ⓘ Information and media literacy

Information and media literacy

ⓘ Information and media literacy

Information and media literacy enables people to show and make informed judgments as users of information and media, as well as to become skillful creators and producers of information and media messages in their own right.

Prior to the 1990s, the primary focus of information literacy was research skills. Media literacy, a study that emerged around the 1970s, traditionally focuses on the analysis and the delivery of information through various forms of media. Nowadays, the study of information literacy has been extended to include the study of media literacy in many countries like the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The term "information and media literacy" is used by UNESCO to differentiate the combined study from the existing study of information literacy. It is also referred to as information and communication technologies ICT in the United States. Educators such as Gregory Ulmer have also defined the field as electracy.

IML is a combination of information literacy and media literacy. The purpose of being information and media literate is to engage in a digital society; one needs to be able to understand, inquire, create, communicate and think critically. It is important to effectively access, organize, analyze, evaluate, and create messages in a variety of forms. The transformative nature of IML includes creative works and creating new knowledge; to publish and collaborate responsibly requires ethical, cultural and social understanding.


1. 21st-century students

The IML learning capacities prepare students to be 21st century literate. According to Jeff Wilhelm 2000, "technology has everything to do with literacy. And being able to use the latest electronic technologies has everything to do with being literate." He supports his argument with J. David Bolters statement that "if our students are not reading and composing with various electronic technologies, then they are illiterate. They are not just unprepared for the future; they are illiterate right now, in our current time and context".

Wilhelms statement is supported by the 2005 Wired World Phase II YCWW II survey conducted by the Media Awareness Network of Canada on 5000 Grade 4 – 11 students. The key findings of the survey were:

  • 9% of Grade 11 students prefer the library.
  • 62% of Grade 4 students prefer the Internet.
  • 91% of Grade 11 students prefer the Internet.
  • 38% of Grade 4 students prefer the library.

Marc Prensky 2001 uses the term "digital native" to describe people who have been brought up in a digital world. The Internet has been a pervasive element of young peoples home lives. 94% of kids reported that they had Internet access at home, and a significant majority 61% had a high-speed connection.

By the time kids reach Grade 11, half of them 51 percent have their own Internet-connected computer, separate and apart from the family computer. The survey also showed that young Canadians are now among the most wired in the world. Contrary to the earlier stereotype of the isolated and awkward computer nerd, todays wired kid is a social kid.

In general, many students are better networked through the use of technology than most teachers and parents, who may not understand the abilities of technology. Students are no longer limited to desktop computera. They may use mobile technologies to graph mathematical problems, research a question for social studies, text message an expert for information, or send homework to a drop box. Students are accessing information by using MSN, personal Web pages, Weblogs and social networking sites.


2. Teaching and learning in the 21st century

Many teachers continue the tradition of teaching of the past 50 years. Traditionally teachers have been the experts sharing their knowledge with children. Technology, and the learning tools it provides access to, forces us to change to being facilitators of learning. We have to change the stereotype of teacher as the expert who delivers information, and students as consumers of information, in order to meet the needs of digital students. Teachers not only need to learn to speak digital, but also to embrace the language of digital natives.

Language is generally defined as a system used to communicate in which symbols convey information. Digital natives can communicate fluently with digital devices and convey information in a way that was impossible without digital devices. People born prior to 1988 are sometimes referred to as "digital immigrants." They experience difficulty programming simple devices like a VCR. Digital immigrants do not start pushing buttons to make things work.

Learning a language is best done early in a childs development.

In acquiring a second language, Hyltenstam 1992 found that around the age of 6 and 7 seemed to be a cut-off point for bilinguals to achieve native-like proficiency. After that age, second language learners could get near-native-like-ness but their language would, while consisting of very few actual errors, have enough errors that would set them apart from the first language group. Although more recent research suggests this impact still exists up to 10 years of age.

Kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 are critical to student success as digital natives because not all students have a "digital"-rich childhood. Students learning technological skills before Grade 3 can become equivalently bilingual. "Language-minority students who cannot read and write proficiently in English cannot participate fully in American schools, workplaces, or society. They face limited job opportunities and earning power." Speaking "digital" is as important as being literate in order to participate fully in North American society and opportunities.


3. Students struggle

Many students are considered illiterate in media and information for various reasons. They may not see the value of media and information literacy in the 21st-century classroom. Others are not aware of the emergence of the new form of information. Educators need to introduce IML to these students to help them become media and information literate. Very little changes will be made if the educators are not supporting information and media literacy in their own classrooms.

Performance standards, the foundation to support them, and tools to implement them are readily available. Success will come when there is full implementation and equitable access are established. Shared vision and goals that focus on strategic actions with measurable results are also necessary.

