Information Literacy Taking Center Stage
Electing a President Without Facts
by Kelly Wilz | March 9th, 2016 | Huffington Post
“We need media literacy as much as we need to learn to read.” — Jennifer Pozner
“The world will not be a better place when these fact-based news organizations die. We will be propelled into a culture where facts and opinions will be interchangeable, where lies will become true and where fantasy will be peddled as news. I will lament the loss of traditional news. It will unmoor us from reality.” –Chris Hedges
I like facts. My Facebook feed is somewhat abnormal in that I have more links to articles and news sources than pictures of my friends’ children or the plate of steamed mussels they ate that day. I consider myself to be media literate. I work hard to find accurate information, so it disturbs me greatly when I find myself fact-checking sources I once deemed credible.
Normally, I criticize mainstream American media news outlets for their lack of representation, their choice of news stories, and try to highlight, in my classes, how the information we receive shapes our values, beliefs and how we view the world. In an election cycle when the media can and does shape how we choose our next president, the fact we have fewer and fewer sources to look to for credible information regarding those who are running is frightening. And it’s only getting worse.
While it may be funny that a large number of Americans, when surveyed, thought it would be a great idea to bomb a fictional Disney country, or when the creator of Idiocracy muses that he never thought his film would become a documentary, the reality is that in this country, day by day, it’s becoming more difficult to discern fact from fiction.
Read more of Wilz’s piece here.
Choosito! Supporting kid search, discovery and literacy
by Joyce Valenza | March 5th, 2016 | School Library Journal
With more than a billion websites out there and 100 million new webpages published each days, it’s tough work for a kid to find resources that are both relevant and readable. Choosito is designed to support K12 learning and information literacy. Choosito’s Web search may be filtered by reading level and by subject. The Choosito Library, available through Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 1.41.53 PM the pull-down menu, offers between 150,000 and 200,000 websites curated by professional educators. An image search is also available.
Researcher Eleni Miltsakaki shares: What I am trying to build is a digital librarian for personalized learning, a tool that will help in the the same way and answers the question, “How can I find things to help me.”
Dr. Miltsakaki, a linguist, scientist and educator at the University of Pennsylvania, developed Choosito as a multi-year research project. Supported by a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research award for education, the project pilots a technologically advanced linguistic analysis engine. The real-time search analyzes Bing’s URLs, extracts content, and runs readability analysis. If a website meets Choosito‘s criteria, it is shown. The ultimate goal is to present a technology-based solution to address the challenge of finding resources right for children.
Read the rest of Valenza’s piece here at the School Library Journal
Discernment of information is a skill that takes time to develop. Information and media literacy are becoming increasingly important for both society, at-large, and the educational institutions preparing young people to live and work during a 24-hour news and information age. The question becomes are we building research and information gathering skills, in our students, that support critical thinking approaches to learning or are we relying on mere Google searches to inform the landscape of learning?