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Information literacy conference will appeal to teachers, librarians, media specialistsand policy makers

They may have their own Web pages on myspace.com and an arsenal of I-pods to play their favorite songs, but that doesn’t mean the young people of today are as technologically savvy as they need to be.

In fact, recent data suggests that many students of all ages lack the ability to use computers effectively in their academic pursuits.

An upcoming conference co-sponsored by Georgia Southern University and South University will provide teachers, librarians and media specialists with a better understanding of key information literacy issues they face as educators dealing with students in the information age.

The third annual Georgia Conference on Information Literacy will be held on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6 and 7, at the Coastal Georgia Center in Savannah.

Information literacy can be loosely defined as the art and science of locating, evaluating and using pertinent information to answer a question or solve a problem.

With more than 55 presentations and workshops, the conference is relevant to educators at every level, from kindergarten teachers to college professors.

‘This is a wonderful opportunity to interact with colleagues from around the country who are facing similar challenges and applying practical solutions,” said W. Bede Mitchell, the dean of the Zach S. Henderson Library at Georgia Southern.

O. Joseph Harm, the vice president for Academic Affairs at South University, concurs, noting that ‘the conference models the best practices in higher education which are essential to quality postsecondary and graduate education. Conferences such as this demonstrate the educational excellence found in Georgia universities.”

The conference will feature presentations by professional educators representing institutions in 20 different states. Their topics will include:

  • Information Literacy for Rookies
  • Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You? Multi-Media Approaches for Preventing Student Plagiarism
  • Library/Teacher Collaboration: A Fully Integrated Curriculum Approach to Information Literacy
  • Don’t Panic: Seniors and the College Library
  • Google vs. GALILEO  Finding Authoritative Resources for Reports and Projects
  • What Can Student Citations Tell Us About Their Research Practices? Librarians and Composition Teachers Look at the Evidence

The keynote addresses will be delivered by Betsy Barefoot and Michael Hall.
Barefoot is the co-director and senior scholar of the Policy Center on the First Year of College. She will discuss the ways that student characteristics and expectations affect their attitudes about and interactions with information literacy.

Hall is an associate professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Leadership and Professional Studies at Columbus State University. He will discuss changing the paradigm of ‘school as we know it” to one that prepares students for global competition in the 21st century.

While computers and the Internet play a vital role in information literacy, far too many students are failing to take full advantage of these technological tools.

For example, in a study conducted by the Educational Testing Service, some 10,000 high school and college students were asked to evaluate a set of Web sites. Nearly half of the participants were unable to determine which sites were the most objective, reliable and timely.

In addition, a Texas newspaper reported that professors at one university in that state have asked for the development of seminars that will teach students how to use the library’s catalog and various computer databases.

The Georgia Conference on Information Literacy seeks to address these kinds of problems by providing educators with access to successful initiatives and the latest research. More than 500 people attended the first two conferences in 2004 and 2005.

Professional Learning Units are available to conference participants who hold a valid Georgia teaching certificate or paraprofessional license, and to participants who are working toward a paraprofessional license.

Also, every participant will receive a CD that contains notes provided by many of the conference speakers.

In addition to the Henderson Library, the Georgia Southern entities involved in the conference are the Department of Writing and Linguistics, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Education, and the Continuing Education Center.

The fee for the conference is $125 per person. Advance registration is preferred, but participants can also sign up at the conference on the first day.

To register, call (912) 681-0847. For more information, visit http://ceps.georgiasouthern.edu/conted/infolit.html or email dchampion@georgiasouthern.edu or janreyn@georgiasouthern.edu .

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