The role of information literacy in education | New times


Threats of disinformation on social media, fake news and the rapid transmission of information have made digital tools dangerous for everyone, especially learners.

To overcome this, education experts believe that information literacy is necessary in learning.

Information literacy is the set of skills required to find, retrieve, analyze and use information.

It is also a combination of research, critical thinking, computer technology and communication skills.

Fridah Manishimwe, a teacher at Mother Mary Complex School in Kigali, explains that in general, information literacy helps sharpen students’ minds and allows them to separate fact from fiction.

How to do it

Aimable Bizumuremyi, a Kigali-based computer scientist, says the internet is one of the best places to practice information literacy, and the current situation – with schools closed to curb Covid-19 – it’s imperative to understand that.

He says information literacy is essential for academic success and functioning effectively even in the workplace later in life.

“It’s not something a student can learn by reading a book, it takes hands-on practice,” he says.

it is crucial to teach learners to develop the habit of checking an author’s credibility or biases, or of cross-referencing, to avoid being misinformed or duped. sharp photo.

According to him, depending on the age of the learner, it is important to do strategic online research first, judging the legitimacy of online sources.

John Nzayisenga, principal of Kigali Harvest School, says it’s imperative to help learners understand that with the Internet, anyone can post content that others can access.

He says it will therefore help them to know that there is a lot of bad information to sort through when researching; therefore, taking precautions is key.

“It is not always easy to determine which credible and peer-reviewed sources are and which are not,” he adds.

In addition, Nzayisenga adds that parents or mentors can help their children filter out misinformation.

For example, he notes that students can learn to search effectively and efficiently with the right keywords.

“Learners can also identify or learn that sponsored links (which usually appear at the top of the search results list) are forms of ads and therefore are not always the best resources,” says Nzayisenga.

Manishimwe says it’s also important to teach learners to develop the habit of checking an author’s credibility or biases, or cross-referencing, to avoid being misinformed or duped.

Why it matters

Elie Munezero, coordinator of a youth center in Gikondo, says students cannot achieve the goal of study without practicing special information literacy skills.

In other words, he says, information literacy skills enable them to become independent lifelong learners.

“These skills will allow future learners to apply their knowledge of the familiar environment to the unknown,” he says.

Munezero adds that information literacy helps learners do well in school, work, and personal affairs.

He says it’s because students can recognize the difference between good information and bad information, therefore, are able to assess situations from multiple angles.

Manishimwe says that learners who understand information literacy can solve almost any problem they encounter.

“It also promotes problem-solving approaches and thinking skills – asking questions and seeking answers. Students can also recognize that not all information is created the same way, ”she says.

For example, she says, content on the Internet keeps growing, but it doesn’t always come from credible sources.

Students do not consult encyclopedias and other books in the library for information; they instinctively go on the Internet.

In addition, Manishimwe says that when students are familiar with information literacy, it helps them sort the data to interpret it logically.

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