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Teaching The New Literacy

Presentation for the 2010 Virtual Academic Library Environment (VALE) Annual Conference. Discusses the issues in teaching information literacy to this new generation of college students.

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Teaching The New Literacy

  1. 1. Teaching the New Literacy David McMillan, Caldwell College Valerie Forrestal, Stevens Institute of Technology VALE Annual Conference – 1.8.10
  2. 2. The Problem: <ul><li>Beyond traditional issues faced by libraries instituting an information literacy program, (lack of student engagement, institutional buy-in, faculty indifference…) a new breed of student calls for innovation in pedagogy. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Problem, cont. <ul><li>There is “a widening gap between children’s everyday ‘life worlds’ outside of school and the emphasis of many educational systems” (David Buckingham, Beyond Technology: Children’s Learning in the Age of Digital Culture ) </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Opportunity: <ul><li>This new kind of student presents a problem not only for librarians, but for all educators </li></ul><ul><li>This presents an opportunity for us to look outside the library world to research being done across the fields of education, technology and communication </li></ul><ul><li>This is also a great time for librarians to seek partnerships and cooperation with faculty and administrators, who are also dealing with these issues </li></ul><ul><li>We can place ourselves at the core of this movement in our communities, building library services and resources into this new educational framework </li></ul>
  5. 5. Key Readings: <ul><li>Hanging Out, Messing around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (Ito, et. al., 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age (Head and Eisenberg, Dec. 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology (Smith, Salaway and Caruso, Oct. 2009) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Findings: <ul><li>Students view academic research as a competency learned by rote </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians are still tremendously under-utilized by students (80% said they rarely, if ever, consulted one) </li></ul><ul><li>Students do, however, use library resources (90% reported having used their library’s research databases) </li></ul><ul><li>Students view their instructors, not librarians, as their research coaches </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy course-loads have led students to value efficiency over quality in their research (i.e. they’re not being lazy, they’re capable of formulating complex information-seeking strategies, these strategies focus on efficiency though.) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Findings, cont. <ul><li>We need to integrate web resources into our teaching, not shun them </li></ul><ul><li>Vice versa, we need to place library resources (i.e. proprietary databases) into context with students’ regular info-gathering resources – just add to their “toolkit” </li></ul><ul><li>We need to spend more time training professors so they can pass that knowledge on to the students </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians need to analyze how and why students use library services, not just how often , and focus on developing services that reach the largest audience </li></ul><ul><li>Make self-directed and student-initialized help available at their convenience (i.e. online guides and tutorials, specialized pathfinders, videos and podcasts) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Analysis: <ul><li>Remember, students value efficiency in research, so if you can show them how much time it will save them searching in a full-text scholarly database, vs. sorting through Google results, they are very likely to use it </li></ul><ul><li>We need to keep an open mind about emerging technologies, and how they can be integrated into our teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Social media presents an opportunity for us to extend our pedagogy beyond our allotted class-time </li></ul>
  9. 9. Analysis, cont. <ul><li>Classes need to be more interactive, and provide an opportunities for students to help each other learn (participatory learning) </li></ul><ul><li>Allow students the opportunity to help build a socially-constructed knowledge-base </li></ul><ul><li>Expanding online networks create an opportunity for viral information and knowledge sharing. Facilitate this by having online components/versions of as much of what the library offers as possible (enables students to revisit/share/comment on content) </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>This presentation can be found online @ </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Presenters' contact info: Valerie Forrestal - | David McMillan -