Information skills assist people to satisfy their changing information needs, pursue independent lifelong learning and contribute to the development of an informed society.
There has been an explosion of knowledge and enormous advances in technology into the twenty-first century. As a result, we live in an information environment characterised by:
- the development of information services as an integral part of the economy
- an expansion of the range of sources of information
- the appearance of information specialists and consultants
- a variety of online information forms and agencies
- the transient nature of information.
It is essential for students to develop skills in using information as part of the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for lifelong learning. People who are aware of information sources and services, who have the confidence to approach them, and the flexibility of thinking to use them, have the basis for a better quality of life than those who are unable to pursue their information needs.
These concerns are already addressed in several NSW Department of Education curriculum documents, and syllabus documents provided by the NESA NSW. Schools need to provide planned opportunities for students to develop information skills.
The Library Policy – Schools, indicates that one purpose of the school library is
- to enhance teaching and students’ learning within the total program of the school by … providing opportunities for students to develop information skills and use them confidently and competently.
Information skills in the school, as a support document to the Library Policy, presents a framework for the teaching and learning of information skills across the curriculum in both primary and secondary schools.
When partnered with the Department’s Quality Teaching model, Information skills in the school can inform professional judgments about explicit information skills teaching support for class units of work and cross curriculum priorities, such as literacy and integrating ICT. A guided inquiry approach, and reference to other information process models, may further enrich the development of information literacy skills.