Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Information literacy 2.0

Although I'm not sure how I feel about anything '2.0' it gives us a point of reference so I'm using it for now, ok... Following on from yesterday I thought I'd look more closely at how web 2.0 has impacted on information literacy (IL) programs.

Web 2.0 initiatives have been implemented across libraries in many ways and there is a growing amount of literature dealing with how libraries are using blogs, wikis, RSS, podcasting and other tools to communicate with clients in new ways. There is a smaller amount of literature that evaluates client use of these tools and services with an emphasis on vague "what if" type questions that provide little insight into user experience. The smallest section of this literature pie is dealing with the point of intersection between Web 2.0 and information literacy instruction and in particular evaluation of such programs.  

In much of the literature there is an emphasis on the problem learners have with evaluating information and understanding how to manage it's ethical reuse. This is seen as one of the biggest problems facing IL instructors. So how can Web 2.0 help address this issue? Many libraries now teach clients how to make better use of google, RSS feeds, collaborative software etc. but we need to embed this training within the context those tools are used in so clients can learn to evaluate information and ethically apply its reuse? Godwin (2007) suggests web 2.0 is not about technology but a "state of mind" that needs to be reflected in our IL training. Thus, web 2.0 can help but, it's not about the tools... it's about what you do with them...

Luo claims web 2.0 is blurring the "boundaries between formalised learning and informalised play" (p.33) in a way that encourages learners to integrate their sense of self into their learning. Her research examines how web 2.0 is being used in IL instruction and how effective it is. Findings suggest IL instructors who are proactive and creative in their approach to integrating web 2.0 into their teaching are effective in helping students master IL concepts and skills through enhanced interaction and collaboration (p.39). Staying current, experimentation and creativity are seen as very important if trainers are to cope with the constantly evolving web 2.0 world (Godwin, 2007). 

To achieve IL 2.0 success Williams suggests a hybrid model (just like the prius) of IL instruction that combines online and face-to-face learning. Most libraries have already taken on this model by providing face-to-face and online training however, can we bring the two closer together so they are more of a complimentary pair rather than competing individuals. A convergence of physical and digital IL programs can enhance the learning environment by providing multiple learning pathways, 'just in time' access and revision of training. Williams also suggests web 2.0 has enabled IL training to encompass multi-media and gaming which ultimately means FUN!

In general the debate seems to be divided over how we can use web 2.0 to enhance our IL instruction delivery versus how we can do that and also teach how to use web.2.0 to effectively organise, evaluate, create and reuse information. Quite different perspectives. In case you can't tell I'm for the latter.   

Overall, the literature emphasizes four main points:
  • teaching critical thinking skills so clients can effectively evaluate the validity and authority of information
  • develop an understanding of ethical issues relating to reuse, copyright and correct attribution
  • constant experimentation by educators in the face of a rapidly evolving 2.0 world
  • more emphasis on evaluation of these new programs
That's enough for now. Maybe tomorrow I'll do away with the serious stuff and tell ya'll about all the cool innovative IL 2.0 training going on out there. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Some light reading:
Luo, 2010. Web 2.0 integration in information literacy instruction: An overview
Williams, 2010. New tools for online information literacy instruction
Godwin, 2007. Information literacy meets web 2.0: how new tools affect our own training and our teaching

    1 comment:

    1. Fabulous post! I'm struggling with some of this at the moment - I am currently only able to deliver information literacy training online due to a whole pile of timetable issues and am actively seeking whatever web 2.0 tools I can use to mix up the message - hoping to reach at least some of the students with at least some of the information some of the time.