IETC 2011-Making Information Work-Applying competency standards to improve teaching with technology
MAKING INFORMATION WORK-APPLYING COMPETENCY
STANDARDS TO IMPROVE TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY
Instruction Services Coordinator
Western Illinois University
Net Gen Students-Background
Special Sheltered Confident Team-Oriented
Achieving Pressured Conventional
Millennials Go To College (2003) by Neil Howe and William Strauss.
• Net Gen students are….
• Fluent in a wide range of
communication and productivity
• Have sophisticated methods for
gathering and evaluating
• Apply these abilities effectively in
the learning process
• (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005;
Prensky, 2005; Conole, et
al., 2006;Tapscott 2009; Palfrey &
The new view
• “A new line of distinction must be drawn between
computer users who can handle only basic
programs such as word processors and search
engines, and those who understand the
structures and concepts that underlie modern
technology, and how to think critically within
them. (Kvacek, 2010).”
Are they ready to work?
• Studies for workforce preparation identify a
number of critical skills for success in the modern
• Many of these skills relate to information
technology use and information gathering and
• Critical thinking/problem solving
• Computer/technical literacy
• Understanding systems
• Information gathering
• Analytical/research skills
What kind of work will they do?
• 70 percent of employees in the U.S. perform work that required
the intensive use of information (USBL, 2003).
• Jobs Innovation for Europe study report findings suggest that
within five years ICT skills will be requirement for 90% of jobs,
making these skills vital for employment and job success
(Kolding, M., Robinson, C., & Ahorlu, M. , 2009).
• Information Work Productivity Council defines information work
as “creating, using or sharing information as part of a business
• Jobs of today require the intensive use of information by
workers in a much wider range of roles—from call-center
representatives, to truck drivers, to factory workers
(Brynjolfsson E., 2003)
6 questions that identify info work
• Does the person receive information about jobs and
• Assimilate the information?
• Know how to do the job?
• Know why tasks must be done?
• Decide what actions to take?
• Execute decisions?
• Is there a universal Net Gen predisposition to
technology driven information work?
• Are they all really savvy with technology and
• What are the types and frequency of negative
incidents relating to information work?
• Everybody makes mistakes, so where are these likely
to occur during information work processes?
Critical Incident Technique
• Flanagan’s Critical Incident Technique helps explain work behavior by
capturing the most memorable aspects of an experience from
participants in context (Flanagan, 1954).
• A critical incident is positive (effective) if it helps to solve a problem
and negative (ineffective) if it fails to solve a problem, creates new
problems or facilitates need for further actions (Fivers and Fitzpatrick,
• This can help clarify questions regarding the quality and meaning of
an experience in terms of success and failure (Patton, 1987).
• Some errors are expected in work related tasks. Repeated errors in
any task are potentially serious (1954). Error trends can help
determine what behaviors lead to success or lead to failure.
Standards and Performance Outcomes
• Provide a generally recognized set of abilities and
behaviors needed to succeed in academic
study, in the workplace, and in personal life.
• Provide a blueprint to assess students’ decision-
making skills and critical thinking, including
understanding how to do research and present it
CIT and SPO
•Highlight performance in terms
effective/ineffective behavior of
specific skill sets.
•Provides way for educators to identify
and address pain points in teaching
and technology systems.
•Skill sets required for work often
overlap or are integrated.
The Case Population
• 22 Subjects
• 18-25 Y/O
• 14 Disciplines
• 64% Soft Science
• 46% Hard Science
• 82% cms
• 22% Blog/Wiki
• 9% Web Page / Video
Areas of Inquiry
• Unit of Analysis
Negative critical incidents that
occurred in individual subject
cases during project
• 2 Areas of Inquiry
explored for Technology Use
(ISTE) and Information
Seeking and Gathering
The Project Task
Develop a research question and develop a presentation web
site of 6 task oriented pages using multiple content types and
• Constant Comparative Method used to ….
• Compare incidents
• Identify concepts
• Identify properties
• Integrate categories
Glaser and Strauss, 1967
• 260 Log Entries
• 152 Critical Incidents
• Log posting analyzed for negative critical incidents
• Initial agreement between coders was Kappa 79.6%
• Three added reviews provided clarification between
coders about nuances between incidents and
• The incidents were assigned to a set of 8 standards,
(4 technology use and 4 information seeking and
The journal article was the hardest thing that I had
with my project. For instance, everything I wrote
inside the boxes kept getting erased. Effecive use
Between the 2 dimensions
The distribution of negative critical incidents was similar
between technology use and information seeking and gathering.
Participant’s encountered critical challenges in both areas.
