07/19/11 School librarians have been helping students locate information from printed material for centuries. For the past decade or so, media sources began to change drastically, and library clerks became media clerks-working in newly coined “media centers”- as the availability of materials such as online and audio-visual resources were being offered along with the traditional books, magazines, encyclopedias.
Now, with more and more media sources popping up, the Plymouth Schools are taking the next step to help students access information. Starting with the 2011-12 school year, Plymouth Schools will have an Information Literacy Assistant at each building.
Mike Dunn, Menominee Elementary principal and former high school English teacher, said, “Today, our students not only need help with accessing all types of media, but accessing information and making meaning from that media. The change will mean that Plymouth Schools will now have Information Literacy Assistants who will help in that task.”
Some of the many duties of this position include promoting and supporting the appropriate use of technology by students and teachers, collaborating with teachers to incorporate information literacy skills into the instructional program, assisting students and teachers in the selection of information sources and evaluating their authenticity and collaborating with teachers and assisting in selection, access, and integration of resources to support standards based instruction and project based learning, according to Dunn.
Dunn feels that this is a most logical move and shift in schools today. He said, “With the onslaught of media and information that our kids have available at their fingertips, it only makes sense that our schools take responsible measures to help educate them in the accessing and use of information.”
Dunn was quick to point out that the role of a literacy clerk is to not to teach kids what to think. He said, “We are teaching them to be critical thinkers.” The 21st Century skills include creativity and innovation, communication, information and media literacy, contextual learning, critical thinking and problem solving, and collaboration.” Dunn said. ” The idea is to have students ask if information is factual or just opinion and whether it fits into what is being taught by parents and the community. ”
Lincoln Junior High Principal, Dan Funston, said many of the new books purchased for the upcoming school year are in the form of E-books.
Ben Waymouth, the current 5-12 Media Specialist, will lead the change to support 21st Century skills as he assumes his new position next year as the K-12 Information Literacy Specialist.