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Information Fluency Strategies and Practices to Help Enhance Critical Thinking Skills


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Information fluency is the intersection of information literacy, computer literacy and critical thinking and is a “must” for participants of the 21st century. Mairn explores a variety of resources, research tools, and tips that can be integrated into course management systems and/or traditional classroom settings to help build fluency and develop critical thinking. These tools range from using real-time web/mobile services like Twitter to using conventional econtent more creatively and other tools/services to construct a learning environment — online or face-to-face — that is conducive to information discovery, sharing, and lifelong learning.

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Information Fluency Strategies and Practices to Help Enhance Critical Thinking Skills

  1. 1. Chad P. Mairn, M.L.I.S. Librarian/Adjunct Instructor St. Petersburg College Presentation slides, notes, Twitter backchannel (#cil2010 #cmairn) and more are available at: Information Fluency Strategies and Practices to Help Enhance Critical Thinking Skills
  2. 2. “Connectivity is a state of existence, nothing more. The true end is what happens when things are in connection, what happens when connectivity itself fuses with information.” (‘500-Year Delta’, page 115)
  3. 3. Objectives: Provide a brief overview of Information Fluency. Describe St. Petersburg College’s Critical Thinking Initiative. Explore some strategies and practices that can help encourage information discovery, sharing, and lifelong learning no matter where the learner is. Discuss future plans to help foster information fluency and to develop problem solving/analytical thinking skills.
  4. 4. Information fluency is the intersection of information literacy, computer literacy and critical thinking.
  5. 5. Live Poll: What does it mean to be ‘information fluent?’ 1/A. Proficient using a computer. 2/B. Understands how a computer works. 3/C. Ability to think critically and adapt to change. 4/D. Socially adept with information (e.g., communicates ideas well, documents sources, etc.) 5/E. Has “the ability to perform effectively in an information-rich and technology-intensive environment.” (UCF definition) 6/F. All of the above 7/G. None of the above
  6. 6. An information literate individual … Determines the extent of information needed. Accesses the needed information effectively and efficiently. Evaluates information and its sources critically. Incorporates selected information into one’s knowledge base. Uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose. Understands the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally. Source: ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education
  7. 7. A computer literate individual … Develops some technological skills while practicing the fine art of being “information literate”, but “computer literacy” is primarily rote learning of software and hardware. This is NOT a static skill, however. “Fluency with technology" focuses on understanding the underlying concepts of technology and applying problem-solving and critical thinking to using technology. Source: ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education
  8. 8. Critical Thinking defined by St. Petersburg College The active and systemic process of communication, problem solving, evaluation, analysis, synthesis, and reflection, both individually and in community, to foster understanding, support sound decision-making, and guide action. Source: SPC Critical Thinking Gateway (Resources for critical thinking to enhance student learning)
  9. 9. Library Academic Roundtable Instructional Portfolios for Critical Thinking Note: the instructional portfolios are based upon Earnest L. Boyer's (1990) Ongoing Cycle of Scholarly Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching. For more details and access to the Library Instructional Portfolio please contact Chad Mairn.
  10. 10. So, I think information fluency is … … having the ability to think critically while being able to apply this thinking across a variety of “literacies” (e.g., information, technological, cultural, scientific etc.) in order to “foster understanding, support sound decision-making, and guide action” in the classroom and beyond! communicating, problem solving, evaluating, analyzing, synthesizing, and reflecting on the entire process.
  11. 11. Some strategies/practices that can help encourage information fluency
  12. 12. Best strategy/practice?! Allow users/students to do the work themselves. Then, we should simply follow up with them to make sure that they are successful. Socratic questioning (i.e., reference interview) is useful too!
  13. 13. Ask-a-Librarian virtual reference assistance at the point of need!
  14. 14. Pre/post testing using TRAILS
  15. 15. SPC assessed computer literacy skills using the iSkills test, which used “scenario-based tasks to measure cognitive skills in a technological environment.” CGS 1060 (Basic Computer and Information Literacy) uses Cengage’s SAM 2007 Assessment software for the Final Exams.
  16. 16. Do we need a Twitter break? Twitter hashtags: #cil2010 #cmairn
  17. 17. Twitter Feedback © SAP 2009 / Page 17
  18. 18. Using Diigo to highlight and annotate parts of articles
  19. 19. Article Analysis (i.e., “intervention”) Assignment Instructions Read "Government Should Regulate the Internet" article. Answer the 10 questions. You may want to consider these questions first and take notes while reading the article. I will schedule a chat/video session to share ideas and to discuss the issues. It may help to organize your thoughts using the "Elements of Thought and Standards Model”. FYI: I will refer to this critical thinking rubric and to this general reading rubric primarily when grading this assignment. Note: The VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) rubrics are from the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
  20. 20. "Elements of Thought and Standards Model”.
