Friday, April 16, 2010

Information Fluency

In his talk at the CIL 2010 conference David Schroeter, a strategic council member of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, said that we are no longer dealing with an information highway, but rather we are floating in an information ocean. He questioned whether our students can navigate the waters of the depths of the Internet. He also questioned if they will be ready to enter the work force when they leave school. According to Schroeter, employers are no longer looking for basic competencies; they assume that graduates have those. Employers are now looking for evidence that potential hires are critical thinkers, creative and innovative, excellent communicators,and fluent with information technology. Most non-routine jobs have been outsourced to countries where labor is cheaper, meaning that tomorrow’s employees need to be able to adapt and learn constantly.
Here at the Pescosolido library we teach students to do more than find their way around the information ocean. We teach them to analyze the validity and credibility of web pages so they can become critical thinkers, able to find not just information to answer the question posed, but to question the information they find and use what they learn to create new information. Our juniors recently finished a year-long thesis project designed to help them connect bits of information to create new understandings of our American past. Some of these papers may be published. Last year, junior Lyle Nelson won the Cum Laude Society Paper Contest for his thesis. We hope that each student's experience will lead them to see how they can be innovators and information creators, constantly discovering new ideas, making them valuable in tomorrow’s labor market.
A final gem that from the conference, shared by Mr. Schroeter and originally penned by John Dewey: “If we teach today as we taught yesterday we rob our children of tomorrow.”

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