From "A Crusade Against Ignorance to a Crisis of Authenticity": Cultivating Information Literacy for a 21st Century Democracy
From a “Crusade Against Ignorance to a Crisis of Authenticity”: Cultivating Information Literacy for a 21st Century Democracy Andrew Battista Information Literacy & Reference Librarian University of Montevallo 2012 LOEX Annual Conference, Columbus, OH May 4-5, 2010
#LOEX2012 Engaged Me talking: discussion: 22 minutes 28 minutes Librarians should help students become sustainable learners, citizens who cultivate networks of information that compel them to pursue fairness, equality, and human rights. Many prominent information literacy metrics do not correspond with the challenges of living and learning in our “swirling vortex of information.” Information literacy instruction that directs students to curate content on social media platforms is an essential component of a democracy-centered education in the 21st century.
#LOEX2012Information literacy should beunderstood “as a new liberal art […] asessential to the mental framework ofthe information-age citizen as thetrivium of basic liberal arts(grammar, logic, and rhetoric) was tothe educated person in medievalsociety.”Shapiro & Hughes (1996)
#LOEX2012“…strong emphasis on undergraduate liberalarts studies [designed for] intellectual andpersonal growth in the pursuit of meaningfulemployment and responsible, informedcitizenship.”
#LOEX2012“Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade againstignorance; establish and improve the law foreducating the common people. Let our countrymenknow that the people alone can protect us againstthese evils, and that the tax which will be paid forthis purpose is not more than the thousandth partof what will be paid to kings, priests, & nobles whowill rise up among us if we leave the people inignorance.”--Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to George Wythe 1786 Thomas Jefferson, Rembrandt Peale, ca. 1800
#LOEX2012 “Over the past decade, we have seen a crisis of authenticity emerge. We now live in a world where anyone can publish an opinion or perspective, whether true or not, and have that opinion amplified within the information marketplace. […] Our Nation’s educators and institutions of learning must be aware of—and adjust to—these new realities.” Barack Obama, National Information Literacy Awareness Month, October 2009Barack Obama, Hampton University Commencement, May9, 2010. Source: whitehouse YouTube channel
#LOEX2012 “Public education is a Since World War scheme dreamed up by II, education has the captains of industry to “increasingly been incubate servility and decoupled from the life ultimately sabotage and practice of anything like a real democracy.” democracy” --Benjamin Barber, A “Despite their reputation of being -- Erik Reece, “The Schools We Need,” Orion Passion For Democracy avid computer users who are fluent September/October 2011 with new technologies, few students [use] a growing number of Web 2.0 applications for collaborating on course research assignments.” Head and Eisenberg (2010), Project Information Literacy Colleges and universities, for all the benefits they bring, accomplish far less for their students than they should.” The organizational structure andOur great universities have “lost Derek Bok, quoted in operating principles that havesigh of the essential purpose of Academically Adrift: Limited formed the foundation of higherundergraduate education” Learning on College Campuses education for more than two hundred (Arum & Roksa 2011) years no longer function effectively.”Harry Lewis, Excellence Withouta Soul --Mark Taylor, Crisis on Campus
#LOEX2012“Online, kids have to make choices amongseemingly infinite possibilities. There’s amismatch between our national standards oftesting and the way students are testedevery time they sit by themselves in front ofa computer screen.”--Cathy N. Davidson, Now You See It: Howthe Brain Science of Attention WillTransform the Way We Live, Work, andLearn
#LOEX2012 Determine the extent of information needed Access the needed information effectively and efficiently Evaluate information and its sources critically Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surround the use of information and access and use information ethically and legallyPhrases from ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standardsfor Higher Education
#LOEX2012A Fresh Rhizome of Cimicifuga RacemosaJohn Uri Lloyd and Curtis G. Lloyd, The Drugs and Medicines of North America, ca. 1884-87
#LOEX2012Literally…“Any point of a rhizome can be connected to anythingother, and must be.”“A rhizome may be broken, shattered at any givenspot, but it will start up again on one of its old lines, or onnew lines”A rhizome may be broken, shattered at a given spot, but itwill start up again on one of its old lines, or on new lines.”Theoretically…“A rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections betweensemiotic chains, organizations of power, andcircumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and socialstruggles.” Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalismand Schizophrenia
#LOEX2012Social Media Social media create “framingdestabilizes existing mechanisms for how people understandinformation hierarchies politics” and allow students to “actually create a culture in which questions ofand allows students to dialogue, dissent, criticalmake real changes in engagement, [and] global responsibilitythe world. can come into play.” Henry Giroux, interview with Al Jazeera (October 8, 2011)
#LOEX2012 “[E]very year, I become more and more convinced that having first-year students use peer-reviewed literature in theirSocial Media encourages research is a terrible idea that takes thestudents to integrate diverse focus away from what is important forkinds of evidence into their them to learn.”writing, especially evidencethat is publically important. Meredith Farkas, Information Wants to be Free (blog)
#LOEX2012 “Many large journal publishers have made the scholarlySocial media presents an communication environmentalternative to sources of fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive. [...]information (i.e., scholarly major periodicalcommunication contained subscriptions, especially toon proprietary databases) electronic journals published bythat are probably not historically key providers, cannotfinancially sustainable. be sustained: continuing these subscriptions on their current footing is financially untenable.” Harvard University memorandum to Faculty Advisory Council, April 17, 2012
#LOEX2012Social media allows students topresent themselves publically andbecome engaged with discussionsthat take place in the publicsphere.
