Information & Knowledge Compared.
Information is raw data. It can come in the form of facts or instructions. It is usually presented without any analysis or associations between the different parts. It is the list of facts appearing on a news website, the instructions for building a piece of furniture from a retailer, the list of stock prices in yesterday’s trading. Information is available everywhere.
Knowledge is what you get when you combine information with scrutiny and understanding, analysis and hindsight. It is the opinion articles on a news website that attempt to describe how facts impact policies or actions. It is the help you understand you need when attempting to assemble that piece of furniture and the precautions that you need to take. It is the understanding of the stock market trends and how they affect future developments.
In short, knowledge needs information. Simply accessing information is not equivalent to knowledge. The ability to sift through and filter data, to judge the value and usefulness of data, to organize and connect information creates knowledge. This is the job of the Content Creator.
Information Literacy and Knowledge.
Learners need to be trained how to manage information before they can reach knowledge, before they become their own Content Curators.. There is a finely defined set of skills essential to the task outlined in the Information Literacy Standards.
These performance indicators delineate the training that needs to happen. While reading the list that follows, think of the three S’s of Content Curation : Seek, Sense, Share and each point becomes topical and relevant.
1. The information literate student defines and articulates the need for information.
2. The information literate student identifies a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information.
3. The information literate student considers the costs and benefits of acquiring the needed information.
4. The information literate student reevaluates the nature and extent of the information need.
5. The information literate student selects the most appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems for accessing the needed information.
6. The information literate student constructs and implements effectively designed search strategies.
7. The information literate student retrieves information online or in person using a variety of methods.
8. The information literate student refines the search strategy if necessary.
9. The information literate student extracts, records, and manages the information and its sources.
10. The information literate student summarizes the main ideas to be extracted from the information gathered.
11. The information literate student articulates and applies initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.
12. The information literate student synthesizes main ideas to construct new concepts.
13. The information literate student compares new knowledge with prior knowledge to determine the value added, contradictions, or other unique characteristics of the information.
14. The information literate student determines whether the new knowledge has an impact on the individual’s value system and takes steps to reconcile differences.
15. The information literate student validates understanding and interpretation of the information through discourse with other individuals, subject-area experts, and/or practitioners.
16. The information literate student determines whether the initial query should be revised.
17. The information literate student applies new and prior information to the planning and creation of a particular product or performance.
18. The information literate student revises the development process for the product or performance.
19. The information literate student communicates the product or performance effectively to others.
20. The information literate student understands many of the ethical, legal and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology.
21. The information literate student follows laws, regulations, institutional policies, and etiquette related to the access and use of information resources.
22. The information literate student acknowledges the use of information sources in communicating the product or performance.
At the end of this process learners will have moved from simply collecting information to filtering and organising it into meaningful sets. This process guides them how to recognize and establish connections between different sets of data, how to use critical thinking to identify areas of synthesis. Content curation can help students turn that information into knowledge.
Modeling content curation
One of the most effective teaching methods involves modeling how an experienced learner achieves results. This is the first step in the learning process before learners can develop their own strategies to reach the same goals. According to Monica Fuglei, modeling this process for students is particularly important. Watching a teacher search for a topic, filter information and evaluate sources lets students see how the process works. Older students’ comfort with social media can be used to illustrate how they can apply the same process of judgment, filtering, and connection techniques to more academic endeavors like database usage, academic research, and essay writing.
Furthermore, access to information is not limited to library time. It is available anytime, anywhere. So are a number of platforms that can be used to curate content: Pinterest, Diigo, Symbaloo. Finding the platform that best suits your learner’s needs is part of the same modeling and experimentation process. In addition, learners and teachers do not need to be comfortable or knowledgeable using all of them. The content and the way it is organized, prioritized, visualized, etc, are the qualities that the user should be aiming for.
Remember that according to Plato: “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers”.