The development of an 'Information Society' and the era of Globalization have enriched many aspects of our daily life. At the same time, however, these developments have caused some negative social issues such as deaths among overworked office workers, and homelessness among the young. Prior to the rise of computer literacy, research and the gathering of documentary evidence would be a day-long-job; now it can be done within some minutes. By typing in several keywords, you can obtain matched results, thus accessing specific information contained in a database. If you are unable to complete such work within the tight timescale, you are considered as 'deadwood' in the society, where efficiency is demanded. That is why the 'digital divide' (meaning the gap between those people who have information technology and those who have not) is one factor that widens economic discrepancy. Of course, efficiency is not the only factor in this current situation. Nevertheless, it is true that in the effort to eliminate inefficiency and waste, a process has emerged that can be likened to 'culling oall the weeds' some of which actually enriched our local communities. Thus, our communities have become less tolerant towards the marginalized freeloaders. This group of people is eventually cut off from their communities.
Communities, through declining kindness to others, have shut out "hangers-on." However, a spirit of mutual helpfulness is taking place, albeit, slowly. One of these initiatives is called a share-house. The social structure of the share-house is that several young people live communally, comparable to the 'kibbutz,' an Israeli traditional collective community. Although a communal mode of living among people with varying backgrounds may require some constraints, these young people can learn something they would never have learned if they had lived in their efficiency-oriented community. In the everyday life of a share-house, they use the Internet to search for information about part-time jobs or apply for a job by using a mobile phone. The Internet and the mobile phone are indispensable daily tools, not only for these young people but also for the Roppongi Hills dwellers, billionaires who live in the giant complex of Roppongi Hills, and until recently were regarded as 'life's winners'.
In times like these, everyone needs to know how to utilize effectively the Internet and the mobile phone as a tool of information technology. Therefore, 'information literacy' has become imperative for the current generation living in an internet society as well as children stepping into the society.
About the Author
Ms. Kanoh is the associate professor of the Institute of Arts and Sciences at the Yamagata University, specialized in information education and the information society theory. She is currently undertaking the following research projects;
"Surveillance study on the effective information sharing system relating to child safety" sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. This project promotes initiatives to prevent crimes by conveying the movement of a child's mind and real-time GPS, a system that tracks children's activities to parents, through the use of a mind map.
"Research to contribute to the correction of disparities of information literacy in Higher Education" sponsored by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research. In this project, the study surveys the relationships between the disparities of information literacy in higher education and the family backgrounds, lifestyles, favorite subjects, etc; and
"Research on the relationship between the Information Technology and the NEET (young people Not in Education, Employment or Training), job-hopping part-timers, and truant children and students" sponsored by the Mitsubishi Foundation Research Grants. In this project, the study examines the relationship between job orientation and the family backgrounds, lifestyles, favorite subjects, etc.
Ms. Kanoh obtained B.A. and M.A. degrees at the department of Education of the Tokyo Gakugei University and completed the doctoral course at the Graduate School of International Telecommunication, Waseda University.Other works written and edited in Japanese by Ms. Kanoh
"Information Literacy & Information Ethics for the Net Generation: Internet Crime, Cyber-bullying, and School's Anonymous Message Board"
University Education Press (2007)
"Information Society Theory: Structure of the Ultra-High Efficiency Society"
Kitaoji Publishing (2007)
"Silent Revolution: Breakaway from being NEET and Job-Hopper by IT"
"Practical Education of Information Morality: Approach to the Ubiquitous Society"
Kitaoji Publishing (2005)
"Computer Workbooks that Young Students are willing to try: For the Development of Information Skills" Meijitosho Press (2003)
"Establishing the Information Department with the Portfolio: New Teaching Practice and Evaluation Method" Kitaoji Publishing (2002)Jointly authored work in Japanese by Ms. Kanoh
"Education Curriculum: Basic and Important Words 300" The Meijitosho Press
"Development of Teaching Materials for Coursework, Selective Mathematics, and Integrated Study that raise the mathematical mind" Meijitosho Press
"Educational Evaluation Reader: Thorough Understanding of Educational Curriculum Council Report" Educational Development Laboratory
In addition, Ms. Kanoh co-operated in editing textbooks, "Information A" and "Information C," for the high school curriculum authorized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as well as writing the tutorial manual of both textbooks.
[Contact Information] E-mail :kanoh (at-mark) pbd.kj.yamagata-u.ac.jp