#LOEX2012 Assignment: Curate a Twitter ListBasic Elements Curate a list over a semester Establish the organizing principle of the list Be prepared to talk about the logic of the listBasic Learning Outcomes Encourages students to organize information intomeaningful categories and reign in the challenge of attention Students evaluate the quality and source of information The class is able to crowdsource knowledge and presentinformation to others We begin to understand that the process of informationseeking is always ongoing and lasts even after the class ends
#LOEX2012“This is the most extreme and long-term hopeDetroit offers us: the hope that we can reclaimwhat we paved over and poisoned, that nature willnot punish us, that it will welcome us home—notwith the landscape that was here when wearrived, perhaps, but with land that isalive, lush, and varied all the same.”- Rebecca Solnit, “Detroit Arcadia: Exploring the James D. Griffioen, The Disappearing City ,“Feral Houses”Post-American Landscape.”
#LOEX2012 “...a school with a 90% graduation rate and a 50% college acceptance rate for its pregnant students sounds like a good thing to me. Students are taught to grow their own food, build, and they even have farm animals which they have learned to take care of. Instead of being praised for their actions, the school is being shut down entirely (it’s pretty sketchy if you read theProtests for Mary Catherine Ferguson School whole article). - Lauren Tinchey, class blog
#LOEX2012 Task-based Information SeekingProfessor assigns project and requires defined amount of sources. Student locates requires sources and integrates them into project. Student turns in project, gets a grade, and moves on with life.
Fluid Information Discovery Facilitated by Social Media #LOEX2012Process of discoverybegins by reading Student writes and makescurated sources. Twitter connections enabled by a Twitterassignment supports account. Writing is motivated bythis goal. the desire to essay and participate in public process of democracy.Student starts curation of Twitterfeeds without a specific goal in Student reads and learns aboutmind, other than cultivating a social problems in Detroituseful network of information. through class discussion.
#LOEX2012 Selected ReferencesBarber, B. (1998). A Passion for Democracy: American Essays. Princeton: Princeton UP.Bivens-Tatum, W. (2012). Libraries and the Enlightenment. Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press.Dabrinski E., Kumbier, A. & Accardi, M. (Eds.). (2010). Critical library instruction: theories andmethods. Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press.Davidson, C. (2011). Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way WeLive, Work, and Learn. New York: Viking.“Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education” (n.d.) Association of College andResearch Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/informationliteracycompetencyJefferson, T. (n.d.). “A Crusade Against Ignorance”: To George Wythe, Paris, August 13, 1786. ElectronicText Center, University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 28, 2012, fromhttp://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccernew2?id=JefLett.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=47&division=div1Kopp, B. M. & Olson-Kopp, K. (2010) “Depositories of knowledge: library instruction and thedevelopment of critical consciousness.” In Dabrinski, E., Kumbier, A., & Accardi, M. (Eds.), Criticallibrary instruction: theories and methods. Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press.
#LOEX2012Kvenild, C., & Calkins, K., Eds. (2011). Embedded librarians: Moving beyond one-shot instruction.Chicago:Association of College and Research Libraries.National Information Literacy Awareness Month, 2009 by the President of the United States ofAmerica: A Proclamation. (n.d.). Retrieved fromhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/2009literacy_prc_rel.pdfPawley, C. (2003). Information literacy: a contradictory coupling. Library Quarterly, 73(4), 422-452.Shapiro, J. & Hughes, S. (1996). Information literacy as a liberal art. Educom Review, 31. Retrievedfromhttp://net.educause.edu/apps/er/review/reviewArticles/31231.htmlSolnit, R. (2007). Detroit arcadia: exploring the post-American landscape. Harper’s Magazine. July.65-73.Tinchy, L. (2011, June 8). Michigan farming high school shutting down. ENG 230 Introduction toLiterature.Retrieved November 4, 2011, from http://thepastoral.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/michigan-farming-high-school-shutting-downZimmerman, J. (2011, June 8). Amazing urban farm school for teen moms will be shut down. Grist.RetrievedNovember 4, 2011, from http://www.grist.org/list/2011-06-08-amazing-urban-farm-school-for-teen-moms-will-be-shut-down
#LOEX2012More InformationYou can download a copy of this presentation and a draft ofthe essay, with the Twitter assignment attached.http://tiny.cc/crusadeloexhttp://tiny.cc/twitterassignAn extended version of this essay is slated to be included inthe forthcoming collection, Information Literacy and SocialJustice: Radical Professional Praxis, edited by ShanaHiggins and Lua Gregory (Library Juice Press).Contact InformationAndrew Battista, Ph.D.Information Literacy & Reference LibrarianUniversity of MontevalloE mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @rawdeal85Hash tag: #curationculture
#LOEX2012 QuestionsWhat are some ways that we’ve had success collaborating withteaching faculty to integrate social media tools into the narrativearcs of courses?I think the advantages of social media are evident, but what aresome of the challenges of bringing social media tools intoinformation literacy instruction?How can we can use social media tools to facilitate the discovery oftraditional sources of information?Is the issue of publicness something to be concerned about whenwe ask students to participate on social media networks?Can social media tools work for “one shot” instruction contexts, ordoes the involvement of the librarian have to be much moresubstantial than that?