River Wide, River Deep: Libraries, Learners, and Transformative Literacy- Ifla 2014 Satellite Presention

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Slides with notes from my IFLA 2014 Limerick presentation on on transformative literacy.

Slides with notes from my IFLA 2014 Limerick presentation on on transformative literacy.

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  • A mindful approach to any activity has three characteristics the continuous creation of new categories openness to new information, and an implicit awareness of more than one perspective.

    Distinctions emerge and occur across the stage of inquiry
    New information and perspectives encountered during the process require valiadation

    Threshold concepts are a portals
    Opens up a new ways of thinking about something
    Transforms way of understanding and interpreting something needed to progress
    Transforms internal view of subject, landscape, or world view
    Transformation may be sudden or over a considerable time
    Transformation can prove troublesome.
    Transformation may represent how people ‘think’ in a discipline
    It can be argued that transformed understanding leads to a privileged or dominant view and therefore a contestable way of understanding something

  • The debate of student info skill began with commentary, years later a call still remains for empirical study, both positions grounded in strong beliefs from experience, professional focus, and later experiments arising in a number of disciplines, education, technology, information science, communications, media studies, psychology.

  • Bruner 1965 - Learning happens as a function of the activity, context and culture in which it occurs
    most often Incidental rather than deliberate.

    Extends beyond the academic world to include instances such as evidence and
    data collected by groups and individuals in communities and the public at large

    May also focus upon personal, professional, or societal needs, Primary sources, crowd sources

    Vehicle recall, my car, issues on my job related to safety, the responsibility of business to the public

    Differing perspectives across time, groups, and disciplines Hotel gone, flights higher, urban planning

    Formal Informal-Hotel Description/Hotel Reviews Description fine, but on given days maybe not desirable unless a fan

  • Learners showed trend to treat all tools universally as “search engines” without distinction in terminology, format, process, and underlying structure (Cordes, 2013).
    New way of thinking is open but need more understanding of structure and relationships, not all digitally equal, rapid change, make take time

    2. The database was significantly more useful for performing an academic task than the library catalog or Google, but Google easier to use overall (Cordes, 2014).
    Shows recognition of discipline related format, process, and difference between academic and everyday need, but not necessarily distinctions of context).

    3. Teams that supported interdependence, monitoring, backup and coordination shared and exchanged information better leading to better decisions and more positive feelings (Cordes, 2014).

    Process can influence the way people experience information used to solve problems, and how they feel about doing it collaboratively with a group.
    The method we use to facilitate the transformative process may be as important as the task, tool, or format.
  • The way we investigate is changing, in part from avenues for creating and discussing everyday and discipline related information, and the form this knowledge takes. Approaches to research leading to new knowledge creation vary by need, circumstance, and type of inquiry.

    Sea change brings new needed behaviors/dispositions

    Key behaviors- persistence, adaptability, and flexibility, and recognition that ambiguity can be beneficial.

    Key concept-Critical thinking supports learning when lack of familiarity with new methods and approaches requires additional effort.

    Chess was the greatest fun. We were made to play properly in chess, he was a master of this game - he couldn’t bear to do anything else; but for all the other games he had entirely new rules.
    Enid Stevens Shawner, Cohen, Morton N. Lewis Carroll - Interviews & recollections, 1989.

    Expertise/fluid/automatic novel becomes normal but must fit context

    Chess-Chess was the greatest fun. We were made to play properly in chess, he was a master of this game - he couldn’t bear to do anything else; but for all the other games he had entirely new rules.
    Enid Stevens Shawyer Cohen, Morton N. Lewis Carroll - Interviews & recollections, 1989.
  • Level of authority can vary with need,
    Context influences trust and belief (ie religion, political)
  • What should be examined? How closely? Convenience at the potential risk of incompleteness, the speed of information far greater than the ability/will of humans to be mindful.

    When is good enough, enough? Understand the problem and how to address it given need to find and apply information

    What is an authority? How does perspective differ between sources (connect the dots)? How does format (multiple), process (individual, collaborative) impact information work? Goals and the paths to reach them aren’t necessarily the same in the workplace as in academics?

