Define in your own words what it means to be information literate?
After the Novemeber (Alan November) reading I defined information literacy as the ability to view and understanding information that we see on the internet in the proper context (and November give us tools to understand internet context with his concept of "MAPping the internet," which I will discuss later in this post). As I continued our weekly reading and as I read Dr. Donald J. Leu, Jr's web page entitled Internet Workshop: Making Time for Literacy I realized that being information literate was so much more that just understanding context. It is also about being able to solve problems and answering burning personal questions by successfully navigating the internet and its resources. It's about critically analyzing the information that we find and sharing our conclusion with other so that we can collaborate and find greater meaning together.
How can teachers and students thoughtfully evaluate online information resources, including the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia?
I really like November's "MAPping the internet" concept when it comes to evaluating online resources. MAP is an acronym for Meta-web information, Author and Purpose. The idea behind the first phase, Meta-web information (meta means about) is that we can learn a lot about a web page by thoughtfully analyzing the URL. We can also help ourselves understand how the web page fits into the broader online community by determining what other types of website are choosing "linking" to the page in question, and what are they saying about that web page. The idea behind Author and Purpose is that we need to consider who is writing the content (what, if any, is their expertise) and what are they trying to convey by putting this information out there (are they selling something, are they selling their ideals, are their ideals just?)
As far as Wikipedia goes. I think it is a tricky subject. The first person to introduce me to the online encyclopedia was my Biology 101 professor, and his advice was to use Wikipedia as a launching pad for our research, but he made it clear that we should definitely never cite it as a reference in our final product. I certainly agree with my former professor, I think we cannot deny the importance of Wikipedia as a resource, but we simply must use other sources to verify the validity of the content we just read. I feel the users of Wikipedia are getting better at citing there sources, but just because the information is cited doesn't mean it is true.
What are a few of the similarities and differences between the four instructional models of Internet use (Internet Project, Internet Workshop, Internet Inquiry, and WebQuest)?
An overarching theme that I kept seeing as I was studying the aforementioned models was the importance of sharing and collaborating. The main idea behind all four models is to bring information literacy to our students while also delivering subject specific content, and part of information literacy is sharing our thoughts and our experiences, and our success and our failures so that we can all grow in our literacy together.
I learned that the "internet workshop" was the most basic model and is most helpful for novice internet users. A "webquest" is very similar, but because it exist in its entirety on the internet is much more easily shared between an online community of teachers. An "internet project" is the most ambitious of all four models, it involves collaboration between classrooms that are geographically distant. Finally an "internet inquiry" is the most independent and student-centered model. It is most useful for students that are driven to answer burning personal questions and then to share their conclusion with community members.
Thanks for reading. I hope i didn't bore you, please let me know if i need to be more succinct next time.