Information Literacy :: Learning from Each Other

Last week in class we watched several of our class’s completed screencasts and discussed them, then we discussed the (way to huge to fit into a couple hours) topic of information literacy.

I really enjoyed seeing the other folks’ screencasts. Watching other people’s creations not only helps you to learn techniques for your own work, but, I think, also helps beginners to see that “they’re not alone.” If I compare my first screencast to professionally made ‘casts on YouTube, I’m going to feel like I did a horrible job – but those people making those ‘casts have experience that I don’t have. Looking at the screencasts of other people making them for the first time, however, creates a sense of camaraderie, as well as a sense that I’m on the right track. It was a valuable exercise.

We spent the rest of the class, in various formations (small group discussion, large group discussion, lecture) discussing the myriad topics that fall under the heading of “information literacy.” There are so many various concepts subsumed under this heading, such as digital literacy, metaliteracy, transliteracy, information fluency, etc. etc., that it can be quite overwhelming to get a sense of where we are in this world. Unfortunately, I won’t be around next fall to take Kristin’s class on information literacy, so I’m going to have to make due, for now, with that 2 hours we had in class.

I think one of the biggest things I took from this discussion is, again, the need for collaboration among institutions. I hear this word, collaboration, so much that I’m starting to get sick of it, but it’s not going anywhere soon so I’m just going to have to deal with it. The problem with collaboration and information literacy seems to be, to me, that we all talk about how we need to collaborate more, but then we go and all have our own definitions for what “information literacy” really is, or we go and make up our own words (see all the words in the middle of the paragraph above). The problem isn’t having all these words and definitions, of course, but not realizing that, at the heart of it we’re all talking about the same thing. We can, of course, discuss the differences between our individual ideas of information literacy, but we also need to find and expand our common ground. The only place we’re going to get with all of the disagreements is a world where we don’t have proper standards for teaching information literacy, and therefore we don’t have proper standards for testing for it, and our educational program here will be left in the 20th century.

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About rclement643

I am currently a graduate student at University of Michigan's School of Information. This blog is being kept as a place for reflections on the readings for the class
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2 Responses to Information Literacy :: Learning from Each Other

  1. Kristin says:

    This idea of collaborating and then defining has been on my mind. I’m on an ALA task force for digital literacy. And while my take on things is that information literacy is the big picture, and digilit is the subset, I have to recognize that digilit is the language our constituents and peer organizations are using. And so at some point, we’ve gotta ask whether it’s more important to talk our talk or speak a more communal language.

  2. Kelly says:

    I agree with you about the challenge of all working together while we are also defining ideas in different ways — I wrote a little about this using the question “Where are the edges of information literacy?” It’s the sort of “I know it when I see it” problem. I think teachers and librarians develop a tacit understanding of IL through their own experiences and education, but it can vary by individual.

    In some ways, I think stakeholders do have common understandings of the underlying skills, but there are also groups who want to either expand or contract the concept, which is a related but different challenge. I’m interested to see how IL will evolve as we enter the profession. I also wonder how much IL curricula will be tailored to individual schools or colleges …

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