This is the second part of a series we call Global Digital Citizenship in 15 Minutes. Our aim with this “mini-series” is to give you a way to demonstrate the essentials of each of the 21st Century Fluencies and Global Digital Citizenship to your students in 15 minutes or less each day. Sound tough? Not at all, when you’ve got the right tools and resources to help you. That’s where we come in.
Our first instalment focused on Solution Fluency. As before, we’ve scoured the Web for goodies that could serve as a backdrop for a quick fundamental lesson on the 21st Century Fluencies. This time around, we’ll take you through the 5 phases of Information Fluency. First. let’s talk briefly about what IF is.
Navigating the Sea
Information Fluency is the ability to unconsciously and intuitively interpret information in all forms and formats in order to extract the essential knowledge, authenticate it, and perceive its meaning and significance. It’s also about using that knowledge effectively to complete real-world tasks and solve real-world problems. Use our Information Fluency QuickStart Guide to help you gain a better understanding of the skills it develops.
Information is the nuts and bolts of all things on the Internet. Since there is so much out there, unique skills are required in order to decipher much of it and to make it useful to our needs.
One must come at it with a perspective that to learn about the Internet, you need to ask the Internet questions in a way that it understands. It’s challenging to make sense of, but far from impossible to do.
Introducing Information Fluency to Students
Diving in to Information Fluency can be done in a number of fun ways. Here are a just few ideas on how you can introduce it to your students.
Start by Searching: Begin your introduction to Information Fluency by issuing students a tech-based challenge. Have them use their personal technology to search for and record information about a current news story, political figure, or historical event. Ask them a question they need to find information to answer. When they’re finished, open a discussion about the steps they went through, and debrief how they could have done their searches better.
Talk about the 5As: Have the 5As of Information Fluency—Ask, Acquire, Analyze, Apply, and Assess—written up on the board as column headers. Next, explore your students’ assumptions by opening up a round-table discussion in class about what they think each word means as it applies to research and information-gathering. Jot down their ideas below each one.
Use visuals: You can download our Fluency Posters here, and print off a copy of the Information Fluency mini-poster to hand out to each student. These posters showcase the fundamental meaning of each Fluency and the skills each one intuitively develops.
Approaching the 5As as Daily Lessons
These resources will help you break down each phase of Information Fluency into digestible bits. You can do this over 5 days, and devote a day to letting students explore each phase.
This involves compiling a list of critical questions about what knowledge or data is being sought. The key here is to ask good questions, because that’s how you get good answers.
Each knowledge quest has a driving or “essential” question. Have students consider the following:
Understand and clarify the driving question, and perceive its relevance to the real world.
The goal is to understand what to look for when examining this driving question.
When the driving question is given, try to stay true to it as much as possible.
- Whitman Gordon provides some food for thought in this Lifehacker article featuring 3 questions to help you think more critically.
- Try this video from the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium called The Power of Asking Good Questions.
- Duke University published this useful document on formulating good research questions.
Accessing information is no longer as easy as going to a card catalog and getting a book or other paper-based resource. This stage involves accessing and collecting informational materials from the most appropriate digital and non-digital sources. How do you perform effective searches to find what you need, both digitally and non-digitally?
- The Community Toolbox features this wonderful article on collecting information, including—you guessed it—asking good questions!
- TechRepublic gives us some tips for smarter Web searching in this article.
With all the raw data collected, the next step is to navigate through the information to authenticate, organize, and arrange it all. This stage also involves ascertaining whether information is true or not, and distinguishing the good from the bad.
- Virginia Tech features a lengthy checklist for analyzing web pages for research right here—a great resource for referencing.
- Our own blog features this handy rubric for determining the credibility of a website.
- Check out author Howard Rhinegold’s exceptional video series on how to distinguish good information from bad on the Web.
Once data is collected and verified, and a solution is created, the knowledge must then be practically applied within the context of the original purpose for the information quest.
- Writing—How to Write an A+ Research Paper
- Writing—How to Write a Great Essay About Anything
- Designing—10 Steps to Designing an Amazing Infographic
- Designing—5 great Online Tools for Creating Infographics
- Designing—Do’s and Dont’s for Effective Graphs
- Presenting—Tips for Designing Presentations That Don’t Suck
- Presenting—How Can I Make My PowerPoint Presentations Amazing?
The final stage is about thoroughly and critically revisiting both the product and the process. This involves open and lively discussions about how the problem-solving journey could have been made more efficient, and how the solution created could be applied to challenges of a similar nature.
- If you want a list of useful debriefing questions, this article from Thought Leader Zone has a whopping 27 of them.
- The nature of a successful debriefing is covered in this article on Harvard Business Review.
That’s All, Folks!
Not really, though—we’ve got plenty more to share with you as our Global Digital Citizenship in 15 Minutes series continues. Be on the lookout for the next instalment, when we talk about Creativity Fluency.