Technology Use Incidents
Technology Use Incidents Incident Description Frequency % of
Selects and uses
applications effectively and
I ran into problems putting links on my
main page. I made it seem harder than
it was because all I had to do was go to
edit and highlight them and drag them
where I wanted.
37 45% 24%
Understand and uses
I tried to insert the books I found on to
my site book page but my books were
not showing; the reason was I did not
put my id name.
26 32% 17%
Troubleshoots systems and
Every time I try to upload the pictures, it
comes up as Invalid Data. I tried
several times and that's all that keeps
coming up. I looked back and tried to
follow the directions again, but it still did
13 16% 9%
Transfer current knowledge
to learning of new
technologies or processes
I finally found that an account is
required in order to upload your book
marks. This only makes sense…it’s just
like the other tools. I should have
figured these things out before, but
unfortunately did not think about them.
6 7 % 4%
Total 82 100% 54%
Info Search and Gathering Incidents
Information Search and
Constructs and implements
The database worked fine, but my
results were not so good. I changed the
keywords that I used several times. This
helped, but I found that this was the
hardest part of the project so far.
44 62% 29%
investigative methods or
retrieval systems for accessing
I thought finding journal articles would
easy because there are countless web
sites about understanding the opposite
I thought this would transfer over to the
database as well.
16 23% 10%
Identifies a variety of types
and formats of potential
sources for information.
Finding a good database was hard.
LexisNexis did not work one bit. It's
possible they didn't have any journals
about alternative medicines, but I think
it's because search areas are not well
7 10% 5%
Follows laws, regulations,
institutional policies, and
etiquette related to the access
and use of information
I don't know what the regulations are or
how you go about citing images
uploaded to Google, so I didn't really
cite the images I used.
3 5% 2%
Total 70 100% 46%
• 5 distinct themes emerged regarding critical incidents
across the information work process…
• Overall Experience
• Developing Presentation Structures
• Developing Information Seeking Strategies
• Working Between Applications
Experience and Impact
• Some students noted lack of experience using
technology which created tension regarding the project
work. After working through the project, some
reflections displayed a sense of increased
empowerment and efficacy.
• I am technologically challenged. This is a great learning
experience, but I am getting so tired that I am going to call
someone who knows what they are doing.
• This project was all about trial and error, and a little more error! I
was really proud of myself though. When it comes to computers I
see if someone can do it for me or give up.
• The Net irritates me!
Developing Presentation Structures
• Frequent problems were encountered with process
related actions for creating pages and navigation
links, inserting and formatting text and images, and
• Everything I wrote inside the boxes kept getting erased.
Then I found the save button.
• I sat there for like a minute with my curser over the
menu name waiting for it to pop down... NOPE! You
have to go over to the little down arrow icon.
Information Seeking Strategies
• Student descriptions frequently noted the need to revise
strategies to accommodate the different search tools
• All the various sites and applications want a different
phrase in the search bar, so I basically have to find out
what is the best phrasing and combination of words.
• I had to revise my search a couple of times like with
most other applications and search for a while to find
exactly what I wanted.
• The main problems I had was the videos wasn't putting
them on my page, it was being able to find them in the
first place. I had to use a variety of different search
terms to find what I did.
Working Between Web Sites
• Many incidents were related to actions working between
web sites, such as …
• Finding the control to upload or tag content.
• Breakdowns when connecting separate websites to the
Google site to present information.
• When I posted them into the bookmark on delicious, sometimes the
title would come out weird too, and I'd have to change it slightly to
better reflect the site that it came from.
• I tried to insert the books but they were not showing up. I had to
email the teacher about that, the reason was I did not put my user
Summary and Thoughts
• Students have varied levels of skills, experience, and
attitudes towards performing information work
• Growing up with access to digital experience is more
important to skill development than growing up in a digital
• Students in discipline that provide digital and information
work contexts more likely to become digitally fluent
• instructors and designers may need to develop ways to
improve student ability to access and manage information
as tools, tasks, as environments become diverse and
• It seems so simple, but for some reason it is not
• I thought finding the information would be a simpler
• This is really frustrating…
• The "net" irritates me ...
More Student Sentiments
• I've learned a ton of new skills and can use them as
well. This is something I never expected to do... ever.
• I'll probably come across another use for these skills
again at some point... but by that point I will probably
have to relearn them all technology is changing. It's
• I am so proud of myself at this moment. I know it
sounds silly, but I am handicapped when it comes to
anything modern or technology related. Honestly, I am
• Survey students for experiences
• Work through each technology exercise yourself
• Develop basic application and web skills
• Develop critical thinking skills between
information, and information systems
• Provide point of need support
• Stay current!
Instruction Services Coordinator
Western Illinois University Libraries
Macomb Il 61455
Thanks for coming, & keep on tekking!