How do we put a spotlight on literacy?

As the secondary librarian on this research team, I am conscious that information literacy features at many library-centric conferences, which illustrates the point Lisa makes in this blog post about preaching to the choir. My focus, since becoming involved with this TLRI, is to extend the conversation into wider education groups, to begin some of the conversations that need to happen, and shine a light on the examples that provide evidence for the success on student outcomes when teachers and librarians work together to make IL skills visible in the classroom.

Information Literacy Spaces

mum-photo.jpgIt’s a month now since I returned from the (very) sunny Northern Hemisphere, and the tan lines have all but faded away. The trip certainly included plenty of fun (and shopping!), but most of all it was an opportunity to present our research findings at two significant conferences on higher education.

Both conferences looked very relevant to the work we’re doing in the Information Literacy Spaces project. The first conference was the European First Year Higher Education Conference, held in beautiful Utrecht. I had high hopes for this conference, as I have a long-held interest in student transition to higher education, both from a research perspective, but also in my role as a Director of Teaching and Learning at Massey University. And, indeed, there were some interesting papers. But the whole focus of the conference seemed to be about testing students at point of entry and ensuring students’ skills/knowledge matched…

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Information Literacy in the Era of Lies

IL as Meta-skill

A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education from University of Iowa lecturer David Gooblar about how to teach information literacy in an era of lies has really got me thinking.

It is truly becoming a murky minefield to navigate, deciphering the purpose of online information. Just this week, one of our New Zealand politicians stomped into this minefield wearing big, oversized boots.

It seems on the surface, that distinguishing lies from truth should be a relatively straightforward process, but it is actually becoming increasingly difficult to make the differentiation. Those of us wearing our librarian hats will be nodding sagely at this, thinking to ourselves, yes, this we know, this we teach, this we have conversations about on an almost daily basis.  We think in this Trumpist-media-worldview era that we are the panacea to the problem.  And, yes I think we have a huge part to play in this arena.

Whitehouse Pants on Fire Cartoon

CRAAP_infographic
UC San Diego Library Libguide

But as I read further into David Gooblar’s article, I realised the approach I have been using with senior students and teachers, using the CRAAP Test to get them to think critically about the selection of information, really wasn’t going far enough, specifically in the “Purpose” part of the evaluation.

There are two pieces I’ve been missing.

The first:   Focus on evaluating the claim being made, not just the source it’s published in.  Gooblar refers to statements made by Michael Caufield, director of blended learning at Washington State University, in a 2017 blog post, where he describes the process of “lateral reading” – consulting a variety of sources to verify a claim.  He urges us to teach our students to:

  1. Look for previous fact-checking work on a particular issue.
  2. Follow a claim “upstream”, which involves following the trail of citations.
"It's more important for students to be able to evaluate claims than sources.
To assess the veracity of a given source's claims, students often have to
consult other sources."

The second:   Danah Boyd, a social media researcher states, “That the next step is for students to go beyond assessing sources and claims.  They need to be able to assess themselves.”

We need to get our students to identify their own personal “filter-bubble” (and think about our own as well!).  This is no longer about acknowledging “good” vs “bad” websites, “true” or “false” information, it is more about really digging into the bias, not just of what we’re reading and where we’re reading it, but how we’re receiving it.

True False Fooled

I want to finish with David Gooblar’s final sentence:

“How can students succeed in any intellectual pursuit if they cannot tell what’s true from what’s false?”

How, indeed!?

Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning

I have had a busier than usual time in the last month or so presenting to different groups about the importance of information literacy skills for all of us, including students.

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to talk to a great group of educators whose focus is on helping students consider their career choices and how to achieve those goals.

Here’s the presentation I gave on not just my Tertiary Prep Programme, but also looking at employability skills with an IL lens.  I had such a good time!

 

Professional Reading Choices

Here are links to some of my favourite professional reading material.

Peer-reviewed journals

il_logo-trans.pngInformation Literacy Journal

Articles in the Information Literacy Journal are written by presenters from the Librarian Information Literacy Annual Conference held in the UK in March or April each year.  Excellent range of articles around all aspects of information literacy in an education context.  I attended the Glasgow conference as a presenter in 2012 and it remains a highlight of my professional experiences to date and marks my introduction to the rockstar Professor Tara Brabazon!

 

alberta2Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Journal

I discovered this Evidence Based Practice journal when exploring what gathering evidence in my own professional practice could look like following the 2012 SLANZA workshop on Evidence Based Practice with the redoubtable Dr Ross Todd.  Not all of the articles are pertinent to a school library setting, but they all demonstrate how and why we could collect evidence as an advocacy tool.

 

New Zealand based professional reading

SquareGreenLogo_400x400SLANZA Collected magazine 

Published two or three times a year, each issue of Collected tends to have themed feature articles along with a variety of shorter articles and regular features including book reviews.

 

LIANZALIANZA Library Life

Library Life has recently had a facelift. It is a regular monthly newsletter with plenty of topical issues across library sectors and provides New Zealand food for thought for informational professionals.

 

HMWEVE Magazine 

A yearly publication from the Heroes Mingle stable which takes a fresh approach to thinking about librarianship, what inspires us and how that inspiration can make a difference.  Watch out for their next offering in the latter part of this year.

 

What are your favourites?  Would love you to share them in the comments!

 

 

 

Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize 2015

CC Flickr Image

I am super excited for and very proud of my good friend Tania Lineham, Head of Science at James Hargest College, who has just been awarded the very prestigious Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize for 2015.  Tania is one of the most innovative, passionate and hard working teachers I’ve had the privilege of working with. (Huge emphasis on passionate!)

That in itself is more than enough reason for me to give her public accolade, however having just listened to Tania’s interview on Kathryn Ryan’s Nine to Noon Show on RNZ National aired this morning, I felt compelled to share it with my librarian and teacher friends.

During this short 7 minute interview Tania talks about:

  • separating science fact from science fiction
  • fostering critical analysis and scientific literacy
  • developing critical thinking tools
  • evaluating information, including the sources information comes from
  • identifying reliable websites
  • embedding digital citizenship

Any of this sound familiar? Are these the topics of conversations we have in our libraries? Or if not, are they the types of conversations we’d like to have with our teaching colleagues or should be having with our librarian colleagues?  These skills, among others are opening topics of conversations in which both teachers and librarians have things to share with each other

Tania has been and will always remain one of my flock-mates. She is a strong collaborator and we had many professional discussions when we worked together which really inspired me in my role as a co-educator.  Well done my friend.  It is richly deserved. (and the piccy at the top is just for you)