Information Literacy and Communication
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Skills that are required in our day to day activities to derive, analyze, evaluate and use information are currently known as Information Literacy. As the realm of information expands and increases, so does the proficiency of our skills. Information literacy is obsolete. Everyday something new turns up and previous methods are discarded in favor of new ones. It is therefore necessary for us to keep up with new methodologies of information literacy, to be updated, thorough and aware.
At Zayed University information literacy is a core concept that has been introduced since the establishment of the university. Many Ages have passed by, the Ice age, the Bronze Age and now the Information Age. Our century has been so called due to the outburst of information output, input and information sources. Information literacy goes hand in hand with technology. Technological advances require data. There are a very small percentage of jobs that do not require information literacy; most would be cheap manual labor and other sorts of menial jobs. Information literacy and information technology are ingrained into our societies globally. Therefore as students it would be impossible for us to learn everything we need to know in our chosen field of study in a few years of college. Information literacy equips us with the critical skills necessary to become independent lifelong learners.
“Ultimately, information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how knowledge is organized, how to find information and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. They are people prepared for lifelong learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand.” Said the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy (January 10, 1989, Washington, D.C.)
When we need information, Information literacy skills allow us to find information effectively and efficiently when we need it. For example we could take Zayed University’s Library. It is our gateway to information, how to find information, where to find it and how to evaluate it. It provides us with a step by step guide of researching various learning aspects of information literacy. valid, relevant material that we retrieve gives us confidence in using that information to make a decision or create a product.
At times I find the concept of Information Literacy too broad and overwhelming. Why should students learn all this? I realize now that the reason such emphasis is placed on information literacy is to create an understanding of the research process. These skills will allow us to succeed in our future chosen paths.
This is not just for college students but all of us, as professionals, in the workplace and in our personal lives. Being information literate ultimately improves our quality of life as we make informed decisions when buying a house, choosing a school, hiring staff, making an investment, voting for our representatives, and so much more.
Information is expanding at an unprecedented rate, and enormously rapid strides are being made in technology for storing, organizing, and accessing the ever-growing tidal wave of information.
As a student I had a research project where I had to use valid information for a presentation in Marketing and Advertising. I have given various examples of how I searched for information, how I have evaluated the sites, both with valid, substantial information and those which seemed to be related yet were not legible and authentic. This was for my Communications class, where we were given five web sites to evaluate. Based on our evaluation of the website we were graded accordingly. Various search engines were used as well to be able to retrieve related information easily. I would say that I am information literate as I am able to access information efficiently and effectively. I am able to evaluate information critically and competently. Use the information accurately and creatively.
As I gain these skills I become an independent learner myself. With the extensive usage of the internet, since I have already acquired information literacy skills I am effortlessly able to pursue information related to personal interests. Since my major is Communication and Media Sciences I appreciate literature and other creative expressions of information. This helps me expand my knowledge on the vast network that is Communication and Media Sciences. In this major it is compulsory that students strive for excellence in information seeking and knowledge generation.
Besides the positive results generated personally, information literacy also allows students to contribute positively to the learning community and to society. We are also taught to recognize the importance of information to society. Every now and then we see many headlines about hackers, about embezzlement and many other crimes that were committed with extensive knowledge of information literacy. It must be noted that from university itself we are taught to always use ethical practices in everything.