Teaching, Learning and Information Literacy

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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of California Santa Cruz]On: 25 November 2014, At: 13:09Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK

    Behavioral & Social SciencesLibrarianPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wbss20

    Teaching, Learning andInformation LiteracyJennifer L. Branch a ba Teacher-Librarianship by Distance LearningProgramb Department of Education and the School of Libraryand Information Studies, Faculty of Education ,University of Alberta , Edmonton, AB, CanadaPublished online: 25 Sep 2008.

    To cite this article: Jennifer L. Branch (2003) Teaching, Learning and InformationLiteracy, Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 22:1, 33-46, DOI: 10.1300/J103v22n01_04

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J103v22n01_04

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  • Teaching, Learningand Information Literacy:

    Developing an Understandingof Pre-Service Teachers Knowledge

    Jennifer L. Branch

    SUMMARY. This study explored pre-service teachers understandingsof information literacy and Information and Communication Technology(ICT) outcomes before and after being involved in a class that promotedand explored issues of information literacy and resource-based learning.One surprising result of a pre-class questionnaire was that, when askedabout the role of information literacy in their lives as teachers, only four ofthe ten participants mentioned the students in their classroom and only oneparticipant clearly stated that information literacy skills would need to betaught to students. This result suggests that teacher educators need tomove from helping pre-service teachers become more information literateto helping pre-service teachers integrate information literacy skills intotheir own teaching. The post-class questionnaire found that immersingpre-service teachers in a research process, information literacy, and re-

    Jennifer L. Branch is Coordinator, Teacher-Librarianship by Distance LearningProgram and Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Educa-tion and the School of Library and Information Studies, Faculty of Education,University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada (E-mail: jbranch@ualberta.ca).

    [Haworth co-indexing entry note]: Teaching, Learning and Information Literacy: Developing an Under-standing of Pre-Service Teachers Knowledge. Branch, Jennifer L. Co-published simultaneously in Behav-ioral & Social Sciences Librarian (The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.)Vol. 22, No. 1, 2003, pp. 33-46; and: Information Literacy Instruction for Educators: Professional Knowledgefor an Information Age (ed: Dawn M. Shinew, and Scott Walter) The Haworth Information Press, an imprintof The Haworth Press, Inc., 2003, pp. 33-46. Single or multiple copies of this article are available for a feefrom The Haworth Document Delivery Service [1-800-HAWORTH, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail ad-dress: docdelivery@haworthpress.com].

    http://www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=J103 2003 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Digital Object Identifier: 10.1300/J103v22n01_04 33

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  • source-based learning environment allowed their definitions of informa-tion literacy to expand, and they were better able to imagine how theycould integrate the ICT outcomes into their teaching. [Article copies avail-able for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH.E-mail address: Website: 2003 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]

    KEYWORDS. Information literacy, teacher education, resource-basedlearning, information and communication technology, research process

    Information literacy is one of the educational buzzwords for this newmillennium. As educators, we want our students to be able to locate,evaluate, synthesize, and use information from a variety of sources toanswer all types of questions. As teacher educators, our challenge is toprepare teachers to teach the skills, strategies and attitudes that are partof information literacy. Education librarians can have an important rolein the information literacy education of pre-service teachers as well.

    The research in this paper was conducted in the Faculty of Educationat the University of Alberta. Readers outside of Canada should be awareof the Canadian educational context. By legislation, education, includ-ing post-secondary education, is primarily a provincial and territorialmatter. There have recently been a number of regional initiativesdeigned to create common curriculum frameworks in the areas of math,language arts, science and social studies. As yet, there is neither a na-tional office of education, nor national governmental policies in the ar-eas of information literacy and technology integration for pre-serviceteachers or for K-12 students. Some regional, provincial and territorialpolicy initiatives in these areas have been developed, however, or are inthe development stage, including Albertas Information and Communi-cation Technology Curriculum.

    It is also important to know that there are two national school libraryassociations, neither having the impact on educational policy and prac-tice of the kind evidenced in the U.S. by organizations such as theAmerican Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the Interna-tional Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Nor are teacher ed-ucation institutions in Canada accredited by a body equivalent to theNational Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Asis consistent with the Canadian approach to many aspects of public pol-icy, assurance of high-quality programs and services does not comeabout through federal regulations but through more local and collabora-

    34 INFORMATION LITERACY INSTRUCTION FOR EDUCATORS

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  • tive processes of negotiation underpinned by expectations of goodwill,effort and integrity.

    It was in this educational climate that the province of Alberta and itseducation department (Alberta Learning) created the Information andCommunication Technology (ICT) outcomes. Information literacy ispart of this new document that provides students with a broad perspec-tive on the nature of technology, how to use and apply a variety of tech-nologies, and the impact of information and communication technologieson themselves and on society (Alberta Learning 2002). The ICT curricu-lum is meant to be integrated with other K-12 curriculum areas.

