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Developing 21st Century graduates: thinking critically through Information Literacy


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Developing 21st Century graduates: thinking critically through Information Literacy

  1. 1. Developing 21st century graduates - thinking critically through information literacy Moira Bent May 2010
  2. 2. Structure of workshop <ul><li>What does it mean to be information literate? </li></ul><ul><li>Aspects of information literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Tools and ideas to develop information literacy </li></ul><ul><li>An information literate graduate or/ and an information literate university? </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking in a new way </li></ul><ul><li>Threshold concepts </li></ul>
  3. 3. What does Information Literacy mean to you? <ul><li>Choose top 3 statements </li></ul><ul><li>We’ll record your top choice </li></ul>
  4. 4. What does information literacy mean? <ul><li>Lifelong learner </li></ul><ul><li>Using Library </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding reading </li></ul><ul><li>Using info wisely </li></ul><ul><li>Organised resources </li></ul><ul><li>Developing ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Using IT </li></ul><ul><li>Knowing where to look </li></ul><ul><li>Interpreting, summarising </li></ul>
  5. 5. Underlying thoughts <ul><li>People see teaching and learning differently </li></ul><ul><li>The way people see information literacy affects how they learn </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers’ conceptions of student IL affect how they teach </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians think students and teachers are not very information literate </li></ul><ul><li>Student perceptions of IL affect how they interact with the Library </li></ul><ul><li>Serendipitous learning… </li></ul><ul><li>[Bruce, 2006;Moore,2002;Merchant, 2002;Webber,2005] </li></ul>
  6. 6. My own IL definition <ul><li>Information literacy can be thought of as individuals building an awareness of how they “ use, manage, synthesise and create information, in a wise and ethical manner, to the benefit of society”, as part of their learning life. Information literacy is central to learning and essentially involves changing learning attitudes, habits and behaviours so that people understand how information fits into their learning”. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The 6 Frames of IL education (Bruce et al) <ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Competency </li></ul><ul><li>Learning to learn </li></ul><ul><li>Personal relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Social impact </li></ul><ul><li>Relational – “variation” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Variation <ul><li>Variation between what people say and what they do </li></ul><ul><li>Variation between student perceptions and teacher’s perceptions of student perceptions </li></ul>
  9. 9. School Students said <ul><li>“ It’s actually quite interesting, all this stuff, but we don’t have to think about it…well, I guess I’m just basically lazy, you know, we just don’t have to do any more to pass the exam” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mrs xxx (chemistry teacher) does go on about this kind of stuff but she talks like we never came across any of it before, like we’re just kids, so I just switch off” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Yeah well, I’m thinking that when I go to university it’ll all be doing it by myself and it will all be so big and then maybe I’ll think about finding out what else there is” </li></ul>
  10. 10. School Teachers said <ul><li>“ the more you know, the more you realise you don’t know, whereas if you don’t know you don’t know, you can be quite confident that you know” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I think we see the information they gain and use at a very pragmatic level, not as knowledge which is worth having for its own sake … and it’s learned for the sake of passing exams” </li></ul>
  11. 11. Info lit in the classroom (Williams/Wavell) <ul><li>Teachers’ conceptions of student IL : </li></ul><ul><li>Finding </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistic understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Making connections </li></ul><ul><li>Practical skills </li></ul><ul><li>Critical awareness of sources </li></ul><ul><li>Independent learning </li></ul>
  12. 12. Information for Learning <ul><li>Learning involves the constant search for meaning by the acquisition of information, reflection, engagement and active application in multiple contexts (Learning Reconsidered) </li></ul><ul><li>Information literacy can be thought of as individuals building an awareness of how they “use, manage, synthesise and create information, in a wise and ethical manner, to the benefit of society”, as part of their learning life. Information literacy is central to learning and essentially involves changing learning attitudes and habits so that people understand how information fits into their learning”. </li></ul>
