Anne Buxton, Information Manager at Northampton High School writes about the programme of information literacy and research skills training that has been introduced at her school. Read the full article here.

Trying to embed information literacy and research skills into the curriculum has sometimes felt similar to trying to find the Holy Grail!  But, since September 2013, we have been running weekly sessions with Year 7 and Year 8 students at Northampton High School, and the results are already very encouraging.

Our starting point was how to use the library effectively, but we have now moved on to more sophisticated analytical skills – for example, how to identify quality information appropriate for a specific information need.

Use of the World Book Encyclopedia, both in paper and electronic format (as part of World Book Online), has been a significant and helpful part of our skills training. We recommend that students use it as a starting point for project work, especially when they know very little about the subject. Students also have an introduction to the World Book Encyclopaedia during Library Induction at the beginning of the academic year.

During our sessions, we have compared World Book entries (which are written by experts at a level appropriate for our students) with information available on websites such as Wikipedia. The emphasis is not on criticising Wikipedia, but on assessing quality and appropriateness of information in the context of tasks set by teachers.

By equipping our Year 7 and Year 8 students with information literacy skills, we believe we are preparing them well for the more rigorous academic challenges of A Level studies, particularly the EPQ which is growing in popularity.  We also believe that these skills will help them to succeed in Higher Education.

Judging by the work that the students have been producing in other lessons, we already have evidence that they are utilising their new information literacy skills to a pleasing extent, and the World Book Encyclopedia has made a significant contribution to the increase in achievement we are witnessing.