Digital Literacy + Digital Inclusion: teaching new internet users

I just read this article by Seeta Gangadharan and am having so many thoughts/ feelings.  I immediately want to email it to some friends at the public library but feel like it’s a chastisement to over-worked librarians who don’t get the necessary time or training to really teach these skills.  Please go tell a public librarian today that they are awesome and helpful – they are working their @sses off!

At the same time, this really hit me for my own environment.  Yes, I teach highly privileged students who enjoy constant access to technology, but they are still so _ignorant_ about online environments and how the web works.  This morning I was teaching 9th graders how to access a database on their iPads (yay privilege!) and we got slightly derailed while talking about the authority of databases versus searching on the open web.  The students had a really hard time distinguishing between different kinds of content on the web, ie, how Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints in Context (a paid service that is accessed through the web with different kinds of content) is different than the New York Times (a daily newspaper with some free content) and a Wikipedia entry (a crowd-sourced, free content manager) or someone’s Tumblr.  And I run into similar knowledge issued with the Extended Essay students about sourcing and verifying content they dig up through random googling.  

How and where are students learning where information comes from?  It should be from me and the library team but right now it isn’t.  How do I fix this?

 

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