The Department of Library and Information Resources Learning Benchmarks: Skills and Expectations have been developed using a wide-range of current resources that reflect best practice in the development of Partnership for 21st Century Learning.  They were built on the learning skills developed by the librarians to guide their teaching and prepare students for working in a 21st century world.
An extensive bibliography accompanies these expectations. It is assumed that the skills will be taught in a context that encourages application and gradual sequential complexity. The Library Department has been in touch with not only colleagues in the k-12 community, but also with our college counterparts to assure that we are adequately equipping our students for not only the work world, but also for the extended educational environment of college and university learning.

There is an expectation that these skills are meta-cognitive applications of inquiry, and will be taught in collaboration with classroom curriculum and instruction. Aspects of inquiry would include:

  • Task initiation [What do I already know about the area of inquiry? What are the requirements of the assignment?];
  • Topic Selection [What interests me? What relates to  my personal life? What do I want to know?];
  • Exploration [What topics interest me? Which resources can I use to find out about my interests?];
  • Focus formulation [How can I narrow down my interests to a researchable topic? What questions can I ask? How can I hypothesize? What are the key words of my topic? Which resources will be most helpful?];
  • Information collection [What information is relevant to my focus? How shall I take notes? How can I interact with the information to think deeply about it? What questions can I ask? How else can I get information (surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.];
  • Presentation [what type of format is appropriate to communicate my findings best: written, graphic, graphs and charts, podcasts, aural presentation, on-line experience.]; and
  • Asssessment [What did I learn? How well did I follow the rubric? What types of interventions were most helpful? What was the analysis of the final product? Was the learning/understanding gleaned worthwhile? Did I do some self-reflection on the benefits of the experience?].

During each of the above stages students would ask themselves whether they need help. The teacher and librarian observe student actions, listen to their thoughts as expressed in interventions such as concept maps and graphic organizers, and feelings, or their attitudes toward the project and the process.

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