Project Blaster: Building information literacy in the Primary classroom

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Martin Bazley

Project Blaster website

With information overload now being a part of every day life, when is the ideal time to introduce the skills that can enable pupils to identify, analyse and make sense of the information they need to become successful learners? The National Library of Scotland sees such skills as vital to ensuring young people are equipped with the skills not only to become successful learners at school level but through their whole educational journey. It is currently developing an online resource which aims to introduce these vital skills to primary pupils.

Through six stages, primary teachers can work with their pupils to understand the basic research skills needed to create a classroom project.  From understanding primary and secondary sources to knowing where to loook for information, to checking and verifying facts, the site shows pupils how to critically evaluate the information they find from a variety of sources.

Allan Bennett, a popular children’s author in Scotland who specialises in writing history books for young people, guides teachers and pupils through each of the stages, providing fun, fact-filled activities for use both in the classroom or online in pairs/individually. Designed to meet Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence‘s  ‘Literacy across Learning’ element, the Project Blaster website  introduces the skills for building critical literacy. This states that:

‘Children and young people not only need to be able to read for information; they also need to be able to work out what trust they should place on the information and to identify when and how people are aiming to persuade and influence them.’

Information and critical literacy skills are vital 21st century skills for young people to have so that they do not become mere passive consumers of information but are able to investigate, question, analyse, and become creators of information themselves.

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