Weblogs and literacy for knowledge workers

Substitute “knowledge worker” for “information literate student.”

Which raises the next question. How good a job are we doing at preparing people to be knowledge workers in today’s world?

Weblogs and Literacy.

“The information literate student validates understanding and interpretation of the information through discourse with other individuals, subject-area experts, and/or practitioners.”
ALA

I’ve been working through some ideas for a piece about Weblogs and wikis and all these new tools and their impact on “literacy.” In a nutshell, the Internet has changed the requirements of what it means to be literate. While just about everything we used to teach with was a finished, edited text, the Web now provides us with a gazillion unedited texts, which means it’s no longer enough just to be able to read; we have to read critically. And now that the Internet is a read AND write technology, part of our literacy has to include skills to communicate and collaborate with a much larger, less contrived audience. Finally, since there will no doubt be an ever-growing body of information out there to deal with, we need to be literate in managing information what we find relevant and meaningful.

In my travels this morning, I landed on the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education put up by the American Library Association. It gives some pretty in depth definitions of information literacy, and lists 23 performance indicators for information literate students. What struck me is how many of them can be addressed by blogging:

  • The information literate student retrieves information online or in person using a variety of methods.
  • The information literate student extracts, records, and manages the information and its sources.
  • The information literate student summarizes the main ideas to be extracted from the information gathered.
  • The information literate student articulates and applies initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.
  • The information literate student synthesizes main ideas to construct new concepts.
  • The information literate student compares new knowledge with prior knowledge to determine the value added, contradictions, or other unique characteristics of the information.
  • The information literate student validates understanding and interpretation of the information through discourse with other individuals, subject-area experts, and/or practitioners.
  • The information literate student applies new and prior information to the planning and creation of a particular product or performance.
  • The information literate student communicates the product or performance effectively to others.
  • The information literate student follows laws, regulations, institutional policies, and etiquette related to the access and use of information resources.
  • The information literate student acknowledges the use of information sources in communicating the product or performance.Weblogs are such a great tool for doing much of this, and they offer a transparent, organized way for teachers and students to measure these proficiencies and others. [Weblogg-ed News]
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