students make use of many electronic devices and are called digital natives, does not make them good users of the media that they have at their disposal. They can Google but lack the information skills to effectively find the information they need, and they also do not have the knowledge to adequately determine the relevance or truth of what they have found (Walraven, Brand-Gruwel, & Boshuizen, 2008).
-Kirschner P, van Merriënboer J. Do Learners Really Know Best? Urban Legends in Education. Educational Psychologist. July 2013;48(3):169-183.
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Filed under Bibliographic Instruction is Dead, Education, Library Instruction, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel, Quotes

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