Road mapping the digital jungle - Pickard, Walton, Dobbs & Hepworth
British Academy / Leverhulme Small Research Grant
PI: Dr Alison Jane Pickard CI: Dr GeoffWalton RA: Lara Dobbs
Dr Mark Hepworth, Professor, Loughborough University, UK
The emblematic role of children and young people
as discursive sites for adults to conceptualize
societal change - ‘the digital native’ ?
A myth that gathered momentum between 1996 –
2000 and is only recently being widely refuted.
Information discernment / self-regulation / meta
Internal, transferable ‘firewalls’
Access to e-resources and learning opportunities (AHRC
JISC User Behaviour in Information seeking:
Longitudinal Evaluation of EIS), (1999-2004)
“If we are opening the floodgates of information we have to
provide our young people with suitable survival equipment to
help them navigate their way around” Pickard, BBC News:
Monday, 21 July, 2003.
The role of effective intervention in promoting the
value of electronic information services in the learning
JISC Users’ trust in information resources in theWeb
Toolkit – Meta-evaluation / ‘Understanding the trusting
Definition of information discernment ;
“The ability to use higher order thinking skills to
make sound and complex judgements regarding a
range of text-based materials”
▪ (Walton & Hepworth, 2013, p55)
Participative Action Research
Walton & Hepworth.
▪ The aim is to empower school children to make informed
judgments of online information resources.
▪ Focus on encouraging proactive skepticism that allows for
rational judgments of the trustworthiness of online
Create a practical digital literacy toolkit methodology. – Road mapping
the digital jungle!
Evaluate the methodology using pre- and post-intervention
observations on a sample of 16-18 year old students.
Redesign the digital literacy toolkit via participatory research
methodology to be offered to schools at a variety of educational levels.
Consider the potential of this methodology for application with a wider
population to encourage empowered citizenship.
Source Evaluation Framework
Used to assess the quality of the source
Meta- Evaluation Proforma
Used to reflect on the value of each criterion
to the situation
Encouraging ‘personal’ models of
“Understanding the trusting self”
Questionnaire and app
In a participative action research setting.
The toolkit was
Action (PRA), in-
situ with an initial
case study of 16-18
year old students in
a UK school.
The future for these children and young
people ‘will be characterised by an
increasingly complex and constantly
evolving information landscape’ (Coombs,
…which requires a level of cognitive
interaction that goes beyond the use of
digital tools and becomes a metacognitive
activity of self-regulation (Walton and
A School Librarian who grabbed the
opportunity offered by the Extended Project
When there was a gap in how this could be
‘taught’Andrew stepped in and said it was his
We joined him and used this as the context
for developing our methodology.
We asked students taking the EPQ (n=45)
who they trusted most for information,
parents, teachers, peers or the media –
indicated on a 6 point scale
Our findings appear similar to
Lewandowsky’s and indicate that this default
trust pattern is stable in 16-17 year olds
The Media Teachers
1 - No trust 3 1 - No trust 0
2 - A little trust 9 2 - A little trust 3
3 - Some trust 15 3 - Some trust 2
4 - Often trust 9 4 - Often trust 17
5 - Generally trust 8 5 - Generally trust 20
6 - Always trust 0 6 - Always trust 2
1 - No trust 0 1 - No trust 2
2 - A little trust 2 2 - A little trust 6
3 - Some trust 5 3 - Some trust 11
4 - Often trust 5 4 - Often trust 17
5 - Generally trust 22 5 - Generally trust 7
6 - Always trust 10 6 - Always trust 1
Head of 6th form:
The quality of their log books compared to last year was so obvious
‘we were seeing new words and phrases in their projects like ‘questioning the information’ /
‘evidence’ / ‘authority’ ‘credible’
A lot have really embraced, including those who weren’t that ‘academically’ orientated, this
but there are still those who don’t have the motivation.
The difference after this intervention;
This time last year we had 10 students who had successfully completed the planning review of
this year we have about 40 2,500 words and they know what they’re talking about
quality of their reflection is so much better
Level is dramatically different, rapid change
Gap between last year and this is fantastic, can’t find the words in an education sense to say
100% were using only the internet…type in to Google and didn’t think beyond.
Now, they’re still doing that but they’re questioning what they find, I supervise 8 but
coordinate them all, I’ve read all log books.Their attitude is so different.
Major change in their approach
A warm feeling when we’re reading their work – referencing!!!
1 EPQ supervisor
‘they talked about bias – ‘checking the credibility
of the information and the sources’
‘they don’t often have to make a choice about the
information they use, this was challenging’.
‘they are cross referencing their sources, totally
External firewalls create a fortress and false
Reclaiming responsibility - Internal firewalls:
▪ Proactive scepticism
All need scaffolding
▪ Pickard, Alison J., Shenton, Andrew K. & Johnson, Andrew (2012)Young people and the
evaluation of information on the web: principles, practice and beliefs. Journal of Library
and Information Science (Doi 0961000612467813, Sage OnlineFirst)
▪ Pickard, Alison J., Shenton, A. K. & Furness, K. (25th- 28th June 2013) Educating young
people in the art of distrust: Meta-evaluation and the construction of personal, agile
models of web information literacy. ‘i3: Information, impacts and interactions.’ Robert
Gordon University June 2013.
▪ Shenton, Andrew K. & Pickard, Alison J. (2014) Evaluating Online Information and Sources.
Minibook Series: UK Literacy Agency. ISBN-13: 978 1 897638 86 6
▪ Shenton, A. K. & Pickard, A. J. (2014) “Facilitating PupilThinking About Information
Literacy”.The New Review of Children’s Literature and Librarianship. 20 (1) pp64-79 DOI
▪ Shenton, Andrew K. & Pickard, Alison J. (2012)The evaluation challenge. Creative teaching
and learning.Vol 3.2 pp 22-28
▪ Walton, G and Hepworth, M. (2011).A longitudinal study of changes in learners’ cognitive
states during and following an information literacy teaching intervention. Journal of
Documentation 63 (3), 449-479.