Tuesday, June 10, 2008

We Don't Believe in "Skills"--We Don't Care What Students Learn "About"

I came up with these bold propositions in preparation for a presentation on assessment of information literacy programs.

We DON’T . . .
  • oBelieve in “skills”
  • oCare what students learn “about”
We DO . . .
  • oBelieve in big conceptual tools as guideposts to continuing practice
  • oBelieve in “Meaningful Learning”
  • oCare what students learn “to be”
We are VERY SERIOUS about rethinking the substance of information literacy and connecting library and information use to the lives of our students.

My main point at the time was to look at learning outcomes or goals as the key to designing useful assessments that can inform improvements in teaching and learning, and to raise these questions:

  • What are the Big Ideas or Big Tools that students can use through the rest of their lives?
  • What is stable and prevalent enough to be useful or be a foundation for learning into the future?
  • How can we move past the transmission of information and isolated skills to integrating many kinds of learning?
By the way, we are using rubrics to "measure" students' practices in authentic projects. And yeah, information literacy is about personal and social uses of books and other informative sources.

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