The PPT presentation – Information literacy: Necessary but not sufficient for 21st century learning (see below for the Abstract) – may be downloaded from here and needs to be downloaded to work properly.
Ivan Illich argued that the principal lesson School teaches is the need to be taught.
While this lesson may not be intentional, it is almost inevitable in an educational paradigm that is centred on teaching rather than learning (instructionism). It is also a lesson that increasingly fails to prepare our students for the world unfolding around them.
What might an educational paradigm that is centred on learning look like (constructionism), and what might it require of us, particularly in School?
In this regard, the International Baccalaureate continuum of education for 3-19 year olds is instructive. Central to the IB’s approach to education is learning through independent inquiry. Inquiry is more expansive than research and draws on a number of literacies, one of which is information literacy. Furthermore, because effective learning through inquiry requires professional collaboration between teacher and librarian, growth in the number of schools offering one or more IB Programmes is both an opportunity for librarians in schools to redefine themselves professionally, and a challenge to do so. Additionally, a continuum of inquiry-based education that stretches from age 3-19 will develop students who are better equipped for life and learning beyond school than students who are merely the product of School.
More broadly, the evolving definition of information literacy in the US reveals both an educational movement towards inquiry as well as something of the role of information literacy within inquiry, and this, like the IB continuum, is a consequence of active participation in the global conversation about the future of education. Both of these streams combine at Oakham School.
Oakham School has offered the IB Diploma Programme alongside A levels since 2001, and is currently a candidate school for the IB Middle Years Programme, which will lead to GCSEs. This affords us a unique perspective on and experience of these two educational paradigms. Additionally, since 2011 we have been drawing on the work of colleagues in the US, specifically Barbara Stripling and Carol Kuhlthau, resulting in a Framework of Skills for Inquiry Learning (FOSIL), which is both a model of the inquiry process as well as a progression of skills enabling it. As FOSIL evolves, mainly due to our deepening understanding of inquiry, but also the ongoing work of transplanting it from foreign soil, so it becomes an increasingly powerful tool for enabling inquiry, whether controlled, guided or open.
Starting from the global conversation about the future of education, we will proceed to discuss the value of inquiry to an education for the future, as well as some of the strategic and operational considerations that a shift in focus to learning through inquiry demands. Using FOSIL, we will then look at the place and role of information literacy within inquiry, paying attention to the forces driving the evolution of FOSIL. As FOSIL has emerged at the centre of a growing community of schools committed to advancing inquiry learning, we will conclude with developments to support this community through online discourse and the sharing of best practice and resources.