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RIVER WIDE, RIVER DEEP: LIBRARIES, LEARNERS,
AND TRANSFORMATIVE LITERACY
Western Illinois University
Teaching students to draw distinctions sets the
stage for creating new categories, being open to
new information, and being aware of different
Distinctions reveal that the material is situated in a
context and imply that other contexts may be
A STARTING POINT
Students today think and
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, &
Quest of inquiry and authority is often open, unresolved, critical,
personal, professional, social, and strives for meaning and structure
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
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).
A BROAD SPECTRUM OF INVESTIGATION
More meaningful ways for finding,
filtering and engaging information to
meet variety of needs and topics are
Rich, broad, timely, dynamic
Deep, vetted, built
Specific, focused, validated
by peers, innovative, builds
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
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,
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)
STEPPING THROUGH THE LENS OF INQUIRY
Web Dictionaries and
Encyclopedias Broadcast News
Books and Journals
Government Web Sites
Tracking the Goat Sucker
NEW (?) APPROACH TO CRITICALITY
“Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector
operating inside him.”
“You have to think like a detective.”
“Triangulation is what detectives do – try to find three different
ways to test a source’s credibility. ”
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
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
with free people
TEDSalon 2012, http://goo.gl/4udioq
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
TASKS AND TASKS FOR TRANSFORMATION
Teams contribute content to a
Peers review contributions of
others for credibility, quality, fit
Members integrate their findings
in a mutual space
Teams negotiate meaning
through comparison with peer
Diigo is a multi-tool for personal
dramatically improve your
workflow and productivity
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