Go rogue! Information literacy’s role in decolonising the curriculum.

“The key message was to ‘go rogue’, to grow and adapt while recognising the history, but not being constrained by it. There was a real sense that we need to make the familiar strange, and the strange familiar”
Angela Feekery.

I love the “go rogue” picture forming in my mind! As Michael Moore said “I really didn’t realize the librarians were, you know, such a dangerous group.
They are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them. You know, they’ve had their budgets cut. They’re paid nothing. Books are falling apart. The libraries are just like the ass end of everything, right?”, librarians have always been open to seeing things differently, doing things differently, teaming up differently.

As I reflect on 2018 (more to come on that) and redefine what 2019 might look like, “go rogue” may just become my new catch-phrase!

Information Literacy Spaces

I was fortunate to attend a communication conference in the US is November, and attended the pre-conference focused on ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’ within the Communication discipline. The session was led by a diverse group of people, most of whom have experienced discrimination in their lives. They recognise the dominant white worldviews perpetuated in curriculum material (the communication of white people) they are teaching their students, many of whom are not white.

Part of the discussion centered on reflecting on our own positionalities within the dominant perspectives, connected not only to race and ethnicity, but the struggle against all components of dominant power (white supremacy and privilege, masculinity and hetero perspectives).

The conversation explored white privilege and white fragility openly in a space where we were all made to feel safe regardless of our identity. The idea of ‘name it, but don’t shame’ it prevailed. The focus was on empowering all…

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“Fake News”, social media and critical thinking

BBC_i-reporter

BBC iReporter

This is a fantastic online resource created by the BBC which puts players in the heart of the newsroom to explore sources and make journalistic decisions and attempt to discover what is real and what is fake news.

You are a new reporter for the BBC social media team, and you have to meet your bulletin deadlines through the course of a day.

I tested this out this morning and was impressed by the very slick format full of interactive technology and immediate results.  Players gain points for accuracy, impact, and speed – all of which are crucial in any real news setting.

Links to the New Zealand Curriculum:

This activity meets all elements of the key competencies – the capabilities for living and lifelong learning (which is what we’re all about in the school library business!)

  • Thinking – critically, creatively, and metacognitively thinking while making sense of information, experiences, and ideas to become active seekers, users, and creators of knowledge
  • Using language, symbols, and texts – understanding visual, oral, aural and written language cues to make swift decisions
  • Managing self – being resourceful and resilient while employing strategies to meet challenges under time constraints
  • Relating to others – interacting effectively online while coming up with new ways of thinking and becoming informed decision makers
  • Participating and contributing – in a digital, global environment while understanding the balance between rights, roles, and responsibilities to contributing to online communities

It also contributes to digital citizenship, information and digital literacy skills programmes, and is particularly relevant to Social Studies, English and Media studies teachers

BBC i-reporter

A big thank you to UK teacher and editor of UKEd Magazine, Martin Burrett for posting about this excellent, interactive tool, with potential to have high student engagement.

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!