In recent years, the school libraries have been transitioning from a place where students who love to read books gather, to an environment of learning. Students can acquire the skills and knowledge required to make use of school libraries and their facilities/resources (hereinafter referred to as “information skills”) through investigative learning. This study examines how the improvement of the learning environment in a school library can positively affect students’ proficiency in information skills. Through research, we have discovered that changing various aspects of a library (such as library equipment/facilities, library personnel, and resources/materials) can make some skills more effective, and that these changes alone are not sufficient to improve other skills.
There are many information skills, such as “using an encyclopedia” or “ operating a digital camera”, that are inherently easy to acquire through daily studies in each school subject because students have a physical tool that they can learn to use and are given plenty of opportunities to use these skills on a regular basis. On the other hand we have narrowed the number of skills that are difficult to acquire to just a few, such as “selecting a research topic”, “understanding copyright laws”, and “developing and relaying one’s own claim”.
We have concluded that these skills cannot be acquired by simply changing the library environment and requires additional changes and influence from the library users themselves (i.e. teachers and students) for a school library to be fully effective. Examples of what is required of users include “the students’ clear understanding of the purpose of learning” and “ the teachers’ clear understanding of their students’ proficiency level of information skills”.
Japanese Ministry of Education conducted a national survey to grasp the degree of information abilities of fifth graders of elementary schools and second graders of junior high schools. Approximately 3,000 students became the subjects. As the results, huge difference in the skill of keyboard, low successful ratio of complex questions such as connect and integrate information, and significant correlation between the abilities and frequency of ICT use were revealed. Significant correlation between the abilities and frequency of information education requiring complex was also found out.
These findings leads various directions of research in educational media. The first is reexamination of validity of classification and sequence of eight components in three domains of objectives of information education. The second one is development of curriculum, how to run the curriculum and instructional methods to foster thinking, examining and expressing. The third is to uncover the relationship between information abilities and using ICT including tablet PC in schools. The last is accumulation of experience of ICT use in students' home.