Developing and running a National Information Literacy Community of Practice on a shoestring - Christine Irving

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Developing and running a National Information Literacy Community of Practice on a shoestring - Christine Irving

  1. 1. Information skills for a 21st Century Scotland www.therightinformation.org/ The Scottish Information Literacy Community of Practice Developing and running a National Information Literacy Community of Practice on a shoestring Christine Irving Community of Practice Founding Member Former SILP Project Officer Freelance Information Professional Research Fellow Edinburgh Napier University LILAC 2014 Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Thursday 24thth April 2014
  2. 2. Developing and running a National Information Literacy Community of Practice on a shoestring 1. What is a Community of Practice? a. Definition & crucial characteristics 2. Building and developing a Community of Practice a. Why create a Community of Practice? b. Challenges c. How we did it - online presence, content, launch, work in progress, request for help 3. Engagement and participation a. Engagement and participation - not just a website 4. The practice a. Achievements - shared practice, engagement b. What has worked, what hasn’t c. Lessons learned d. Challenges
  3. 3. What is a Community of Practice? Communities of practice have become a common term but: – What is a 'community of practice' (CoP) – How can we participate and engage in them – How can we use them as an approach to knowing and learning? Communities of Practice are “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”. Etienne Wenger, 2006
  4. 4. What is a Community of Practice? – crucial characteristics Wenger identifies that there are three characteristic which are crucial to a community of practice: 1. The domain. 'A community of practice is not merely a club of friends or a network of connections between people. It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain membership.‘ 2. The community. 'In pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. A website in itself is not a community of practice.' 3. The practice. 'A community of practice is not merely a community of interest. Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems - in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction.‘ ' It is the combination of these three elements that constitute a community of practice. And it is by developing these three elements in parallel that one cultivates such a community.' Wenger (2006)
  5. 5. Building a Community of Practice Why create a Community of Practice? Because: • The Scottish Information Literacy Project and the funding ended March 2010 • It was important not to loose all the valuable work the Scottish Information Literacy Project and it’s partners did, achieved and • to continue the work …
  6. 6. Building a Community of Practice Challenges : • No funding • Needed a new home / online presence for past and future activities However there was already a community … The SILP partners … - we needed to harness the goodwill and willingness to continue with IL work amongst them plus anyone else who was interested …
  7. 7. Building a Community of Practice How? After over a year of talking we had a new: • Home / url www.therightinformation.org/ hosted by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) • Name – Information skills for a 21st Century Scotland Next challenge was to create a new online presence for future and past activities: • A Community of Practice and future activities • Past activities – valuable archive of material built up over several years: – Scottish Information Literacy Framework - a national overarching framework of information literacy skills and competencies which all sectors of education can recognize and develop or which can be applied to the world of work, equipping learners with skills needed for the 21st century. – information about the Scottish Information Literacy Project – project blog.
  8. 8. Building a Community of Practice Content: www.therightinformation.org/ Community of Practice • Discussion Board • Definition of what a Community of Practice was Framework What is information literacy? • definitions, frameworks, information literacy and lifelong learning, information literacy and education • Literacies that are associated with or are required to be used in conjunction with information literacy e.g. critical literacy, digital literacy, media literacy – definitions given Also … • Members - sign up and log in • Archive – Scottish Information Literacy project (SILIP) • Blog roll – Library and Information Literacy Websites – Education, Learning and Development
  9. 9. Building a Community of Practice Information Skills for a 21st century Scotland. www.therightinformation.org/ Launched 11th June 2012 @ CILIPS Annual Conference in Dundee Hosted by Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) Work in progress / more to do … Not just a website …
  10. 10. Engagement and participation Not just a website … at the launch invitation given to everyone interested in information literacy and associated skills and competencies (individuals and groups across the LIS sectors/community) to come and join the community, engage and participate … To: • Act as facilitators for their sector • Share practice • Contribute to the communities’ knowledge of information literacy: – Activities – case studies – News – conferences and events – new research • Become involved / engage in information literacy: – Advocacy – Strategies – Projects, proposals
  11. 11. Engagement and participation First meeting with recruited community sector members / facilitators / activists. Main areas of interest identified: • Developing core IL skills in FE; • Assessing the impact of IL training; • Advocacy for IL; • Instructing teachers in IL, • IL as an employability skill; • IL toolkits for young people; • Teaching IL skills in public libraries; • Links between schools and public libraries, • Use of electronic IL resources in public libraries; • Online training packages in HE (short demo of SMILE); • Workplace IL skills social media; training materials for teachers. • NLS the Toolkit being developed - looking for partners to work with in the different sectors on the toolkit. • Identify training and CPD needs We now have bi annual face to face meetings with community sector members / facilitators / activists. Meeting minutes are posted on the blog.
  12. 12. The practice - Achievements: Membership grown – 106 members (includes 4 editors and 9 bloggers) at 2nd April 2014 Additional features added - community blog, events list, RSS feed, search box, new banner & colours Sharing practice: • Dundee College's Literacy Information Skills Project • SMILE - a free information literacy resource Co-ordination and synergy of activities, strategies, developments, advocacy, engagement , promotions etc. examples include • National Library's new information literacy resource ‘Project Blaster’ toolkit for producing projects aimed at Primary 6/7 children and their children – community members involved in development of toolkit • Royal Society of Edinburgh digital participation enquiry individual members and CoP responded, call to arms re interim report Response to the RSE Enquiry into Digital Participation
  13. 13. Information skills for a 21st Century Scotland www.therightinformation.org/ What has worked • Face to face meetings • Co-ordination and synergy of activities, strategies, developments, advocacy, engagement, promotions etc. • Blog postings – regular postings followed by Tweets (Twitter followers increased) What hasn’t • Wider member engagement • Members reluctant to blog or comment on blog postings • Framework update – plan was to – continue to develop the current version – updating it to incorporate new research, adding case studies, and so on … – use and promote the framework
  14. 14. The practice - lessons learned: The lessons learned from the Scottish Information Literacy Project are applicable to the Community of Practice:  Partnerships and networking is crucial using both personal and professional contacts  Work cross sector and not just with librarians and information specialists  Identify organisations to work with that have an interest in information literacy / shared outcomes.  Offer support to practitioners. Support at policy levels informs the development of good practice at institutional level which can be fed back to further policy development, thus creating a virtuous circle. This is particularly helpful to small organisations or solo operators like school librarians  Have meetings and involve people. Encourage reporting on activities by activists. Thus gives activists an opportunity to present their ideas and receive comments and constructive criticism. Outcomes can them be fed into policy making  Encourage writing and reporting so that others both within the country and abroad can be aware of your work and learn from it and comment on it  The development of learning material content should be an outcome of policy thinking but must be cross sectoral and should not simply be higher education material ‘bolted’ on to another context such as workplace information literacy skills development. The role of project partners is essential in developing materials and exemplars of good practice
  15. 15. The practice - lessons learned: A Community of Practice should not be seen as a cheap option, it is funded not with money but with members, freely giving their time and commitment. Wenger’s three characteristic are crucial to a community of practice: Domain  Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain membership The Community of Practice needs commitment from its membership for anything to happen. Some members more committed than others. The community  Members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. The above is happening through the bi-annual face to face meetings where relationships are made. No evidence of it happening between the rest of the membership. The practice  Takes time and sustained interaction A Community of Practice runs on relationships, commitment, the generosity of peoples time and sustained interaction.
  16. 16. Information skills for a 21st Century Scotland www.therightinformation.org Thank you Christine Irving christine.irving8@gmail.com C.Irving@napier.ac.uk

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