Step 1: Declare your intention to teach information literacy.
Step 2: ?
Step 3: PROFIT! (Paid in the form of smart people instead of money.)
The trick is narrowing the focus to something manageable. I was struck by what Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe said in Understanding by Design about the need for creating essential questions. What are the questions that boil down the essence of the field? What are the questions that even experienced practitioners struggle with? Creating a learning design around questions seems to be the best way to avoid an undue number of assumptions.
With that in mind, here are my candidates for key essential questions in the field of information studies:
- What is information?
- Where does information come from?
- Why is information important?
- Is some information more important? If so, when and why? Who decides what information is most important? Why?
- How do you know when you need information? How can you figure out what information you need?
- What are sources of information? Are some sources better than others? If so, when and why? Who decides what sources are best? Why?
- Who decides what information should be kept? Why?
- How is information stored and organized?
- What are useful strategies for interacting with sources of information and information retrieval systems? What should you do if there are barriers to the information or it cannot be located?
- What makes information correct? What makes information meaningful? Are these always the same? Why or why not?
- What happens when pieces of information conflict? Why might different sources conflict?
- Who uses information, and how? How should information be used (or not used)?
- When and how should information be shared? Is it always right to share information, or are there times it should be contained? Who should decide this? Why?