  13. 13. An information literate person.. <ul><li>A person who has developed a learning habit encompassing attitudes and behaviours as well as skills and competencies which help them to </li></ul><ul><li>Recognise an information need </li></ul><ul><li>Determine the extent of the need and ways of addressing it </li></ul><ul><li>Locate and access the information effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Critically evaluate the information and the sources </li></ul><ul><li>Organise, apply and communicate the information, using it ethically, legally and with an understanding of social and economic issues </li></ul><ul><li>Synthesise and create new information </li></ul>
  14. 14. The T&L context <ul><li>In most subjects students are expect to become independent learners and critical thinkers, but the way this is to be achieved is expressed only in very general terms (McGuinness, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Most academics “assume that students are somehow, albeit haphazardly developing information skills” (McGuinness, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Students tend to search in unsophisticated ways, often not really understanding what to look for, nor how to go about a search (Peters et al 2003). </li></ul><ul><li>“ IL is achieved by a process of osmosis – not fostered, supported & encouraged” </li></ul>
  15. 15. Influences on information literacy <ul><li>Personal background and experience </li></ul><ul><li>Attitude - learning attitude or learning habit </li></ul><ul><li>School education </li></ul><ul><li>Learning, teaching and assessment changes </li></ul><ul><li>Peer pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Environment - access </li></ul><ul><li>Academic expectation </li></ul><ul><li>Information explosion </li></ul><ul><li>The Millennial generation – generation Y – digital natives “ screenagers” </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Internet, e-learning etc </li></ul><ul><li>Government policies </li></ul><ul><li>Law </li></ul>
  16. 16. An Information Literacy Landscape
  17. 17. Issues affecting IL development in HE <ul><li>14-19 curriculum / GCSE coursework </li></ul><ul><li>Changing demands in universities </li></ul><ul><li>Government policies </li></ul><ul><li>1 st year experience </li></ul><ul><li>CPD </li></ul><ul><li>Internationalisation </li></ul><ul><li>Impact of new technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Non traditional students </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in T&L </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries as learning spaces </li></ul>
  18. 18. Does it matter? <ul><li>Quality versus quantity </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Darwinism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The survival of the loudest and most opinionated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An endless digital forest of mediocrity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google = the wisdom of the crowd </li></ul><ul><li>“ Wikipedia is a celebration of the amateur” </li></ul><ul><li>Keen, A : The cult of the amateur (2007) </li></ul>
  19. 20. Mapping users A generic UG student at the end of their first year
  20. 21. Group work <ul><li>Map student development onto the 7 pillars model </li></ul><ul><li>For a 1st year, 3 rd year or postgraduate student </li></ul><ul><li>Is the pattern the same in all disciplines? </li></ul><ul><li>How does this relate to graduate attributes/ employability? </li></ul><ul><li>What about scalability of interventions? </li></ul>
  21. 22. Aspects of Information Literacy in practice <ul><li>Developing specific skills </li></ul><ul><li>Reflective practice </li></ul><ul><li>Critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical information use </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment and impact </li></ul>
  22. 23. How would you rate your skills at finding and using information? (give one answer) <ul><li>Basic </li></ul><ul><li>Good </li></ul><ul><li>Very good </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent </li></ul>0 of 2
  23. 24. Where would you look first to find directions to Caerphilly Castle? (give one answer) <ul><li>The internet </li></ul><ul><li>Local bookshop </li></ul><ul><li>The Library </li></ul><ul><li>A map </li></ul><ul><li>Tourist board </li></ul>0 of 2
  24. 25. Where would you look first to find: the hazards of methanol? ( give one answer) <ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><li>Chemistry text books </li></ul><ul><li>Toxicology text books </li></ul><ul><li>Suppliers catalogues </li></ul><ul><li>On the bottle of methanol </li></ul>0 of 2
  25. 26. What is the most efficient way of finding good quality academic information on the internet? <ul><li>Using the advanced search option </li></ul><ul><li>Using ‘I’m feeling lucky’ on Google </li></ul><ul><li>Links from other web pages </li></ul><ul><li>Information from friends </li></ul><ul><li>Using a subject gateway </li></ul>0 of 2
