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Information Literacy and Participatory Media

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Versions of this talk were presented at University of Michigan, Syracuse, Drexel, University of Texas, Northwestern, and University of Pennsylvania

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Information Literacy and Participatory Media

  1. 1. Learning in Public: Information Literacy and New Social Technologies in Schools Andrea Forte College of Information Science and Technology Drexel University
  2. 2. If you wanted to find information about environmental issues, what would you do?
  3. 3. “Oh, well, I’ll probably look at government sites first. ‘Cause I know I can trust those…” – Anne, high school junior
  4. 4. “Oh, well, I’ll probably look at government sites first. ‘Cause I know I can trust those… ...anybody can write on google, not anyone can write on government sites.” – Anne, high school junior
  5. 5. Information Literacy
  6. 6. Overview Information literacy Wikipedia New publishing model Informal learning environment Wiki in the classroom Designing new tools How wiki publishing can support information literacy skills and writing-to-learn in classrooms Penn, August 2, 2010
  7. 7. Information Literacy Reading Finding and interpreting messages from advertisers, government agencies, educational institutions and other sources Writing Using information to participate in the construction of new resources and new knowledge American Association of School Librarians 1998; Association of College and Research Libraries 2000; Buckingham 2003; Eisenberg 2008; Flanagan and Meztger 2007; Flower 1994; Rieh and Hilligoss 2008; Agosto 2002; Bilal 2000 & 2001; Kafai and Bates 1997 Penn, August 2, 2010
  8. 8. Information Literacy and User-Generated Confusion New social technologies mean new forms of information production, new publishing models and new access models… Penn, August 2, 2010
  9. 9. “Algorithmic Authority” and “Disintermediation” “people trust new classes of aggregators and filters, whether Google or Twitter or Wikipedia” -Clay Shirky, 2009 Penn, August 2, 2010
  10. 10. Wikipedia Penn, August 2, 2010
  11. 11. Wikipedia Penn, August 2, 2010
  12. 12. Wikipedia How can this possibly work? Penn, August 2, 2010
  13. 13. “The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work.” – New York Times, 2007 Penn, August 2, 2010
  14. 14. Contributions Wikipedia Studies, 2004-present Wikipedia as a community—joining is a process of legitimate peripheral participation (Bryant, Forte, & Bruckman 2005) Wikipedia governance—it has highly refined policies, social norms, technical infrastructure that support decentralized quality control processes (Forte & Bruckman 2008) Wikipedia as a learning environment—content is agreed upon through consensus building discussions that include features of knowledge building discourse. (Forte & Bruckman 2006) Penn, August 2, 2010
  15. 15. Contributions Wikipedia Studies, 2004-present Wikipedia as a community—joining is a process of legitimate peripheral participation (Bryant, Forte, & Bruckman 2005) Wikipedia governance—it has highly refined policies, social norms, technical infrastructure that support decentralized quality control processes (Forte & Bruckman 2008) Wikipedia as a learning environment—content is agreed upon through consensus building discussions that include features of knowledge building discourse. (Forte & Bruckman 2006) Penn, August 2, 2010
  16. 16. Wikipedia as a Learning Environment Talk pages support discussion and consensus building Assertion Challenge Support Resolution Information literacy is an important aspect of participating in discussions about Wikipedia content: “How do we know this?” Penn, August 2, 2010
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  20. 20. “The process is really messy. It means there’s a lot of conflict—some interpersonal conflicts, some conflicts over content, a lot of conflict over emphasis. But in the process it means that people are exposed to ideas and information and perspectives that they wouldn’t be otherwise.” – Allison (Wikipedian) Penn, August 2, 2010
  21. 21. Wikipedia as a Learning Environment Knowledge Building Discourse (Scardamalia & Bereiter) Based on sociology of science (Latour and Woolgar) Messy, cyclical, often emotional process of making claims, peer-review, publication Students as producers of knowledge CSILE, Knowledge Forum “Second-order learning environment” where each person builds on the contributions of peers Wikipedia discourse includes features of knowledge building discourse Penn, August 2, 2010
  22. 22. “I look up and read books about the subject and I’ll look something up. It’s not that I’m doing all of this in order to develop an encyclopedia, although I am, it’s more that I’m doing this because I want to learn and you have to learn in order to contribute knowledgeably to Wikipedia.” – Chris (Wikipedian) Penn, August 2, 2010
  23. 23. Learning and Wikipedia Reflecting on information, nature of knowledge In the process of writing, Wikipedians reflect on How they know what they know How well accepted different theories and ideas are What constitutes a reliable information source How an article should be written to educate readers Learning content Wikipedia is a motivating context for writing-to-learn Penn, August 2, 2010
  24. 24. Create opportunities for Wikipedian-like reflection and learning in formal education Penn, August 2, 2010
  25. 25. Create opportunities for Wikipedian-like reflection and learning in formal education Classrooms are not online communities, they’re different. Penn, August 2, 2010
