The Missing Literacies – Learning to Search #iste2015

The Missing Literacies – Learning to Search

Back in the day it was reading, righting and rythmatic. Thinking about it, being able to read well to make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn made sense when content was primarily accessed in a structured and sequenced finite resource, aka the textbook. Being able to use a table of contents and an index were a critical part of the content access experience.

How times have changed. When was the last time you used an index to look up something in a book? I can’t remember. The last time I looked up something, I used Google. My reading now is primarily done online, as is my research, but I remember long ago, the initial trip to the school library where we all sat through the lesson on using the card catalog. In college, I remember dreading having to use the much larger and more intimidating University library to lookup and find information for my class reports. Must have three references!

I had what was probably a fairly typical experience of learning information access and retrieval during my formal education. That world no longer exists except in our schools. The University library is no longer the pinnacle of information repository. The ancient Library of Alexandria has been reborn in the Web. Information is now ubiquitous, dependent only on access from a sub $200 device and wifi. Google has become the card catalog to the world’s global library.

Why then do we not move into an era of learning to search and searching to learn? Why do we not teach search as a fundamental literacy of learning?