Enhancing Preservice Elementary Teachers' 21st-century Information and Media Literacy Skills

From Section:
Instruction in Teacher Training
Jul. 01, 2011
Summer, 2011

Source: Action in Teacher Education, Volume 33, No. 2, p. 206-218, Summer, 2011.
(Reviewed by the Portal team)

This pedagogical study investigated the effectiveness of an approach to information and media literacy instruction for elementary preservice teachers.

The authors were specifically concerned with preservice teachers' skill using Internet search engines and library subscription databases to locate, evaluate, and use relevant, appropriate, reliable, and authoritative resources.

The authors were interested to explore the following questions:
How successful are preservice teachers in selecting and evaluating high-quality resources?
How do preservice teachers' perceptions of their information and media literacy skills compare with their abilities to evaluate resource quality?
What is the relationship between preservice teacher age and ability to evaluate resource quality?

The participants were preservice teachers who enrolled at a large land-grant university in the western United States and were seeking K-8 elementary teaching certification or dual certification in elementary/bilingual or elementary/special education.

Fifteen preservice teachers participated in the program in Semester 1 and 24 preservice teachers participated in Semester 2.

This investigation occurred within the context of a major assessment in the social studies methods course.

Candidate teachers read juvenile or young adult literature with social studies topics or themes and kept track of their content-related questions.
The authors trained the participants in a systematic research process of searching for, evaluating, and using information resources, specifically journal articles and Websites, to increase their content knowledge.

After completing the training, preservice teachers used the research process to complete a major assessment in a social studies curriculum and instructional methods course.

Data Sources and Analysis
There were two data sources in this investigation: participants' reference-quality evaluations and an evaluation of the information and media literacy training session.


The results reveal that a considerable number of participants failed to select a journal article: 33% participants who participated in Semester 1 program and 25% participants participated in Semester 2.
Furthermore, two-thirds of the Semester 1 participants were unsuccessful identifying relevant, high-quality journal articles and one half inaccurately evaluated the quality of Websites.

After three opportunities for formative assessment were added to the instruction model in Semester 2, participants proficiently evaluated Websites and three-fourths were able to find relevant journal articles.

The results demonstrate the importance of formative assessment and the need to provide preservice teachers with information and media literacy training so they are better able to navigate and evaluate digital-age resources to expand their content mastery and teach their students 21st-century skills.

The authors conclude that additional exposure to journal articles remains necessary even when formative assessment is used.

Updated: Nov. 17, 2019
Elementary education | Formative evaluation | Media literacy | Methods courses | Preservice teachers | Social sciences