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Beyond information literacy

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The information literacy thresholds project began from a concern that people (particularly the students we were teaching) did not have a really deep understanding of the ways in which we are …

The information literacy thresholds project began from a concern that people (particularly the students we were teaching) did not have a really deep understanding of the ways in which we are surrounded by and use information. There was a tendency toward unreflective practice and use of information. Each time, we introduced new concepts to students (and to our colleagues), there was momentary flashes of insight writ large on the faces. These flashes are almost synonymous with the ideas behind threshold concepts. What if they are the same thing?

So we set out to try to work out what kinds of knowledge (information), activities and insights helped people to understand the use of information in our information loaded world. We set about teaching how to deal with information, how to manage it, keep up to date and generally know what’s out there. There was always a problem with the term ‘information overload’ and so it was a pleasant surprise to find Clay Shirky’s framing of that issue as ‘filter failure’. That was a threshold moment.

The ideas of knowing what information is important, of dealing with only that information, of not being lost on the ‘information superhighway’ (dumb metaphor) or swamped by an ‘information tsunami’ (equally dumb metaphor) are appealing in a sense that we can then take control of our own information needs. We can reflect on our location within the ‘information stream’ (yep, another silly metaphor) and understand what it is we actually need.

Published in: Education, Technology

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  • 1. Beyond Information Literacy Using Variation to determine Informational Thresholds Dr Alison Ruth Academic Curriculum Designer Faculty of Business, Economics and Law [email_address] Dr Jeannie Daniels Academic Language and Literacy Lecturer Curriculum Teaching and Learning Centre [email_address] Dr Luke Houghton Lecturer Information Systems and Management Griffith Business School [email_address]
  • 2. How do we get to informational thresholds?
    • Threshold concepts are said to be
    • transformative – they cause a ‘significant shift’
    • irreversible – they are likely to be irreversible
    • integrative – they show hidden intereconnections
    • bounded – they help to define conceptual boundaries
    • troublesome – they can cause trouble for the learner
  • 3. A threshold (like) concept
    • The following slides will take you through a threshold (like) concept. It embodies all the aspects of a threshold concept.
    • There are seven pieces of a puzzle. At a particular point, you will see an animal made of the other pieces.
    • Note the number on the slide when you ‘see’ one animal made up of the others.
  • 4. Placing number 1 1
  • 5. Introducing number 2 1
  • 6. 2 Placing number 2
  • 7. 3 Introducing number 3
  • 8. 3 Placing number 3
  • 9. 4 Introducing number 4
  • 10. 4 Placing number 4
  • 11. 5 Introducing number 5
  • 12. 5 Placing number 5
  • 13. 6 Introducing number 6
  • 14. 6 Placing number 6
  • 15. 7 Introducing number 7
  • 16. 7 Placing number 7
  • 17. 7 Transformative What you see has been transformed Irreversible When you look at the piece you can see bits of the animal Integrative You can see the way the animals interconnect Troublesome The beginnings can cause confusion (what was the animal?) Bounded In this case, the boundaries are the other animals
  • 18. Let us know
    • How many pieces did it take for you to see the animal?
    • Make a comment below!
  • 19. Variation
    • Variation in experiences in the comments
    • How many pieces does it take? (generally 3-6)
    • Implications for learning and teaching
    • What does it mean to teach people who took 3 pieces in the same room as people who take 6?
  • 20. Figure Ground How can we see faces and vase at the same time? (Answer: we can’t!)
  • 21. Information Literacy
    • How is this term defined?
    • But what does information literacy mean?
    • What are the implications for ‘information literacy’ if we know that people learn at different speeds and in different ways?
  • 22. Our Research
    • Where does information literacy come from?
    • How do we develop it?
    • What do we know?
    • Project information: http://shiftingsand.net