Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The Future Of Reading

The NY Times has published an article and video entitled In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update.

Ms. Rosalia, a school librarian in Brooklyn, urged caution. “Don’t answer your questions with the first piece of information that you find,” she warned. The students did not heed her warning and accepted the erroneous online information as factual. Copying the digital text at a furious pace without evaluation was the norm until one student noticed a strong disconnect with read text. Evidently, reading that Columbus communicated using a cellphone was cause for suspension of belief.

A cadre of problems faced these students - the inability to evaluate located information, the incapacity to determine the credibility of the site, the inefficiency to determine importance of expository text, and the presentation of an assignment that does not promote understanding or personal inquiry, but fill-in-the-blanks.

Ms. Rosalia, as well as many teacher-librarians, realize that the 21st century student needs assistance with wading through the glut of information presented on the web. Literacy 2.0 now exceeds print and fluency - it involves deep understanding and the monitoring of comprehension of information in a variety of formats - print, online, human, etc.

Yet, awareness that students require assistance to define their search, locate information, and determine its credibility and applicability to their quest appears insufficient to absolving teacher-librarians from the causalities of school budget crunches.

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