The Internet and Information Skills: A Guide for Teachers and School Librarians

Lindesay M. Burton (Learning Resource Centre Manager, Kilsyth Academy, Glasgow, UK)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 1 December 2004




Burton, L.M. (2004), "The Internet and Information Skills: A Guide for Teachers and School Librarians", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 276-277.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The purpose of this book, according to the introduction, is threefold. Firstly, to provide a guide to the Internet and information skills for teachers and school librarians both practical and theoretical; secondly, to update teachers’ and school librarians’ knowledge of information skills and information literacy, both for their benefit and for that of their students; and thirdly, to provide teachers and school librarians with advice on the most effective way of teaching information skills by providing a mixture of theory and best practice.

Herring states that the main focus of the book is for secondary/high schools globally, but that it will also be useful in primary/elementary schools and also to those in school management. However, the detailed information provided in these pages would probably be of the greatest use to secondary school librarians, and in particular, to those embarking on a course of information skills or information literacy skills or as part of teacher training. The harassed classroom teacher requires more succinct guidance but school librarians, especially those new to the profession, would benefit greatly from studying it as it contains nine chapters of useful and instructional material covering different areas of information literacy. At the start of each chapter there is a clear list of objectives (what the reader should have learnt by the end of each chapter).

Chapter one introduces the current theories in learning, especially individual learning. It then explains information skills in the school learning context and the part the Internet plays in student learning. The current theories and practices of effective teaching and teaching styles in the classroom and school library are covered and it concludes with a section on the Internet as a teaching resource and advocates collaboration between school librarians and teachers, a view which, as a school librarian, I very much endorse.

Chapter two explains the various features of the Internet such as e‐mail and “listservs”, as well as the Web. This is followed by a very useful and informative section on search engines, including a table on the various features of different search engines. The next section on effective search strategies also includes several useful Figures, in particular 2.4‐2.7. Writing as a school librarian, I found this section extremely useful and would commend it to anyone planning to teach effective searching.

Chapter three covers evaluating Web sites and highlights the importance of teachers and school librarians being aware of the criteria they might utilise to evaluate Web sites themselves before teaching students this process. The technical, reliability and educational criteria required to evaluate Web sites are detailed, each one being usefully illustrated in Figures 3.1‐3.3.

Chapter four is on the topic of subject gateways. It examines their evaluation, general subject gateways used in schools, subject specific gateways, commercially available gateways and once again the text is accompanied by useful Figures.

The aim of chapter five is to enable teachers and school librarians to develop their own information skills and information literacy policies and practices. It defines information skills and information literacy, reviews various information skills models, introduces the author's PLUS model and reviews some international examples of how schools teach information skills, concluding with examples of in‐service training on information skills.

Chapter six examines information literacy using the author's PLUS model with the Web and as in previous chapters many useful diagrams are included. The next chapter focuses on the development of a school Web site. It covers the purpose of the site, the planning and design of it, the development of an intranet and the incorporation of information skills especially in the section on the school library.

Chapter eight is about developing an instructional Web site. After defining the nature of such sites, it describes the criteria for evaluating them, techniques for developing them, including information skills and resources on them, and has a detailed case study of instructional Web sites designed by a school librarian and teachers. Finally, chapter nine looks at future trends in the Internet and the implications for the teaching of information skills, and it concludes by examining the role of the teacher and the school librarian in the future.

This work contains a very good bibliography, an index and each chapter comes accompanied by references. It is too detailed for secondary school teachers, but it would be a very valuable reference tool for the school librarian, as it contains a great deal of useful, well documented and well researched material from an acknowledged expert in the field of school librarianship.

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