Information Literacy is the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information. It provides us with the critical skills necessary to become independent, discerning lifelong learners.
As the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy (January 10, 1989, Washington, D.C.) says "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."
Society today needs information literacy skills but there is a special focus on our 21st century classrooms. These skills will allow students to succeed in their future chosen paths. Included within information literacy is information technology skills. Information Technology (IT) skills enable the use of computers, software applications, databases, and other forms of technology. Today’s students are not confined to learning only from a brick and mortar building or a set of books found on the shelf of a library but are entrenched in an all-encompassing, technology-rich environment. Because of this environment, Information Literacy is not only critical but is central to the mission of education today.
Information literacy and Information Technology skill lessons begin with our youngest learners. Students are taught the use of keywords; what they are, how to select them, and the most efficient way to find information by plugging in those identified keywords. Key to this literacy is knowing how to judge the reliability of a source. Using a website and evaluating its features follows. As students’ progress through grade levels the scope and sequence of lessons progresses as well. Eventually, technological retrieval and analytical skills not only directly impact our speed and level of learning but also provide the knowledge to help make sound decisions both online and in the real world.