Info Literacy Vs Oral Traditions In Kazakhstan


Published on

Part of a 45 minute paper I presented in Denver, CO for the international TESOL conference March 2009. I welcome your comments, feedback or questions.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Info Literacy Vs Oral Traditions In Kazakhstan

  1. 1. InfoLiteracy vs. Oral Traditions Learning Approach in Kazakhstan By Kristina Gray April 7, 2010 Astana, Kazakhstan
  2. 2. Central Asian proverb <ul><li>“ Getting education is like digging a well with a needle” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Purpose… <ul><li>to define terms related to the digital age and understand how oral traditions in Kazakhstan may be in conflict to information literacy </li></ul><ul><li>to show the necessity for secondary teachers to know the importance of information literacy in Central Asia </li></ul><ul><li>to share the impact information literacy has already had on education and ultimately on the process of nation building in Kazakhstan. </li></ul>
  4. 4. As a western teacher I try to get my Kazakh students to: <ul><li>Listen to their oral histories and write the stories they hear in English, </li></ul><ul><li>Go outside the Soviet “box” to search out the wealth of electronic journals related to the particular era or topic they heard from their grandparents. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Discussion Question #1 <ul><li>Do I, as a western teacher, actually help the Kazakh to reclaim their oral culture by promoting a new kind of literacy of looking to the Internet and the electronic databases in English to find legitimate, peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Discussion Question #2 <ul><li>“ Do all my fellow Kazakh teachers who are not computer literate buy into this new medium of education?” Why or why not? </li></ul>
  7. 7. As a Western teacher… <ul><li>I consistently use e-mail with my students and am available to them 24/7, I also use blogs to display their writing, and by the end of the semester they each do a power point to present their research. </li></ul><ul><li>I try to encourage Kazakh students to learn electronic databases, e-journals and other useful websites that make writing in English much easier. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Teaching goals <ul><li>As teachers, whether western or Kazakh, we need to recognize that we are trying to engage students in self-directed study utilizing information literacy. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Dr. Aleksandr Luria’s work <ul><li>In 1931-32, Dr. Aleksandr Romanovich Luria did some field work among the oral cultures of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan as a neuropsychologist. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Ong’s “Great Divide” <ul><li>Back in the early 1980s, Walter Ong wrote about the “Great Divide” (Cummings, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Now in the 21st century we are experiencing the “Digital Divide.” Many of my fellow Kazakh teachers were taught how to be teachers at Soviet pedagogical universities. (Hargittai, 2006) </li></ul>
  11. 11. “ Digital Native and Digital Immigrants” (Prensky, 2001) <ul><li>Digital natives – “They are all native speakers of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.” </li></ul><ul><li>Digital immigrants - “speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.” </li></ul>
  12. 12. Digitial Divide <ul><li>Digital Natives - accustomed to receiving information very quickly, they like to parallel process and multi-task. </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Immigrants - prefer to teach the way they learned, “slowly, step-by-step, one thing as a time, individually and above all, seriously.” (Long, 2005) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Method <ul><li>Helped my teaching colleagues in Computer Lab in library with about 500 first year students in an academic writing class </li></ul><ul><li>Led several Teacher-Researcher workshop </li></ul><ul><li>3-day “Virtual Classroom” seminar for teachers </li></ul>
  14. 14. Digital Inequality <ul><li>“ Refuseniks” – those teachers who are fearful or refuse to learn the computer (Klecun, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Student asked - “Why are we as students required to take computer courses while our Kazakh teachers do not need to know or learn computer skills?” </li></ul>
  15. 15. Digital Divide <ul><li>Some teachers - Digital Illiterates </li></ul><ul><li>Students – critical consumers </li></ul><ul><li>(Kanwal & Gorman, 2009) </li></ul>
  16. 17. Findings – students’ comments <ul><li>N.P. “Digital inequality in Kazakhstani societies is one of the important problems for older generation…The seriousness of this problem mostly is reflected in the teacher-student relations. For instance, even at our university, the most modernized university in Kazakhstan, there are some difficulties among the teachers who are above 50 years old. Because they are digital immigrants in IT, on the contrary, students are born with ‘computers in their hands.’” </li></ul>
  17. 18. <ul><li>Y.K. “Computers is a part of our life, we cannot live without it. I totally support this idea about “Digital Natives” and “Digital Immigrants.” Our president [Nazarbayev] sees that Kazakhstan, having almost all culture is oral tradition, has difficulties with transferring to the “Digital World.” </li></ul>
  18. 19. <ul><li>Z.B. “Nowadays, we have some problems with teaching, not all the teachers want to use computers or have computer skills. That is why first of all, we have to change teaching strategies in schools because everything begins from school.” </li></ul>
  19. 20. <ul><li>A.K. “I think our schools should give all this technological knowledge because technology is the future and WE ARE THE FUTURE!... Not only children and teenagers should learn computer skills as our President [Nazarbayev] said but I think adults should learn computer literacy, because they teach us, but if they don’t know, how will the new generation develop in this sphere?” </li></ul>
  20. 21. <ul><li>R.S. “From my own experience, I can tell when speaking about digital technology with my parents is rather difficult because they basically don’t understand a word of my sayings. Sometimes it makes me annoyed to explain the same things about how to use this and that over and over again for hundred times.” </li></ul>
