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What is Information and Media Literacy?
Information and Media Literacy(IML) and its role in education today.
A common definition of technology includes the phrase, "anything that was invented after you were born." Computers, tablets, internet, Web2.0 existed before most of our students were born. It is not technology to them, it is woven into their culture.
Information and Media Literacy is a shift away from teaching Information Technology(IT) or Information and Communication Technology(ICT); Changing the terminology allows for a paradigm shift as well. IML moves the paradigm to learning and the learner and away from the technology.
Information Literacy and Media Literacy have traditionally been dissociated terms. Prior to the 1990s, the primary focus of Information Literacy has been research skills. In parallel, the Media Literacy traditionally focuses on analyzing the delivery of information. In this context, the two terms now need to mashup.
The IML capacities developed by the Surrey School District in 2005 provide an integrated learning path that can continue to grow, rather than to acquire a scope and sequence set of skills. Our collective goal is to address instructional aspects as classroom teachers are supported to build their Information and Media Literacy for personal and professional needs through encouragement, motivation, access to resources (or repurposing resources) and support of the classroom teacher.
Being Information and Media Literate allows one to engage in a today’s society and adapt to tomorrow’s society.
The learning capacities include:
Use (tools and information effectively)
Understand (role of technology and individual using technology in society)
Inquire (effectively access, organize, analyze, evaluate and explore information)
Create (evidence of learning and new knowledge)
Communicate (messages in a variety of forms. publish and collaborate responsibly)
Think Critically (demonstrating understanding of ethical, cultural and social implications)
Innovate (new) (to shift from a consumer of information and things to creating or innovating new things and ways to use them.)
While using technology is one of the six capacities, it is only one small part that enables further learning opportunities. Placing the focus on learning and learner encourages transformative thinking, rather than using a slightly better tool that is now available to do the same tasks.
While IML is very similar to the ISTE NETs that were refreshed in 2006, they are slightly different, created internally to meet our specific needs. You may want to take the IML capacities or the ISTE Nets as your framework, but make sure to customize to your needs.
Further background on the details of Information and Media Literacy capacities as well as resources are available at
Our World has changed, to reiterate Daniel Pink, "Are we preparing kids for their future or our past?" Too often we are preparing students for the past. Information and Media literacy focuses on a set of learning capacities, not on a checklist of skills to attain.
Do students need to learn the basics before they can explore the advanced?
No - students do need enough background, but that doesn't need to be formal. A musician can play incredible music and be blind, or not know how to read music. A student can use a new software tool, without being taught every menu option.
Can Grade 2 students critically evaluate a website?
Yes - If you look, you will find teachers that have Grade 2's access three websites, choose which site is best for their needs and justify their choices. We can have primary students interacting with the internet and learning to critically evaluate it. Obviously, students critique of websites improve with exposure and experience.
A few years ago, I heard that Grade 2 are not agile enough to work with the mouse or type. There were very capable of using the mouse, typing, using the track pad and now touch interfaces. Infants are learning to use devices.
In 2004, students were already able to use software to visually journal. For more than 10 years the ability has been there, but students are not always enabled to share their learning because the teacher, school, or
district isn't ready. Unfortunately, if a student struggles with writing, they are seen to be less intelligent. The measure of the thinking ability of the child was not in the thinking but in the output. Students that struggle to write can use the tools of today and tomorrow to show their thinking and express themselves.
IML attempts to put the focus on the learning and not on the output of the learning. Exploring learning capacities helps frame the discussion in changing the classrooms of today to meet the learners of today.
The Fourth Grade Slump
James Paul Gee explains the Fourth Grade Slump. Although from 2008, very applicable to learning today.
I question that arises often is simply why bother?
I question that arises often is simply why bother? Why bother to spend time learning technology? Why bother taking time away from learning PLO's to learn technology? Why bother teaching something that is not in a PLO?
