Social Lives and Information Literacy

Today’s learners have new tools, they are not new kids.

The reason for  the kids today not using the Internet can be two fold: it is the digital divide access vs participation .  And then  some kids just don’t use the tools for an unknown reason.

These learners are:

  • in a mini generation gap
  • they have more visual literacy
  • they are producers as well as consumers
  • the don’t mind making mistakes

Encourage students to use technology in projects.  It can be in a classroom setting or in the library.

There are benefits for students to use technology.  One example is have students use a blog to create a  journal. the Benefits of this are:

  • they learn to remember passwords
  • they learn to type
  • they work with a web browser
  • learning a lot of information skills as well as writing a journal
  • different environments give them experience with different from the daily grind of worksheets
  • if doing paper and video providing two ways to learn. Some kids can learn better by producing a video then writing a paper but it is important to require both.

By doing this you are connecting the project  with their every day lives, making  it relevant to their lives.  Also, use what they have such as their cell phone for homework.  Show they how they can access the library resources via a cell phone.

In projects using technology encourage conservation between the students. Give them the assignment and have them communicate with each other.  This develops team work  skills.

Technology based projects promote a sense of play.  Play is how  children learn.

Provide information packages. Developing a blog is one; have them write comments on blogs (digital natives expect to be able to comment) is another.  Wikis are great collaborative tools for knowledge production. This is the future for today’s students.

Use wikis for group projects. You can even teach it low tech by using sticky notes. Handed each kid a sticky note with a fact.  Each student writes and idea on their note.  Then on a wall or board have them group their ideas.  Encourage them to add more ideas – one per sticky note as they read what each other wrote. This will teach the concept of group ideas being brought together. – is a great tool for students to use to create websites.  Teaching kids how to build a website and present their ideas is a good way to add technology to the subject being taught. For YPL Librarians – have students create a site to review books they are reading.  Have them do a written review and/or a video review by  adding videos. The Virtual Library has several video cameras available for creating video.  Then have them edit the video at Kids love to see themselves in the information and these sites are easy to learn and make learning fun. See Google search for book review videos for examples.

Teachers can also get a free upgrade to embed videos on Weebly.  If you are interested in using Weebly in a workshop, we have the upgrade for video and audio for 10 websites, which we are using only two.  It also has an app for smartphones.

Mobile tools – use an iTouch or smartphones to teach how to use the library and find answers to reference questions; important to learn how to look up in a book information but need  to know how to use the smartphone.   This is what they are going to do in real life. The Virtual Library has tools such as an iTouch in addition to video cameras and audio recording devices. If you are interested in using these tools in a workshop contact Lauren.

Overcome obstacles to succeed. Don’t say:

  • I’m not a techie – you don’t have to be
  • but it keeps changing – you are building skills which will transfer to future technologies
  • I don’t have that stuff – the Virtual Library does and is willing to share.
  • they dont’ have it at home, so why teach it – then where are they going to get ? Someone needs to teach them.
  • that’s not my job –  teach as it is the right thing to do; it is our job
  • it’s our responsiblity to teach the kids. We  need to keep on top of technology
  • How to teach with limited resources?  be creative and find solutions; work in pairs, work over a long period, etc.


  • don’t over teach, spend 10 minutes then let them play
  • encourage conversations
  • offer in-services – train the teachers
  • start with one assignment, one class
  • keep it simple
  • contact the Virtual Library for help

One thought on “Social Lives and Information Literacy

  1. I believe this article addresses an issue that most overlook, that mini-generational gap. But I think it also addresses another important fact, that many believe all kids/teens are super-techy, but a financial divide seperates many from being familiar with a lot of current technology. I’d love to do video/itouch project and am glad to know we have the tools! I will certainly follow-up in the fall or winter quarter.

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