  26. 26. New Wiki Tools for Classrooms Pilot study, 2005 (n=42) Undergrad American government class in which students published resource about policy Q. How does publishing for a real audience affect students’ writing and use of information sources? Q. What are the design and research challenges associated with using wikis to support information literacy skills in the classroom? Data and Analysis Analysis of revision histories In-depth interviews Penn, August 2, 2010
  27. 27. Pilot Study Students did not perceive the resource as public (Forte & Bruckman 2006) Local audience of peers affected argumentation and use of information sources “[Someone] mentioned something about one of my sources having a liberal bias… I cited an ABC article, which quoted a Pentagon official. So instead, I could never find the Pentagon quote, but I went to a Supreme Court document that cited the same thing so I could have a less biased quotation.” – Jeff (Undergraduate Student) Penn, August 2, 2010
  28. 28. Pilot Study Design Guidelines Classroom wiki needs to: Support citation Support social relationships in classrooms Make it easy to find peers’, students’ work but also protect student privacy Used open source MediaWiki as infrastructure and built new features to support classroom use Penn, August 2, 2010
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  47. 47. Classroom Studies Q. How do students write and reason about information when contributing to an information resource for others? Q. What role do the wiki tools play in supporting and influencing their writing and information use? Penn, August 2, 2010
  48. 48. Two Iterations of Design and Fieldwork Collecting process data Iteration I (n=19) 8 months (Sept 06 – May 07) Two advanced placement environmental science classes; highly-ranked public school Teacher former scientist, wiki enthusiast 47 observation days; 21 interviews; wiki history; pre-post DBQs (incomplete data) Iteration II (n=14) 3 months (Feb – May 08) Honors biochemistry class; private school Teacher former scientist 6 observation days; 36 interviews; wiki history; pre-post DBQs Penn, August 2, 2010
  49. 49. Studies – Analyzing Process Data Interviews Unstructured; semi-structured; structured Findings from interview data Grounded Theory (Glaser and Strauss 1967; Strauss and Corbin 1987) Inductive approach to building explanations of phenomena Iteration I yielded data about what students did Iteration II yielded denser data about how and why they did it Penn, August 2, 2010
  50. 50. Findings Assessing Information Students paid attention to non-traditional features of new media; used their publication experiences to reflect on characteristics of other information resources (Study I & II) Value of Citation Publication changed the meaning of citation in schoolwork (Study II) Content Engagement Publication encouraged metacognitive engagement with content (Study II) Affordances for Learning Wiki as a medium has features that support processes of learning in communities (Study II) Penn, August 2, 2010
  51. 51. Students’ Assessment Strategies Assessing Information Value of Citation Suggest New Heuristics Content Engagement Affordances for Learning • “had what I was looking for” • based on Google page rank Utility/Relevance • based on URL name (not suffix) • presentation/readability • media was licensed for reuse Based on Content • subjective assesment/prior knowledge • cited other sources • consistency with other sources Based on conditions of production Credibility • authorial credentials • expert review • publisher/publication type • role of publication in science • activitsm/political agenda • number of editors/potential reviewers Access • ease of obtaining material • teacher-directed source use Following Rules • familiarity with school/other rules Penn, August 2, 2010
  52. 52. Students’ Assessment Strategies Assessing Information Value of Citation Suggest New Heuristics Content Engagement Affordances for Learning • “had what I was looking for” • based on Google page rank Utility/Relevance • based on URL name (not suffix) • presentation/readability • media was licensed for reuse Based on Content • subjective assesment/prior knowledge • cited other sources • consistency with other sources Based on conditions of production Credibility • authorial credentials • expert review • publisher/publication type • role of publication in science • activitsm/political agenda • number of editors/potential reviewers Access • ease of obtaining material • teacher-directed source use Following Rules • familiarity with school/other rules Penn, August 2, 2010
  53. 53. Students’ Assessment Strategies Assessing Information Value of Citation Suggest New Heuristics Content Engagement Affordances for Learning • “had what I was looking for” • based on Google page rank Utility/Relevance • based on URL name (not suffix) • presentation/readability • media was licensed for reuse Based on Content • subjective assesment/prior knowledge • cited other sources • consistency with other sources Based on conditions of production Credibility • authorial credentials • expert review • publisher/publication type • role of publication in science • activitsm/political agenda • number of editors/potential reviewers Access • ease of obtaining material • teacher-directed source use Following Rules • familiarity with school/other rules Penn, August 2, 2010
  54. 54. Students’ Assessment Strategies Assessing Information Value of Citation Suggest New Heuristics Content Engagement Affordances for Learning “I just would not go Wikipedia first, because it is an edited source. It is just like I am writing my own, so people are writing their own thing on that.” – Diane, junior “Wikipedia, it’s like, known that it possibly could be wrong but so many people read it that they can correct it that it kind of like checks, it’s like checks and balances… and like there’s a giant list of references at the bottom... I guess it’s like Science Online maybe.” – Alli, junior Penn, August 2, 2010