  21. 21. Questions to consider … 1. What is the main argument of this article? 2. Can you distinguish between verifiable facts and the author’s values? 3. How do you interpret the author’s conclusion[s] and is there an alternative conclusion[s]? 4. Is there a problem with the author’s main thesis? Please explain. 5. Can you recognize any logical inconsistencies? 6. While reading the article did you assume anything that you shouldn’t? 7. Did you have difficulties reading this article if you disagreed with the author’s premise? 8. Are the author’s assumptions valid? 9. Can you detect any biases (stated and/or unstated)? 10. What did you learn from this process?
  22. 22. Here are some student quotes regarding what they learned from the process. "I learned that finding resources for research projects is a task which requires attention to detail, rational thinking, and good judgement skills. The internet is full of information; some valid information, some not so valid. I found that sometimes opinions are stated as facts, and sometimes that facts can be misrepresented as opinions if citations are not present. I also learned that while research a topic, if I find a source of information, it never hurts to also research a little bit about the source in order to conclude if it's a valid source of information or not.” "I think it was very interesting to tear down his article and evaluate it for biases, premises, validity, thesis, inconsistency, facts vs. opinion, etc. I usually do this subconsiously when I read or watch the news, but not to the extent that I did here when I really wrote it all out. It is so helpful to do this so that you can identify the view of the author, and then find a differing opinion, and compare the two, because the truth usually falls somewhere in the middle.” "To dissect an article a little more thoroughly and to examine credibility and an author's intentions when writing the article a little more closely.” "I have read the entire article four times now, and I don’t necessarily find a problem with the author’s thesis, however, find that there could be easily be more than just one.” “I learned to be more critically aware of information that I read and to carefully evaluate sources.”
  23. 23. Course-long Pre-writing (i.e., research) Project Tapping into one’s interests Reading for discovery/reflection Asking questions/What do you already know? Research proposal: title, thesis, abstract, outline Discuss topic with fellow students (peer review) Gathering information (books, articles, web sites etc.) Evaluating information (relevance, reliability, logic/claims) Take notes to avoid plagiarism and build credibility/citing sources Understand difference between cause and coincidence Assess scientific/political biases. Refining thesis/Group ideas How to organize (use an outline) Check outline for unity and coherence Discuss topic with fellow students (peer review) Support ideas with evidence Quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Revision/presenting ideas Peer review Explain and reflect upon one’s research process
  24. 24. Using RefWorks/RefShare Hopefully students will have more quality time to digest and critically think about retrieved content instead of jumping through hoops.
  25. 25. Using Twitter for class conversations Extra credit: Ask students to use Twitter. DM @cmairn
  26. 26. Create course pages in Facebook (Static FBML) and add applications (e.g., Vivox Voice for conferencing with students)
  27. 27. Use web-based software (e.g., Yuuguu, LogMeIn Express, etc) to screenshare/control one’s desktop to demonstrate more complex things. Ask students to demonstrate too!
  28. 28. Create screencasts to teach complex tasks
  29. 29. Some other activity ideas from LIS 2004 (Introduction to Internet Research) course Ask students to write a book review or catalog a subject via LibraryThing or WorldCat. Ask students to become Wikipedians and either write an entry on something that interests them and/or add to or correct an existing Wikipedia article. Documenting your sources will build credibility! Create a slideshow "movie" and document it using MLA or APA. Use free, online software like Google's Picassa 3, iMovie, Window's MovieMaker, Voicethread, or MemoriesonWeb to create a slideshow "movie" that conveys a powerful message, constructs an argument, or teaches an educational lesson. More activity ideas can be found at: tive_activity_ideas.html
  30. 30. Provide multiple contacts Twitter DM
  31. 31. Future plans to help foster information fluency and to develop problem solving/analytical thinking skills.
  32. 32. Fine tune the course-long pre-writing project to completely incorporate computer literacy. (Course of Record) Continue to utilize Vivox Voice because Facebook is one “place” where students are comfortable. Explore Adobe Connect Mobile and other web conferencing technologies for mobile devices. (iPad) Continue to provide library visibility in Course Management Systems. Explore Open Content and electronic textbooks (submitted a grant proposal to conduct an eReader usability study). Experiment with Google Wave and other collaboration applications. Augmented Reality in the stacks? Information Fluency Games (Wii and Google’s searching game is coming soon!)
  33. 33. Working with Offshoot Systems to modify our LINCCWeb toolbar to include RefWorks, Reframe It and more!
  34. 34. No matter what the future brings we will always need the skills to think critically about whatever information is in front of us – regardless of format. Technology cannot truly comprehend for us!
  35. 35. Select Resources • University of Central Florida Information Fluency Initiative • Turning Point Technologies • ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education • SPC Critical Thinking Gateway • Elements of Thought and Standards Model • Association of American Colleges and Universities VALUE Rubrics • RefWorks/RefShare • Follow Students on Twitter • Yuuguu • LibraryThing • WorldCat • Other activity ideas • Mental Graffiti blog
  36. 36. What do you do to help enhance your students/patrons information fluency (i.e., learning)? #cil2010 #cmairn Text @wif22514 + your message to 87884
  37. 37. Contact Information (727) 341.7181 + 1 (727) 537.6405 With your phone take a quick photo of this code and you’ll be directed to my mobile contact page. For the software, visit @cmairn