The answers are really simple -
1. It is required by the British Columbia Ministry of Education. This means that to teach reading and writing, digital must be included. It is malpractice to not include technology.
<blockquote>The term “text” is used to describe oral, visual, or written language forms including electronic media. ... The expanded definition of text acknowledges the diverse range of materials with which we interact and from which we construct meaning
Accessed Aug 8, 2013)</blockquote>
2. It is required for students to be literate in today's society.
My 13 year old daughter may send 80 texts in a day. It is a form of communication. If I am not able to use a cell phone, read a text, and respond to a text, I am illiterate for today's society.
<blockquote>Based on UNESCO - "Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society."
(Accessed August 8, 2013)</blockquote>
While using a term like malpractice is strongly wording it, sometimes it takes provoking to create a dissonance with the status quo and what needs to happen.
Three documents are attached:
to provide additional
background on IML
to provide a
to provide a
simple self assessment
7 Student Self Assessment.doc
While slightly dated now, I wrote an article several years ago trying to clarify Online Learning and Learning Online. Click
The 6 Learning Capacities
The Surrey School District has developed IML into six learning capacities.
To support schools in developing IML at their schools, the following is a suggested outline for 6 workshops covering these topics
Session 1 - focused on some of the nuts and bolts of using technology with students.
Check out the Integrating Laptops link on the left navigation or here
What is IML? - see above
Goal of Sessions - to provide these schools with the ProD to increase their capacity and student learning capacity with IML
What is Del.icio.us and why - see link on side under Social bookmarking or
(Highlighting Student IML Self Assessment)
It is important to recognize the role that technology plays in our lives and the appropriate role students should have interacting with technology.
Most districts have some form of acceptable use policy or AUP.
is the one we use for our district.
In addition to acceptable use of hardware, there are acceptable uses in community. While the Surrey School District uses FirstClass for student email / communication, many students use other non safe systems.
For more information on aspects of Internet Safety, check out my links in
For the workshop, I will specifically highlight this site -
The powerpoint on Internet Safety follows:
View notes page or presenters tools to see the notes of the slides.
We must also understand as teachers the society that our students are living in. Here are some Canadian Stats to understand what our studnets have access to
Roles of Technology.doc
is a sample worksheet for looking at how technology and education have changed. I read recently that the chalkboard was the textbook and workbook, less than 100 years ago. It seems that we shifted to that technology, is it time to shift again?
Here is an example of how our world is different and open the discussion about how our students have changed and how we may need to change to reach our students.
After reviewing the Shift Happens Video, looking at the environment that students are learning in. Not just a local perspective, but rather a global perspective of what is happening and the challenges our students will face with changing technology.
I can only image what technologies will be available in 6 years. When our Grade 7 students graduate, the power to computer may have increased by 64 times. (Following the concept of doubling every year.) This means that what we teach students now will only have 1 to 2 % of relevance when they graduate. This highlights the extreme value of us not teaching using technology, rather understanding how to interact with technology and focusing on meeting our needs. Teaching students the software title
is of little value in the long run; however, teaching them to think graphically will likely remain relevant.
Inquiry (in development)
Everything that we do, we need to be conscious that we don't teach software, rather we teach learning and using the learning tools needed.
To help with this discussion, I pulled the aspects of Inquiry for K - 7 into this one document.
Inquiry Quick Scale.xls
To aid in this discussion, I have created the attached document that summarizes just the IML Inquiry Quick Scales for K - 7
Four aspects of the Inquiry capacity include:
Internet Searching - see topic on left for
Gather & Organize
Ideas with Kidspiration -
Ideas with Inspiration -
Let's work together to create a newsletter to our staff about integrating technology.
Communication in the 21st Century.
Be sure to check for understanding as well
Follow the powerpoint with the following topics.
It will download and if you view notes page or presenter tools you will see the notes.
Developing a class conference is a way to go paperless in the classroom. As a teacher you can post your worksheets and have your students deposit their work to the conference. In First Class, you have the ability to check the time they have posted and look at the history of a document and reference the input to a document or posting. Students will have the ability to access their work and your assignments from home through First Class.
