Teaching The New Literacy
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Teaching The New Literacy

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Presentation for the 2010 Virtual Academic Library Environment (VALE) Annual Conference. Discusses the issues in teaching information literacy to this new generation of college students.

Presentation for the 2010 Virtual Academic Library Environment (VALE) Annual Conference. Discusses the issues in teaching information literacy to this new generation of college students.

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Teaching The New Literacy Teaching The New Literacy Presentation Transcript

  • Teaching the New Literacy David McMillan, Caldwell College Valerie Forrestal, Stevens Institute of Technology VALE Annual Conference – 1.8.10
  • The Problem:
    • Beyond traditional issues faced by libraries instituting an information literacy program, (lack of student engagement, institutional buy-in, faculty indifference…) a new breed of student calls for innovation in pedagogy.
  • The Problem, cont.
    • There is “a widening gap between children’s everyday ‘life worlds’ outside of school and the emphasis of many educational systems” (David Buckingham, Beyond Technology: Children’s Learning in the Age of Digital Culture )
  • The Opportunity:
    • This new kind of student presents a problem not only for librarians, but for all educators
    • This presents an opportunity for us to look outside the library world to research being done across the fields of education, technology and communication
    • This is also a great time for librarians to seek partnerships and cooperation with faculty and administrators, who are also dealing with these issues
    • We can place ourselves at the core of this movement in our communities, building library services and resources into this new educational framework
  • Key Readings:
    • Hanging Out, Messing around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (Ito, et. al., 2009)
    • How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age (Head and Eisenberg, Dec. 2009)
    • The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology (Smith, Salaway and Caruso, Oct. 2009)
  • Findings:
    • Students view academic research as a competency learned by rote
    • Librarians are still tremendously under-utilized by students (80% said they rarely, if ever, consulted one)
    • Students do, however, use library resources (90% reported having used their library’s research databases)
    • Students view their instructors, not librarians, as their research coaches
    • Heavy course-loads have led students to value efficiency over quality in their research (i.e. they’re not being lazy, they’re capable of formulating complex information-seeking strategies, these strategies focus on efficiency though.)
  • Findings, cont.
    • We need to integrate web resources into our teaching, not shun them
    • Vice versa, we need to place library resources (i.e. proprietary databases) into context with students’ regular info-gathering resources – just add to their “toolkit”
    • We need to spend more time training professors so they can pass that knowledge on to the students
    • Librarians need to analyze how and why students use library services, not just how often , and focus on developing services that reach the largest audience
    • Make self-directed and student-initialized help available at their convenience (i.e. online guides and tutorials, specialized pathfinders, videos and podcasts)
  • Analysis:
    • Remember, students value efficiency in research, so if you can show them how much time it will save them searching in a full-text scholarly database, vs. sorting through Google results, they are very likely to use it
    • We need to keep an open mind about emerging technologies, and how they can be integrated into our teaching
    • Social media presents an opportunity for us to extend our pedagogy beyond our allotted class-time
  • Analysis, cont.
    • Classes need to be more interactive, and provide an opportunities for students to help each other learn (participatory learning)
    • Allow students the opportunity to help build a socially-constructed knowledge-base
    • Expanding online networks create an opportunity for viral information and knowledge sharing. Facilitate this by having online components/versions of as much of what the library offers as possible (enables students to revisit/share/comment on content)
    • This presentation can be found online @
    • http://icanhaz.com/ttnl
    Presenters' contact info: Valerie Forrestal - valerie.forrestal@stevens.edu | vforrestal.info David McMillan - DLMcMillan@caldwell.edu