Posts Tagged course proposal

Teaching This Stuff in Course Format

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The school board approved my course proposal for an information/library centered course! Provided that enough students enroll for the course to make, I’ll be teaching “Information and Society” starting Fall 2011.

I feel like a first year teacher again, nine years after starting in education: excited to fulfill professional goals, but also a little queasy about creating course content from scratch!

I’m using the Kansas Library Media and Technology Standards as a base, but have a lot of decisions to make in terms of content sequencing and tool use.

I have a few questions for my fellow high school librarians out there: (Please leave comments or shoot me an email!)

1. Which would you address first: specific types of information sources (concrete stuff) or the more theory/discussion based information topics (ethics; equitable access; privacy; etc)? Why?

2. Do you know of anyone that teaches library/information skills as a high school course? I would LOVE to visit with someone who has created a course like this.

3. Do you have ANY materials that you would be willing to share with me? ANYTHING!? (squeezing my stress ball, squeezing my stress ball)

Here is a tentative sequence of topics we’ll address in case you are curious- definitely up for revising:


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Why information studies should be a course at every school.

One of my biggest frustrations in moving from the classroom to the library is that I no longer have the ability to craft a full curriculum but rather have to dole out media and information studies piecemeal, with a lesson here with this teacher and a lesson there with that teacher. It is incredibly difficult to ensure that students receive adequate instruction on information literacy skills and ethics.

New technology has opened up doors of access and analysis the likes of which most current practicing educators never experienced in their own education. But with that comes a learning curve and new facets to social responsibility that I believe have not caught up with the technology. Many researchers are looking at the differences between how people interact face-to-face as opposed to online, be it in anonymous or pseudo-anonymous arenas.

The apparent suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi is one of so many instances in which young adults don’t think through the consequences of their actions with technology. His roommate used a webcam to broadcast Tyler making out with another student and advertised the broadcast on Twitter. Tyler’s roommate surely did not anticipate the devastating impact that his actions caused. Gossip used to be word-of-mouth and ephemeral. Technology has changed the gossip/bullying/whatever-you-want-to-call-it game profoundly and students just do not have any opportunities to thoughtfully explore issues of technology and ethics (whether this type of issue or issues of digital footprints, copyright/ownership/authorship, etc). This isn’t about “internet safety.” This is about more than simply technology and safety.

Most schools leave information and media literacy to the librarian, who is forced into teaching it in snippets here and there because very few have the staffing too be able to teach in course format. With the complexity of issues surrounding technology, and the degree to which technology is a vital part of students’ future professional and personal lives, shouldn’t more schools offer information studies in cohesive course format?

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