  26. 27. Why do you need to evaluate the information you find? (give one answer) <ul><li>To check that you have enough information for you assignment </li></ul><ul><li>To check that your friend hasn’t used the same information </li></ul><ul><li>To check that the information is relevant to the assignment </li></ul><ul><li>To check that you can reference your work correctly </li></ul>0 of 2
  27. 28. In coursework, which of the following should you not reference? <ul><li>Books </li></ul><ul><li>Journal articles </li></ul><ul><li>Videos </li></ul><ul><li>Your own thoughts </li></ul>0 of 2
  28. 29. Which of the following statements do you think is correct? (give one answer) <ul><li>You only need to include references if you are going to publish your work </li></ul><ul><li>You need to refer to sources you have quoted in your work </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t need to provide any references if you have not quoted any in your work </li></ul><ul><li>You need to reference all the different sources you have used </li></ul>0 of 2
  29. 30. Acknowledging other people’s ideas in your coursework is designed to: <ul><li>Place your work in a wider context </li></ul><ul><li>Show you have read around the subject </li></ul><ul><li>Show respect to the author </li></ul><ul><li>Produce a bibliography of reasonable length </li></ul><ul><li>Allow others to find the items easily </li></ul>0 of 2
  30. 31. Aspects of IL : reflective practice case study
  31. 32. Information Literacy at Newcastle <ul><li>Patchy approach with pockets of good practice </li></ul><ul><li>Information Skills or Information Literacy? </li></ul><ul><li>Individual champions (Chemistry, Environmental Science, Education) </li></ul><ul><li>CASAP course for new academic staff </li></ul><ul><li>Module Outline Forms include recognition of IL </li></ul><ul><li>The Newcastle IL Project </li></ul>
  32. 33. Environmental Science The programme context - 2004 <ul><li>Teaching staff said </li></ul><ul><li>“ Even in Stage 2 assignments you still mostly find websites quoted as references” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I think that we have probably failed to encourage the students to find and make sense of scientific rather than popular literature” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I do think that most are woefully trained in dealing with writing reports and undertaking original work … </li></ul><ul><li>The students are not given time to learn really useful skills for the outside world (like thinking, for one).” </li></ul>
  33. 34. Environmental Science Programme specification <ul><li>Cognitive skills (C3) – critically appraise data, information and viewpoints and produce a reasoned argument </li></ul><ul><li>Key skills (D1, D2) – summarise and communicate in writing and orally in a manner appropriate to the target audience ; use information sources effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Library workshops develop information searching skills </li></ul>
  34. 35. The golden thread <ul><li>Environmental Science Issues (Stage 1, study skills in context) </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Practice (Stage 2, what do environmental professional do?) </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Science Project (Stage 3, all our own work) </li></ul><ul><li>IL is developed in collaboration with library staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Golden thread gives the opportunity to practice IL skills in a range of contexts </li></ul>
  35. 36. Environmental Science Stage 1 <ul><li>Library paperchase </li></ul><ul><li>IL self assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Mindmapping and learning styles </li></ul><ul><li>Summary essay on environmental topic </li></ul><ul><li>Marked for subject content </li></ul><ul><li>Assessed for evidence of IL </li></ul><ul><li>Seminars to discuss outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>IL skills workshops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Selecting resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluating sources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reflective journals </li></ul><ul><li>Summary essay on environmental topic </li></ul><ul><li>Marked for subject content </li></ul><ul><li>Assessed for evidence of IL </li></ul>
  36. 37. Environmental Science coursework no 2 <ul><li>A summary of an environmental issue that is of relevance in your local area considering the viewpoints of local, national and global stakeholders. </li></ul><ul><li>This summary should be between 500 and 1000 words, excluding the full references, and clearly structured to present the range of viewpoints clearly. It will be necessary to summarise and compare information from a range of sources. You can include tables or diagrams. </li></ul><ul><li>Your analysis should contain: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A brief outline of the local context of the issue; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identification of the full range of stakeholders and their likely viewpoints; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consideration of the issues relating to the strength and validity of the viewpoints; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accurate referencing of all sources </li></ul></ul>