When the staff and community, working together, identify and clarify their values, beliefs, assumptions, and perceptions about what they want children to know and be able to do, an important next step will be to discover which of these values and expectations will be achieved. Using the capacity tools to assess IML will allow students, staff and the community to reflect on how well students are meeting learning needs as related to technology.

The IML Performance standards allow data collection and analysis to evidence that student-learning needs are being met. After assessing student IML, three questions can be asked:

  • How does one know whether students have met the capacities?
  • What does each student need to learn?
  • How does one respond when students have difficulty in learning?

Teachers can use classroom assessment for learning to identify areas that might need increased focus and support. Students can use classroom assessment to set learning goals for themselves.


4. In the curriculum

This integration of technology across the curriculum is a positive shift from computers being viewed as boxes to be learned to computers being used as technical communication tools. In addition, recent learning pedagogy recognizes the inclusion for students to be creators of knowledge through technology. International Society for Technology in Education ISTE has been developing a standard IML curriculum for the US and other countries by implementing the National Educational Technology Standards.


4.1. In the curriculum UK

In the UK, IML has been promoted among educators through an information literacy website developed by several organizations that have been involved in the field.


4.2. In the curriculum US

IML is included in the Partnership for the 21st Century program sponsored by the US Department of Education. Special mandates have been provided to Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Individual school districts, such as the Clarkstown Central School District, have also developed their own information literacy curriculum. ISTE has also produced the National Educational Technology Standards for Students, Teachers and Administrators.


4.3. In the curriculum Canada

In British Columbia, Canada, the Ministry of Education has de-listed the Information Technology K to 7 IRP as a stand-alone course. It is still expected that all the prescribed learning outcomes continue to be integrated.

This integration of technology across the curriculum is a positive shift from computers being viewed as boxes to be learned to computers being used as technical communication tools. In addition, recent learning pedagogy recognizes the inclusion for students to be creators of knowledge through technology. Unfortunately, there has been no clear direction to implement IML.

The BC Ministry of Education published the Information and Communications Technology Integration Performance Standards, Grades 5 to 10 ICTI in 2005. These standards provide performance standards expectations for Grade 5 to 10; however, they do not provide guidance for other grades, and the expectation for a Grade 5 and Grade 10 student are the same.


4.4. In the curriculum Asia

In Singapore and Hong Kong, information literacy or information technology was listed as a formal curriculum.


5. Barriers

One barrier to learning to read is the lack of books, while a barrier to learning IML is the lack of technology access. Highlighting the value of IML helps to identify existing barriers within school infrastructure, staff development, and support systems. While there is a continued need to work on the foundations to provide a sustainable and equitable access, the biggest obstacle is school climate.

Marc Prensky identifies one barrier as teachers viewing digital devices as distractions: "Lets admit the real reason that we ban cell phones is that, given the opportunity to use them, students would vote with their attention, just as adults would vote with their feet by leaving the room when a presentation is not compelling."

The mindset of banning new technology, and fearing the bad things that can happen, can affect educational decisions. The decision to ban digital devices impacts students for the rest of their lives.

Any tool that is used poorly or incorrectly can be unsafe. Safety lessons are mandatory in industrial technology and science. Yet safety or ethical lessons are not mandatory to use technology.

Not all decisions in schools are measured by common ground beliefs. One school district in Ontario banned digital devices from their schools. Local schools have been looking at doing the same. These kinds of reactions are often about immediate actions and not about teaching, learning or creating solutions. Many barriers to IML exist.

  • Media literacy encompasses the practices that allow people to access, critically evaluate, and create or manipulate media Media literacy is not restricted
  • Information literacy is a concept that defines literacy of persons with respect to informatics. The term applies to consumers of information and their
  • statistical literacy critical literacy media literacy ecological literacy and health literacy Literacy emerged with the development of numeracy and computational
  • Digital literacy refers to an individual s ability to find, evaluate, and compose clear information through writing and other mediums on various digital
  • and the University of Minnesota libraries Data Management Course for Structural Engineers. Statistical literacy Media literacy Information literacy New
  • shifted more heavily to digital literacy although it continues to produce resources on traditional media The funding for Media Smarts is primarily derived
  • Visual literacy is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image, extending the meaning of literacy
  • Health literacy is the ability to obtain, read, understand, and use healthcare information in order to make appropriate health decisions and follow instructions
  • Visual literacy in education develops a student s visual literacy their ability to comprehend, make meaning of, and communicate through visual means
  • Critical literacy is defined as the ability to take apart various texts in media or writing to find any possible discrimination that the author might
  • transliteracy, media literacy or digital literacy These skills include not only the ability to read and write - traditional literacy - but the ability
  • Technological literacy Technology Literacy is the ability to use, manage, understand, and assess technology. Technological literacy is related to digital