October 2013, National Information Literacy Awareness Month
Schools, colleges, and universities around the country have begun another academic year. Workforce training programs are in various stages of programming. The doors to healthcare are about to be opened to all. And another Congressional hostage, the No Child Left Behind Re-authorization Act, appears doomed to less than stellar resolutions in resolving the major educational challenges facing our nation.
Among those challenges is the issue of integrating digital literacy practices throughout the bill’s student achievement and teacher professional development recommendations.
President Obama’s 2009 proclamation was the first ever to recognize the critical importance of information literacy to the overall welfare of the America people. This presidential proclamation was just the first step in our efforts to integrate information literacy practice throughout our national educational, workforce development, and healthcare infrastructures.
Contrary to popular opinion, information literacy is an acquired skill set that engages critical thinking and information management best practices to facilitate problem solving techniques and strategies. Even in the worst of all situations, this practice most often produces effective and efficient outcomes.
Although our educational system continually extols the virtues of information and digital literacy, it rarely engages information literacy practice principles within its educational reform policy strategies. Workforce development programs often overlook integrating this critical skill set as well. And underlying the heart of this nation’s healthcare controversy is not just health insurance access, but the information literacy skills needed to interpret the various insurance plans in conjunction with the benefits being offered.
The dynamic proliferation of information resources in juxtaposition to the development of ubiquitous information and communication technologies appears to be an ongoing synergistic, complex relationship, one ultimately benefiting all who know how to find, analyze, synthesize, evaluate and effectively use information within a digital universe context.
Ultimately, our current national profile does beg the question – why do we still have a Digital Divide, Achievement Gap, a growing income gap, housing and banking challenges, skyrocketing healthcare costs, not to mention a limited skilled worker pool in the U.S. if having access to the wonders of technology in the 21st century is the super cure all?
As you ponder the merits of information literacy and how you plan to acknowledge its importance during the month of October, let’s reflect on the following quote from one of our founding fathers, James Madison, 6th president of the United States:
“Learned institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.” Information Literacy at its best!
Keep us informed of your plans so we can share them with others across the nation. If you have not already done so, don’t forget to join our Badge Brigade!