  37. 38. Introduced, practiced, assessed <ul><li>Learning logs and search strategies submitted as part of credit bearing assessments provided relevant information on both the use of the skills introduced and students’ perceptions of the processes. </li></ul><ul><li>Additional questions were included in end of Module assessments. </li></ul><ul><li>Informal review of the approaches was also made through conversations with staff and students. </li></ul>
  38. 39. Does it work? <ul><li>Difficult to wean off a “Google habit”. </li></ul><ul><li>If it’s not electronic, it doesn’t exist </li></ul><ul><li>One size doesn’t fit all. Highly individual and situated practice </li></ul>
  39. 40. Learning log - end of Stage 1 <ul><li>“ I felt that I have achieved quite a lot. I actively used journals in my research for the first time in a project, and indeed used a range of journals. I also reduced my dependence on books quite a lot. Many of the statistics in the presentation were taken from websites – government departments and agencies. The use of these websites means that my information and figures were reliable and more current. I also used portals and gateways on the Internet following the library exercise and a very good book on sources of information in environmental science in the library reference section”. </li></ul>
  40. 41. Learning log – mid Stage 2 <ul><li>“ There is a large amount of information available on this subject, but a lot of it is very subjective to the views of the campaign groups and not all is based on actual fact. For example the facts I found on the Environment Agency’s website were quite different to the information that I found on the website for the local campaign groups. … Although there is a lot of information available on the negative impacts of incinerators I have tried not to get carried away with them because they are very subjective. I started by looking on the internet but found that the vast amount of information was too much to look through, so I started using books and journals for relevant information. I also feel better about using them as they are more reliable.” </li></ul>
  41. 42. Reflecting on the whole thing - Stage 3 <ul><li>“ It was good having the sessions integrated into Modules throughout the year, we paid much more attention and they seemed much more relevant. The sessions this year really set us on the right track. After them we were better equipped to search for the most appropriate journals, to identify other sources of information and to reference the range of sources of material we have found. Without those sessions I would have really struggled with my research project.” </li></ul>
  42. 43. What Liz learned as a lecturer <ul><li>Direct and credit-bearing assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Contextualisation and practice </li></ul><ul><li>Show IL is valued academically </li></ul><ul><li>Students need encouragement to reflect on skills development </li></ul><ul><li>Continual loop of learning, reflection for those who lead </li></ul><ul><li>Let other module leaders know so they can challenge/ develop </li></ul>
  43. 44. What I learned as a librarian <ul><li>Students benefit from reflecting about their information literacy abilities </li></ul><ul><li>IL should be an integral part of all subject teaching </li></ul><ul><li>IL isn’t just for librarians </li></ul><ul><li>Students ask me different kinds of questions </li></ul><ul><li>It’s very satisfying when it works </li></ul><ul><li>It’s easier to do the second time around </li></ul>
  44. 45. How would you define critical thinking?
  45. 46. Critical thinking – a definition <ul><li>“ Critical thinking is a capacity to work with complex ideas whereby a person can make effective provision of evidence to justify a reasonable judgement. The evidence, and therefore the judgement, will pay appropriate attention to context.” </li></ul><ul><li>Moon 2005 </li></ul>
  46. 47. How does this relate to information literacy? <ul><li>Why do we want students to think critically? </li></ul><ul><li>What do we want students to be able to do? </li></ul><ul><li>What skills are needed to think critically? </li></ul>
  47. 48. Critical thinking, reading and IL <ul><li>The hardship was not understanding. When they give you an assignment and say it was on this handout. But my difficulty is not understanding what to do at first… I think that there’s a lack of my reading ability, which I can’t blame anyone for. I can only blame myself because I don’t like reading. And if you don’t read, you’re not going to learn certain things. So I suppose that’s to do with me…’s reading as well as putting what you read into your essay. You can read it and understand it. I can read and understand it, but then you have to incorporate it into your own words. But in the words they want you to say it in, not just: She said this, and this is the way it should be. The words, the proper language. (Bowl 2003 p90). </li></ul>
