Teaching Information and Technology Literacy through Student-Created Webquests

By Van Leer, Jerilyn | Multimedia Schools, March-April 2003 | Go to article overview
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Teaching Information and Technology Literacy through Student-Created Webquests


Van Leer, Jerilyn, Multimedia Schools


How can we integrate technology skills into the curriculum, enable students to achieve national information literacy and technology standards, and create valuable resources for other teachers in our school to use? Read how one middle school approached this challenge by engaging a team of administrators, teachers, and library media specialists to systematically create a framework and curriculum aligned with national and state standards.--Ed.

As part of the ongoing technology integration process, the King Philip Middle School established an Information Technology Literacy Curriculum Committee in February 2002. Our committee was charged with creating a framework for a required course that would be part of the Unified Arts rotation for all eighth grade students. Members of the committee included the principal, an assistant principal, department supervisors from Basic Skills, English, Social Studies, and Technology Education, a teacher from the seventh grade strand of the Unified Arts program, a library media specialist, the coordinator of Library Media Services, and professional development and curriculum coordinator of Information Technology. Our committee addressed a number of questions in the planning process:

* What is information technology literacy?

* How do the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S) and the Connecticut Computer Technology Competency Standards for Students fit into an information technology literacy curriculum?

* Which information technology literacy skills (including presentation skills) are currently taught at King Philip Middle School?

* What are the components of a model information technology literacy curriculum?

* What do we expect all students to know and be able to do in terms of information technology literacy and presentation skills when they graduate from King Philip Middle School? How will we assess student learning?

* How will we differentiate the curriculum for students who have a variety of experience levels with technology?

*Are there project-based and/or research-based models?

Creating the Framework

In order to address these questions, we examined state and national information technology standards and reviewed key resources to develop a shared understanding of information technology literacy. (See "Resources for an ITL Curriculum" on page 45.] Additionally, three curriculum alignment documents designed by the Library Media Services department shaped the development of a curriculum alignment document for information technology literacy.

As a committee, we also developed and administered a Technology Curriculum Survey to identify the student products required for major units of instruction with a focus on those that integrated technology skills. This information allowed us to build on current skills and to identify information technology skills required for this new strand.

After reviewing key resources and examining the results of the Technology Curriculum Survey, our committee discussed how this information fit with the current strands in the Unified Arts program for grades six and seven. The grade six program focused on thinking skills, and the grade seven program focused on research strategies. Since the grade seven program incorporated the Big6 skills model already established as part of the K-12 Library Media Curriculum, the committee agreed to develop an information technology literacy framework using this model. Based on the results of the Technology Curriculum Survey, the committee searched for a student technology product not already included in the curriculum. The library media specialist and coordinator of library media services designed an information technology literacy proposal based on the Big6 skills, resulting in a student-created WebQuest. An article entitled "When Students Create Their Own WebQuests" featured in the September 2001 issue of Learning and Leading with Technology provided us with the idea for a new student technology product that integrated information and technology literacy skills.

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