  55. 55. Students’ Assessment Strategies Assessing Information Value of Citation Suggest New Heuristics Content Engagement Affordances for Learning “I just would not go Wikipedia first, because it is an edited source. It is just like I am writing my own, so people are writing their own thing on that.” – Diane, junior “Wikipedia, it’s like, known that it possibly could be wrong but so many people read it that they can correct it that it kind of like checks, it’s like checks and balances… and like there’s a giant list of references at the bottom... I guess it’s like Science Online maybe.” – Alli, junior Penn, August 2, 2010
  56. 56. Students’ Assessment Strategies Assessing Information Value of Citation Suggest New Heuristics Content Engagement Affordances for Learning “I just would not go Wikipedia first, because it is an edited source. It is just like I am writing my own, so people are writing their own thing on that.” – Diane, junior “Wikipedia, it’s like, known that it possibly could be wrong but so many people read it that they can correct it that it kind of like checks, it’s like checks and balances… and like there’s a giant list of references at the bottom... I guess it’s like Science Online maybe.” – Alli, junior Penn, August 2, 2010
  57. 57. Students’ Assessment Strategies Assessing Information Value of Citation Suggest New Heuristics Content Engagement Affordances for Learning “I just would not go Wikipedia first, because it is an edited source. It is just like I am writing my own, so people are writing their own thing on that.” – Diane, junior “Wikipedia, it’s like, known that it possibly could be wrong but so many people read it that they can correct it that it kind of like checks, it’s like checks and balances… and like there’s a giant list of references at the bottom... I guess it’s like Science Online maybe.” – Alli, junior Penn, August 2, 2010
  58. 58. Responsibility for Content Assessing Information Value of Citation Affected Reasoning about Citation Content Engagement Affordances for Learning Penn, August 2, 2010
  59. 59. Responsibility for Content Assessing Information Value of Citation Affected Reasoning about Citation Content Engagement Affordances for Learning Students positioned themselves as mediators in the cycle of information consumption and production They felt a responsibility to assess sources that went beyond the grading rubric; this affected how they reasoned about what makes citation valuable Citation legitimized contributions and protected them from critique Penn, August 2, 2010
  60. 60. Responsibility for Content Assessing Information Value of Citation Affected Reasoning about Citation Content Engagement Affordances for Learning “I have no credibility behind my name, I’m a student still. But all the work that I was—all the information I put up had sources, had everything, had a credible background to it. So I think if it’s going to be so open for other people to use, your work should be credible. You just don’t want to lead people wrong.” – Jerry, high school senior Penn, August 2, 2010
  61. 61. Opportunities for Metacognitive Assessing Information Value of Citation Engagement with Science Content Content Engagement Affordances for Learning Students adopted mediator role, this time between the scientific community and laypersons Needed to identify their own knowledge gaps and fill them in order to simplify scientific language for their readership Penn, August 2, 2010
  62. 62. Opportunities for Metacognitive Assessing Information Value of Citation Engagement with Science Content Content Engagement Affordances for Learning “So I mean, I had to take words and I mean, I wanted to make it readable for people too, because I knew other people were going to look at this, so I was not going to use, like, huge words, just kind of make it simple.” – Lina, senior Another student noted 40% of his effort: “was collecting information. 60% was actually trying to understand what on earth are we talking about.” – Jerry, senior Penn, August 2, 2010
  63. 63. Assessing Information Value of Citation Wiki Supports Learning Processes Content Engagement Affordances for Learning Wiki as a transparent, incremental publishing medium supports learning in communities LPP: low barrier for contribution makes legitimate peripheral contributions possible Cognitive apprenticeship: features like history pages, discussions, open editing make peers’ and experts’ process visible Penn, August 2, 2010
  64. 64. Summary Assessing and using information take on new meanings for students when their school work becomes an authentic public resource Wiki publishing affords opportunities for learning and becoming more savvy information consumers and producers The right wiki tools were critical for getting this kind of activity to work in the classroom Penn, August 2, 2010
  65. 65. Unprecedented Opportunity and Need for Information Literacy Learning More and more people are participating in production of information 59% of youth are content creators online (Pew, 2007) Responsibility for assessing information is increasingly distributed Disintermediated/apomediated information environments Penn, August 2, 2010
  66. 66. Education is not preparation for life, education is life. - John Dewey, 1938 Penn, August 2, 2010
  67. 67. Some Implications... Production and Participation - Students need access to practice in schools Open Access - Students need materials to work with “Web Credibility” is not a sufficient concept - Educators and researchers need to develop increasingly nuanced views of online resources Penn, August 2, 2010
  68. 68. Questions, Discussion... aforte@drexel.edu Penn, August 2, 2010

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