Information Literacy Tips
Submitted by David J. Rosen on July 4, 2018 - 8:52am
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Reflecting on U.S. Independence Day, there are many interpretations of Independence. One is the ability to make one's own decisions, independently, with the skills to sort out fact from opinion, bias, fiction, lies, and distortion. Some adult basic skills teachers (including ESOL/ESL) may already routinely or occasionally incorporate information literacy in their lessons. According to a Wikipedia page on information literacy, The American Library Association defines information literacy as a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. Other definitions incorporate aspects of "skepticism, judgement, free thinking, questioning, and understanding..." or incorporate competencies that an informed citizen of an information society ought to possess to participate intelligently and actively in that society." 
How do you sort out fact from opinion, bias, fiction, lies, and distortion? How do you help your students do this? How do you and they quickly and reliably check information about the source of an article?
This is a new discussion thread focusing on learning and teaching tips for finding, evaluating and using information effectively in all aspects of our -- and our students -- lives, but especially for personal decision making as a citizen or resident in a democratic society.
Here's the first tip. I hope you will also share your tips!
1. You have just read an engaging article in a newspaper, magazine, journal, or blog. The print or online publication is not one you are familiar with. If you (or your students) Google it, increasingly over time when you select the major link to the publication you will see a box to the right, from the Wikipedia, with information about the publication. Try it. For example, Google "Wall Street Journal." When I did, I learned that it is "the most-circulated newspaper in the US (2,378,827 average circulation)." The second most widely circulated newspaper in the U.S., I learned when I Googled it, is the New York Times.
A new project will add another 1,000 local newspapers according to Poynter, an online publication about journalism from The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a non-profit school for journalism located in St. Petersburg, Florida. In the Poynter article, "Digital literacy project sets an ambitious goal: Wikipedia pages for 1,000 local newspapers" we learn that "Mike Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University Vancouver, plans to work with students around the U.S. to create pages and info boxes for the local newspapers lacking them. "As part of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Digital Polarization Initiative, a project to combat misinformation and polarization with digital literacy, [Caulfield] also hopes it will teach students digital literacy and the cultural significance of local newspapers." Would your students, perhaps as a group learning project, be interested in participating in this project, learning about the local newspapers in your community that might be added as information boxes?
2. Now it's your turn to add an information literacy tip.
David J. Rosen, Moderator
LINCS CoP Integrating Technology and Program Management groups