    The ICT curriculum focuses on new ways to communicate, inquire,make decisions and solve problems. It is the processes, tools and tech-niques for:

    Gathering and identifying information Classifying and organizing Summarizing and synthesizing Analyzing and evaluating Speculating and predicting (Alberta Learning, 2002).

    These concepts are presented in three categories. The first, commu-nicating, inquiring, decision making and problem solving are about theability to use a variety of processes to critically assess information,manage inquiry, solve problems, do research and communicate with avariety of audiences. Students are expected to apply their knowledgeand skills in real-life situations. The second category, foundational op-erations, knowledge and concepts, is about understanding the natureand effect of technology, the moral and ethical use of technology, massmedia in a digitized context, ergonomic and safety issues, and basiccomputer, telecommunication and multimedia technology operations.Processes for productivity, the third category, is about the knowledgeand skills required to use a variety of basic productivity tools and tech-niquesfor example, text composition; data organization; graphical, au-dio and multimedia composition and manipulation; media and processintegration; and electronic communication, navigation and collabora-tion through electronic means (Alberta Learning 2002).

    These outcomes are not that different from expectations across NorthAmerica that teachers integrate technology and information literacyskills into teaching. In Alberta, as in other jurisdictions, school districtshave implemented professional development and in-service sessionsfor their classroom teachers in order to facilitate this work. In Faculties

    Jennifer L. Branch 35

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  • of Education, some methods courses now include reference to, and as-signments based on, the ICT outcomes. Also, students have been re-quired to take a computer fundamentals class that focuses on thetechnology outcomes from ICT. At the University of Alberta, informa-tion literacy is not specifically addressed.

    We know very little about what understandings pre-service teachershave about information literacy and how a course that promotes infor-mation literacy influences these understandings. This study exploredpre-service teachers understandings of information literacy and ICToutcomes. Pre-service teachers were involved in a class on resource-based teaching that promoted and explored issues of information liter-acy and resource-based learning. Early in the class, participants wereasked about their understandings of information literacy. At the end ofthe class, they were again asked about their understandings of informa-tion literacy and also about ICT outcomes to compare and contrast withthe initial responses.

    REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

    As early as 1989, the American Library Association recommendedthat information literacy be included in pre-service teacher education.In 1998, when the Association of College and Research Libraries(ACRL) prepared A Progress Report on Information Literacy: An Up-date on the American Library Association Presidential Committee onInformation Literacy: Final Report, they were able to outline the as-tounding progress that has been made toward the reaching of these rec-ommendations in such a relatively short period of time, with littlefinancial support, and largely through volunteer and grassroots efforts.However, one glaring area where nothing had been accomplished wasRecommendation 5teacher education and information literacy. ACRL(1998) suggested that there must be a plan for working with teacher ed-ucation programs and the National Council for Accreditation ofTeacher Education to infuse information literacy requirements into un-dergraduate and graduate programs of teacher education. The call forinformation literacy to be included in pre-service teacher education wasmade again in Blueprint for Collaboration (ACRL 2000) with the state-ment that faculties of education need to include academic librarians asmembers of the instructional team in graduate and undergraduateteacher education programs and in continuing professional teacher de-velopment programs.

    36 INFORMATION LITERACY INSTRUCTION FOR EDUCATORS

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  • Elsewhere in this collection, Asselin and Doiron (2003) report on astudy of the role of school libraries and information literacy in Facultiesof Education at universities across Canada. They discovered that activi-ties that foster information literacy skills were included in the coursecontent of methods courses in pre-service education. However, theseinformation literacy outcomes were aimed at facilitating the pre-serviceteachers own school success rather than toward helping pre-serviceteachers think about how they would teach information literacy skills intheir own classrooms. According to the authors, The skills associatedwith information literacy such as working with the research process arevery much a part of revitalized methods courses, but little is done toshow pre-service teachers how to develop these skills with their futurestudents. In fact, it appears that transfer of learned skills in the libraryto classroom instruction is not scaffolded enough for new teachers to besuccessful. In speaking with librarians at libraries and resource centersthat serve the Faculties of Education, the authors found that librarianswere also helping pre-service teachers develop information literacyskillseven if the librarians did not always recognize that they were do-ing so. Disheartening to hear was that librarians reported that they werenot aware of leadership in the area of information literacy by any of thecourse instructors.

    Asselin and Lee (2002) reported the results of a study where they in-fused information literacy into a language arts methods course forpre-service teachers. The authors used pre- and post-reflective writingsand concept maps or webs as a way to track the new understandings of in-formation literacy. They found that students information literacy knowl-edge was enhanced by participating in the project. For Asselin and Lee(2002), the most significant development in our students understandingof information literacy was the shift from thinking of it as readingmasses of print information to a process-based view of interpreting andgenerating multiple types of information (13). Participants were veryexcited about how their information literacy skills improved during thecourse. Th...

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