  48. 49. Can we help students think about reading critically? <ul><li>If 25% of your marks is from reading, you’ve got to try and show that, even if you haven’t read. I’m not going to sit there and read a chapter, and I’m certainly not going to read a book. But I’ll read little paragraphs that I think are relevant to what I’m writing, and it’s got me through, and my marks have been fine. But I can’t read. If I read too much, it goes over my head. If I’m writing something, I know what I want to say and I need something to back me up… then I will find something in a book that goes with that. I’m not going to try to take in the whole book just for one little bit. I have my book next to me and then I can pick out the bits. (Jenny, full-time community and youth work student). (Bowl 2003 p89). </li></ul>
  49. 50. And help them understand different kinds of critical reading? <ul><li>Help them also to understand that there are different kinds of approaches needed for reading depending on whether they are reading for pleasure, for information, for understanding or reading around a topic; </li></ul><ul><li>Help them to become active readers with a pen and Post-its in hand, rather than passive readers, fitting the task in alongside television and other noisy distractions; </li></ul><ul><li>Give them clear guidance in the early stages about how much they need to read and what kinds of materials they need to focus on. </li></ul>
  50. 51. Aspects of IL : Plagiarism <ul><li>Can we give positive rather than punitive messages? </li></ul><ul><li>How can being more information literate help? </li></ul>
  51. 52. Aspects of IL: Assessment <ul><li>Assessment methods and requirements probably have a greater influence on how and what students learn than any other single factor. This influence may well be of greater importance than the impact of teaching materials” (Boud 1988) </li></ul>
  52. 53. How can we integrate assessment with learning? <ul><li>It needs to be built-in rather than bolt-on; </li></ul><ul><li>Assignments need to be authentic, that is, assessing learning that is identified in the learning outcomes; </li></ul><ul><li>Learning outcomes need to be designed to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-constrained (SMART) </li></ul><ul><li>The assessment strategy should make sure that assignments are fit-for-purpose. </li></ul><ul><li>(Sally Brown, Newcastle, 2007) </li></ul>
  53. 54. How does information literacy relate to assessment? <ul><li>What do you think? </li></ul><ul><li>Should information literacy be assessed within a subject context or mainstreamed as a topic in it’s own right? </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated or stand alone? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we know if we actually make a difference with information literacy ? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we demonstrate this difference to students, academic staff and our line managers? </li></ul>
  54. 55. Stand alone advantages <ul><ul><li>Easier for library staff to offer discrete workshops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online IL packages mean students can learn at their own pace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic staff can pass responsibility ( and contact time) to library staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library staff can develop programmes independently of academic staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library profile – can be seen to be contributing </li></ul></ul>
  55. 56. Stand alone disadvantages <ul><li>Often concentrate on specific IL skills, rather than broader IL attitudes </li></ul><ul><li>Students don’t perceive the session to be essential/ relevant </li></ul><ul><li>Students may not carry knowledge across to other areas of learning </li></ul><ul><li>Less likely to be permanent threshold concept change </li></ul><ul><li>Academic staff are less aware of content </li></ul>
  56. 57. Integrated approach advantages <ul><li>Immediately relevant for students </li></ul><ul><li>Learned as part of subject content (thinking about intertwining threads) </li></ul><ul><li>Possible to address more abstract IL issues </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to be permanent </li></ul><ul><li>Academic staff ownership of IL content </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to plan development/ incremental learning </li></ul>
  57. 58. Integrated approach disadvantages <ul><li>Library staff lose control of IL </li></ul><ul><li>Talking ourselves out of a job? </li></ul><ul><li>Will the academic staff do it right? </li></ul><ul><li>It can be difficult to work with someone else in this way </li></ul><ul><li>Library staff need to know more about pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>It can be time consuming to develop </li></ul><ul><li>Convincing academic/library staff it’s worth it </li></ul>
  58. 59. Some tools and ideas <ul><li>PILOT at QUT </li></ul><ul><li>Newcastle’s IL Toolkit </li></ul><ul><li>Cardiff’s ILRB </li></ul><ul><li>CLink </li></ul><ul><li>Wisewiki </li></ul><ul><li>The Information Literacy Website </li></ul>
  59. 60. <ul><li>Thank you </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>