    Engaging team members during research process
    Retrieving information using a variety of formats
    Finding patterns and making connections
    Exploring a topic thoroughly
  • Assignment Example-Urban Legends

    Ask-Do cryptids exist?
    Observed species report- 2009 19,232 species in just one year, including nearly 10,000 new types of insects.
    Discovered by a mix of professional scientists and amateur species hunters

    Investigate-Formal and informal resources, scholarly, commentary, formal and informal channels

    Create-a dossier of information from a broad spectrum of possible information Create individual perspective, look for distinctions in the commnetary/research of others

    Discuss-your finding, and those of others in online forums, with classmates and family, with professors

    Reflect-Revise or reaffirm perspective, seek new information, infer additional possibilities, or conclude inquiry

    Finding the Goat Sucker
    Choose from list of Cryptids on Wikipedia.
    Explore internet sources and web sources.
    Which give you background?
    Which provide evidence?
    Document 3 web and 3 library sources that support your case.
    Based on what you found, decide the likelihood your cryptid is real and rank using the criteria below.

    Unconfirmed – cryptids whose existence is alleged but not demonstrated.
    Disputed – cryptids that have a body of evidence against their existence.
    Proposed [animal name] – cryptids with an alternative explanation accepted by the general scientific community.
    Extinct – animals that are generally believed to be extinct, but which cryptozoologists believe may have an extant relict population.
    Confirmed [animal name or cause] – animals once classified as cryptids but whose existence has now been confirmed.
    Hoax – cryptids once thought to be real but later conclusively proven to be hoaxes.


    Markham Nolan-Managing editor of Storyful, now at Vocativ

    First news agency created specifically for the social media age
    Developed editorial processes & technology to enable organisations to discover, validate & deliver the most newsworthy social media content
  • High Need / Low Risk High Need / High Risk
    Live in town, but not close to area In area, aware of incident, affected, at risk of harm

    Low Need / High Risk Low Need / Low Risk
    Person waling in area, unaware, in danger Distant friend, little concern for them, also live in Hali recall on car safe area

    Need-Location, risk, timely
    Context-critical, authority may be formal (police), and informal (citizens).
  • Summarize: Main points, topic
    Assess: Is it a useful how, what is the goal of this source, how does it compare with other sources? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased?
    Reflect: Fit with research. How does it help solve problem? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use it?

    ONE to ONE FORMAT/PERSPECTIVE covers traditional ideas of finding, using, evaluating, citing, including publication process.

    MANY to MANY FORMAT,/PERSPECTIVE comparison between content, format, and commentary of others
  • Traditional information literacy applies to both academics and personal endeavors, although the tools, tactics and times will change

    There may be no one right answer, but there is often a best answer for a given situation

    In a rapidly changing information world the key to survival is to question, evaluate, and question again

    Knowing what you need, why you need it and where you can get it can mean the difference between success and failure.