  21. 22. <ul><li>M.K. “I think that our schools should change the methods of teaching to newer ones using more technologies, rather than just oral method we used before. There are much more possibilities for that nowadays than there were even 5-10 years ago. We can use Powerpoints, Moviemaker, Excel, Photoshop and other things on the Internet.” </li></ul>
  22. 23. <ul><li>S.O. “The literacy of ancient Kazakhs is oral, but only few is written. Nowadays everything has changed. Everyone started to use computers, Internet. But there are some people who don’t know how to use the computers. Next generation, our little brothers and sisters will live in a more improved and developed world.” </li></ul>
  23. 24. Mazrui and Mazrui (2001) <ul><li>“ The digital divide may give way to digital democracy…Distribution of real power in the world is not based on “who owns what” but on “who knows what.” It has not been the power of property but the power of skill that has been the ultimate international arbiter.” </li></ul>
  24. 25. Kazakhstan’s present reality <ul><li>If only some of our hardworking, stronger Kazakh teachers, who have crossed over the “digital divide” by trying to KNOW how to use information literacy, were rewarded with better positions in our Language Center. </li></ul><ul><li>But some teachers hired depending on “who they know” and not on “what they know” regarding information literacy. (Ameen & Gorman, 2009) </li></ul>
  25. 26. Business Model for our Language Center (Lee, 1986) <ul><li>Define the problem: some Kazakh teachers do not feel the need to cross the digital divide and learn the language of their “digital native” students. </li></ul><ul><li>Even though one is not to make value judgments when seeking to eradicate a problem in a business, there are deeply entrenched teacher-centered, Soviet style teachers who unwittingly oppose learning that goes on independently with information literacy. </li></ul>
  26. 27. Business Model (cont.) <ul><li>3) Isolate the problem, those teachers who are not aware of their being the root cause of the problem, need to recognize how they are complicating their students’ future success in a globalized world. </li></ul><ul><li>4) That is perhaps why western teachers and other foreigners are brought in to help meet western accreditation process; there is the high goal to meet the standards of western accreditation. </li></ul>
  27. 28. Struggle of Digital Divide Continues <ul><li>the process of accreditation continues to be a struggle but it may just be the outside force that is needed. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Bottom-up” approach from the students’ groundswell of expertise that will eventually change education and ultimately change Kazakh society. </li></ul>
  28. 29. “ Virtual Classroom” Comments <ul><li>Yulia “Choosing the job of the teacher, the person “signs the contract” to be an eternal student, so if you want to be on the same wavelength with a new generation, the teachers have to get the latest knowledge. Today, the applied (or probably basic) skills and knowledge of any subject is instructional technology. WANT TO BE A CONTEMPORARY PROFESSIONAL? PRACTICE COMPUTER! </li></ul>
  29. 30. Belong to students’ reality <ul><li>“ Why is learning more on computers important? It is an essential tool for all spheres of human life, and more precisely for teaching: wider scope of resources, many ways of improving certain skills, accelerates processes, time-saving, etc. etc. I also see it is important that students see I handle this tool, nowadays it is essential in any professional sphere. It also creates empathy: they see you are updated, belonging to their reality.” </li></ul>
  30. 31. Obliged to not fall behind <ul><li>It is obligatory for us to be not behind the time and the time demands from us to be information literate. And so computers can lead us further and help to keep pace with the development. I’m sure that learning more on computers will be important for my future students, because computers, especially Internet, can make a great contribution into long, amazing and challenging processes of learning and IT can make this process really exciting.” </li></ul>
  31. 32. Proud of students in future <ul><li>“ The more students know about computers, the higher their points are, consequently, after graduation, the larger their contribution into the Kazakhstani economy is, as a result, the more proud of them I will be…” </li></ul>
  32. 33. Conclusion - Solutions <ul><li>Kazakh students, as “digital natives” take naturally to the computer, they used electronic journals and learned to footnote and reference successfully. If required to do a paper for the West, they will not be ashamed. </li></ul><ul><li>Kazakh teachers should be better equipped to know how to teach their students how to use information literacy before the students learn it on their own. Teacher training and workshops for secondary teachers are a must at our university to help build confidence. Smart teachers produce smarter students. </li></ul>
  33. 34. References <ul><li>Ameen, K. & Gorman, G. E. (2009). Information and digital literacy: a stumbling block to development?: A Pakistan perspective. Library Management , 30 (1/2), 99-112. </li></ul><ul><li>Cummings, W. (2003). Rethinking the imbrication of orality and literacy: Historical discourse in early modern Makassar. The Journal of Asian Studies , 62 (2), 531-551. </li></ul><ul><li>Hargittai, E. (2006). Hurdles to information seeking: Spelling and typographical mistakes during users' online behavior. Journal of the Association for Information Systems , 7 (1), 52-67. </li></ul><ul><li>Klecun, E. (2008). Bringing lost sheep into the fold: Questioning the discourse of the digital divide. Information Technology and People , 21 (3), 267-282. </li></ul>
  34. 35. References (cont.) <ul><li>Lee, J. A. (1986). Cultural analysis in overseas operations. The International Executive , 8 (3), 5-6. </li></ul><ul><li>Long, S. A. (2005). What's new in libraries? Digital natives: If you aren't one, get to know one. New Library World , 106 (3/4), 187-189. </li></ul><ul><li>Mazrui, A. & Mazrui, A. (2001). The digital revolution and the new reformation: Doctrine and gender in Islam. Harvard International Review , 23 (1), 52-55. </li></ul><ul><li>Ong, W. (1982). Orality and literacy: The technologizing of the word. New York: Routledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, NCB University Press , 9(5). </li></ul>