Digital Literacy is a Demand of the 21st Century
Learners need to be proficient in digital literacy to prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow. Digital literacy is defined as the ability to effectively find, evaluate, create and communicate information using a range of digital technologies.Coppell ISD teaches digital and information literacy from Pre-K to graduation. Understanding how to recognize and use quality resources is also part of the state’s curriculum (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills - TEKS) in the the core content and technology areas.
Use of Resources
In partnership with campus librarians, CISD classroom educators also teach learners how to determine which tools to use for research and presentation purposes, how to evaluate resources, and how to cross reference multiple sources.“It is a shared obligation between the teachers and librarians to help our learners conduct effective research.” -Dr. Rose Brock, CMS West LibrarianLibrarians work with educators every day to increase awareness about all the informational tools available and also help them design their research projects. When the librarian and educators work together, the very best electronic sources for a particular lesson are gathered to help direct learners to scholarly information instead of just sending them out on a Google search. Coppell ISD has invested in educational databases to provide better resources for learners. These databases are similar to the ones which students will have access to in college.
Lessons from the Classroom & Library
First grade learners accessed World Book to find articles for their research on animals and tundra.
Fourth and fifth grade learners are taught how to cite information they use in their products/presentations.
Sixth grade language arts learners engage in a week of lessons on evaluating websites, learning how to take Cornell Notes, citing resources, previewing print resources and navigating the district purchased Gale databases.
Other lessons include how to Google smarter--learning what a search engine is, how it works, and how to conduct advanced searches to yield better results.
IB History students investigated World War II topics. Learners utilized JSTOR, Gale Cengage, Gale Virtual Reference Library, and ABC-CLIO to access research information that included academic journal articles, reference works, and primary source documents. The use of the library databases coupled with librarian expertise resulted in deeper learning, a higher level of critical thinking and reading, and an increased awareness and appreciation of the need for academic, peer-reviewed, reliable information.
Senior English students used the library to access literacy criticism for their novel study. Librarians directed students to Gale Virtual Reference Library’s Novels for Students, an eBook Reference series.“With the vast amount of information that is available today, librarians provide the tools and teach the strategies that help our learners be critical thinkers and astute evaluators.” -Lynn Hevron, CHS LibrarianCoppell ISD educators continually work to improve their lesson designs to teach learners these critical digital literacy skills. The desired result is for all learners to become savvy consumers of information as well as producers of content.
Communicating with Digital Tools
Another key skill in digital fluency is understanding how to “curate” and present the information learned. To curate means to pull together, sift through and select (as for presentations). Coppell learners have the opportunity to use a wide variety of tools to present their knowledge. As students learn the pros and cons of the different devices, apps, and online tools, they will become fluent in the many different ways to present the information learned. In addition, they will be able to make good choices about how to best showcase their knowledge and understanding.
Smore is an online tool to quickly make a professional looking flyer online.
Middle school students used Smore to present math problems. https://www.smore.com/dwra
Sixth graders used Smore to present information about world cultures.
30 Hands is an fun storytelling app that allows students and teachers to create narrated stories based on photos or images using an iPad.
First grade students used 30 Hands to create an ABC book.
ThingLink is an app that allows students to add “buttons” of information on an image to share information on a certain topic.
High school students used ThingLink to demonstrate knowledge about the flu.
CISD will be designing an information literacy course required for all CISD educators in fall of 2014. In this course, educators will be expected to learn how to support learners in mastering such skill as:
CISD believes this course will be critical in ensuring all educators are using similar language and helping develop these skills for learners Pre-K through 12.Additionally, a new curriculum scope and sequence will be developed to give educators specific skills to teach each year and resources to use. These skills will be aligned and built upon one another from year to year. This will provide learners opportunities, that are age appropriate, to deepen their understanding of navigating the volumes of digital information available.Finally, the I-Team and librarians will be develop a beginning of the year learning experience to ensure all learners start the year understanding safe searches and the user’s responsibilities in digital literacy.“This is a comprehensive approach that CISD believes will prepare learners to be successful in the ever-changing 21st Century digital world.” -Tabitha Branum, Executive Director of Leading & Learning
- safe internet searches
- verifying validity of information
- choosing appropriate databases
- citing sources in products