  • 1. RIVER WIDE, RIVER DEEP: LIBRARIES, LEARNERS, AND TRANSFORMATIVE LITERACY Sean Cordes Associate Professor Western Illinois University United States Teaching students to draw distinctions sets the stage for creating new categories, being open to new information, and being aware of different perspectives. Distinctions reveal that the material is situated in a context and imply that other contexts may be considered. Ellen Langer
  • 2. A STARTING POINT Students today think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors, as a result of being surrounded by new technology (Prensky, 2001). The actual situation is far from clear. A more measured and disinterested approach is now required to investigate ‘digital natives’ and their implications for education (Bennett, Maton, & Kervin, 2008). Quest of inquiry and authority is often open, unresolved, critical, personal, professional, social, and strives for meaning and structure
  • 3.  Research is iterative  Focus on open, unresolved problems  Problems can be personal or academic  Evidence can be formal or informal  Often includes differing perspectives across time, groups, and disciplines  Builds on existing knowledge, leads to greater ability, understanding and skill RESEARCH AND THE SPIRAL OF INQUIRY Ask Investigate CreateDiscuss Reflect
  • 4. SIGNS AND PORTENTS  When building web sites students had challenges using both traditional and web based search tools, especially social networks (Delicious, YouTube, Flickr) (Cordes, 2013).  Comparing the library catalog, database, and search engine students felt the database more useful for performing academic tasks than the catalog or Google, but found Google easier to use overall (Cordes, 2014).  In a collaborative decision task, teams using a discussion process that supported member interdependence made better decisions and had more positive feelings about the work climate and procedures (Cordes, 2014).
  • 5. A BROAD SPECTRUM OF INVESTIGATION More meaningful ways for finding, filtering and engaging information to meet variety of needs and topics are emerging… Rich, broad, timely, dynamic Deep, vetted, built on fundamentals Specific, focused, validated by peers, innovative, builds case, extendable Timely, informal, informative, conversational
  • 6.  What is the relationship between need and authority? Authority and context?  Who/what is an authority? How does format fit?  What sources should be examined? How closely?  How good is good enough?  How does perspective differ between sources?  How does perspective change over time?  What is our responsibility toward the truth? AUTHORITY IS CONTEXTUAL AND CONSTRUCTED
  • 7. CONTEXT IS (NOW) KING  [Context]is a key to understanding how students operationalize and prioritize their course-related and everyday life research activities… students consistently referred to “finding context,” in one form or another, as the most laborious, yet requisite, part of the research process (Head & Eisenberg, 2009)  Nearly all students intentionally make use of a small compass for traversing the ever-widening and complex information landscape they inhabit, whether they are finding information for course work or for use in their daily lives (Head & Eisenberg, 2010)  A study of 33 graduates in 23 companies found that new workers used traditional college information skills, but workers and employers both felt the need for them to adapt to business research practices, especially working with a variety of sources, including traditional sources and collaborative settings (Head, et al., 2013)
  • 8. STEPPING THROUGH THE LENS OF INQUIRY Web Dictionaries and Encyclopedias Broadcast News Books and Journals Blog Commentary Government Web Sites Tracking the Goat Sucker
  • 9. NEW (?) APPROACH TO CRITICALITY “Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him.” Ernest Hemingway “You have to think like a detective.” John McManus “Triangulation is what detectives do – try to find three different ways to test a source’s credibility. ” Howard Rheingold Some (new) tools to build authority… • Verify credentials (Google/Scholar) • Check for web ownership on WhoIs.com • Use the Scholarly Productivity Index • Check for bookmarks on Diigo or Delicious • Verify content using FactCheck.org
  • 10. MARKHAM NOLAN-CONTEXTUAL DETECTIVE Found 2 people with that name in two states. Only rain in one state that day. Florida. Found YouTube Video of thunderstorm for potential story. Is it credible? Used Google Maps to verify location by cross referencing clues Search username with free people search tool TEDSalon 2012, http://goo.gl/4udioq
  • 11. CONSTRUCTING MEANING THROUGH COLLABORATION To clarify the details, someone posted a link to the live Police Scanner to Facebook! Citizens reported first and help narrow down the location… Police provided a warning with their own Facebook post. From this information, Google maps helped us plot the danger path The next day the press (briefly) reported the event.
  • 12. TASKS AND TASKS FOR TRANSFORMATION Constructing Collaboratively with Diigo  Teams contribute content to a shared library  Peers review contributions of others for credibility, quality, fit  Members integrate their findings in a mutual space  Teams negotiate meaning through comparison with peer commentary Diigo is a multi-tool for personal knowledge management dramatically improve your workflow and productivity
  • 13. 5 THINGS I WANT MY KIDS (AND COLLEAGUES) TO KNOW  Build future skills on the knowledge of the past  There is often more than one way to skin a cat  The truth can come in many colors  Skeptical is safe (if there is such a thing)  All information has value, depending on what your buying
  • 14. QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?  Cs-cordes@wiu.edu