Lifting the fog

uralla-soup3.jpgAs an English teacher, I spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to be literate. It seems obvious to me that “literacy” has connotations that extend beyond the ability to read and write. This is tied to a consideration of the “21st century” skills students need to be successful lifelong learners. These include multi-modal literacy, higher order thinking skills, causal reasoning, creativity, intellectual risk taking, active citizenship and global awareness. My BIG aim is for students to be excellent communicators, writers and thinkers rather than solely learning about communication, writing and thinking.

For these reasons, I like the term “information literacy”, which seems to be have particular currency amongst library specialists. Information literacy is not as narrow as “digital literacy” and also helps overcome the “if it’s not on the web it doesn’t exist” idea that many of my students subscribe to. The best metaphors for information overload in our culture are, in my opinion, being lost in a data smog or trying to drink from a fire hydrant – the vastness of information that surrounds us can be overwhelming.

Via Hey Jude: [kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Information literacy defined can as “the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information.”

Information Literacy includes:


Media Literacy


Visual Literacy


Cultural Literacy


Digital Literacy


Alphabetic Literacy



2 thoughts on “Lifting the fog

  1. Hope you can use my Media Literacy Clearinghouse website as a resource.
    I teach K-12 teachers media literacy, based on state teaching standards. I also work with the Writing Improvement Network, conducting professional development about the role of writing in media.

  2. Pingback: Information Literacy at

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