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Panel Clears Bill Requiring Information Literacy Instruction in Schools

Students in grades kindergarten through 12 would be educated in information literacy under legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Testa and passed today by the Senate Education Committee.

Under Testa’s bill (S-3464), schools would be required to provide instruction on information literacy so students can determine reliable, useful content and avoid invalid and deceptive materials.

“With the prevalence of information sources in today’s high-tech world, it is imperative that young people learn to navigate the options and understand that not all info on the internet is credible,” said Testa (R-1). “Anybody can publish a blog post, podcast or YouTube video, but the information may not be accurate or useful. There is no accountability, so students need to learn how to evaluate the material and use it effectively.”

In addition, the bill requires the education commissioner to establish in-service training programs on information literacy instruction for school administrators, library media specialists and teaching staff who will provide instruction to students.

“Published information can be misleading and manipulative,” said Testa. “The emphasis on information literacy will allow children to learn to search efficiently, gauge the legitimacy of online sources and make the most of their time at the computer.”

Under Testa’s bill, the curriculum guidelines include: teaching students about the research process; developing skills for using information resources; evaluating information critically and competently; accessing information and information tools; and an understanding of economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information; and how to use information ethically and legally.