Teachers have effectively used class conferences to do collaborative projects, peer editing and supplementary work or home study. See the following video on how students use a Math teacher's posting to prepare for government exams.
Using FC for Content
Images as storytelling - see
A simple exercise to do with students is to create a powerpoint page with a digital photo inserted with voice. We will create this together during this session to show how you can have a student write and illustrate their work and add their voice to this page for presentation. Open a powerpoint page and insert the photo we have taken with the digital camera. Insert this photo from your desktop if you have dragged it their from the camera or insert it from your photo library on the computer. Refer to the powerpoint above for details to create this.
Blogging as writing - We use journaling all the time with students, this creates a larger audience. (and
Blogging is just a concept, not a specific tool. You can use FirstClass Version 8.34,
Teachers have used blogs for class discussions and as an extension of classroom. Blogging gives every student the opportunity to have their voice heard. It allows for discussion to continue outside the classroom and enables every student to contribute. When well moderated, this forum can enhance the classroom learning. It also gives students the ability to show leadership and initiative by self moderating the blog. Teachers can monitor the activity of their students and it provides a way to demonstrate learning.
Another collaborative tool is using shared spaces such as a
In this environment, you can share the abilty to write and read a document. It is a shared space that allows many contributers. It can be used to peer edit or formulate a project. An example of this shared space is this wiki we have created for the IML series workshops.
Let's work on a Google Document together. (Requires Firefox or IE)
Let's work in a FC document. I will pass the doc around and then you have permission to edit the document.
What do students need to be able to do?
Digital Story Telling
Adults in the US believe schools are not providing certain skills
Read more -
We can look at the types of documents in new ways.
Online Created Time Lines with multiple Layers -
Also looking at Documents such as spreadsheets. Organizing data and formulas to gain new information.
Do you have to be creative to cReAtE?
What if you create without Cre8ivity?
Search for Create at www.media-awareness.ca -
Lexicography - changing the way we think of dictionaries. We are creators, not limiters.
New words are being created daily. It should not be discouraged. I was in an online course in April and we used 'wikiing' and asked if it was okay to do so. Of course it is. Words are intended to communicate.
In addition to new information that has not been discovered, there are ways of recombining knowledge to create new knowledge.
Mash Ups - Google Maps, QuikMaps - see
Image with Digital Cameras / Digital Video Cameras
We can use technology to do traditional methods of demonstrating learning however, we would like to move beyond traditional methods to transformative methods. Powerpoint can be a stand and deliver method with the use of multimedia. It is just a fancier way of showing your work with bells and whistles. This does not show better learning.
It is possible to use technology to do the same type of learning. What makes it transformative?
Using technology to do things they would not have been able to do before with traditional methods. Publishing for others to see, collaborating with writing and sharing ones work with someone in a different country. Going outside the walls of the classroom, having others contribute to their work, using media forms to reshape and recreate their work. Taking a 2D format and creating a 3D
in the classroom is a way to take a traditional way of learning to the 3-D activity we were talking about. We will learn to develop a podcast using Garageband. This is my workshop notes on Preparing your Podcast.
Let's see how creating information on the Internet can work
Thinking critically is reframing the question so that we can bring new meaning to the facts or figures. We can include looking at supporting data or comparing what one finds through research to help bring new meaning to our questions. Using data brings useful meaning to our inquiry.
Critically Thinking on the Web
Jamie MacKenzies Promoting Thinking and the Growth of Thinkers
iTunes - searching for lessons and how to's
FirstClass Insert Voice - authentic assessment with voice recordings over time
Kevin Amboe had a weekly podcast last year at
What is RSS? - see
How does it apply to education?
collected by Kevin Amboe -
is another resource
Reading others blogs - including Kevin Amboe's at
Considering using blogs with your class - check out
help on how to format text
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