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EDUCAUSE James W. Marcum, Ph.D. College of Staten Island City University of New York © Educause, Indianapolis, October 2001 Rethinking Information Literacy.

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Presentation on theme: "EDUCAUSE James W. Marcum, Ph.D. College of Staten Island City University of New York © Educause, Indianapolis, October 2001 Rethinking Information Literacy."— Presentation transcript:

1 EDUCAUSE James W. Marcum, Ph.D. College of Staten Island City University of New York © Educause, Indianapolis, October 2001 Rethinking Information Literacy

2 Information Literacy (“Library” definition) 4 Knowing when information is needed 4 Identifying the information needed 4 Accessing the needed information 4 Evaluating the information 4 Organizing the information 4 Using the information effectively to solve the problem American Library Association, Final Report... Information Literacy. (1989).

3 Information Literacy (IL) Initiative : IL as essential to Lifelong Learning Breivik & Gee, Information Literacy (ACE, 1989) : IL incorporates current trends –Service Learning –Resource-based Learning –Undergraduate Research –Problem-based Learning Breivik, Student Learning in the Information Age (ACE, 1998)

4 IL: Other Contributions 4 Nurturing self-reliant learners 4 Studies of student learning practices 4 Assumptions of IL: –Grounded in Information Technology (IT) –Based on knowledge of information sources –Use of tools to manage information to create new knowledge Marcum, “Rethinking Information Literacy,” Library Quarterly (January 2002, forthcoming)

5 Information Literacy: Now Well Established 4 Demanded by Accrediting Agencies. 4 Integrated into the curriculum 4 Studied and evaluated 4 “Information Literacy Librarians” 4 Encompassing Public libraries and School libraries as well

6 So … it’s time to “review” This paper will : 4 Critique the premises of the “information- processing paradigm” at the core of IL 4 Briefly review IL’s “learning” assumptions 4 Consider the adequacy of the “literacy” proposed amidst –a visual culture and –clear workplace competency shortcomings 4 Suggest an appropriate stance for the future

7 Is Information Processing the Appropriate Paradigm? 4 Start: math theory of communication (bits, signals, measures, entropy) - Shannon & Weaver 4 Representation (symbols used by computers & human mind) - H. Simon; J. Fodor 4 Content analysis (statistical, linguistic, and communication models) - Krippendorff 4 Flow of information -Dretske 4 Noise => Data => Information => Knowledge

8 INFORMATION PROCESSING AND TRANSFER PARADIGM 4 COGNITION: Human mind like a computer 4 COMMUNICATION as signal 4 INSTRUCTION as method 4 CONTENT TRANSFER as purpose 4 INFORMATION ACCUMULATION as goal; more is better (i.e. more intelligence)

9 INFORMATION PROCESSING AND TRANSFER PARADIGM INSTRUCTOR STUDENT RESOURCES SUBJECT TEACHING Communication

10 Prevalence of the Information Processing Model 4 Ubiquitous computing 4 Telecommunications-based interactivity 4 Internet and World-Wide-Web 4 Assumptions of the cognitive sciences 4 Classroom teaching practices

11 Anomalies in the IP Paradigm 4 Information  Knowledge (-Salomon) 4 Inappropriate identification of mental & computer logic (-Brier ) 4 Language: not signal, but the thought itself (-Carruthers) 4 New cognitive neurosciences encompass emotion and “knowledge management” (-Gazzamiga )

12 Gibson’s “ecological model” of perception, information and knowledge 4 Information = human communication (2nd-hand information only) 4 Environment does NOT “signal” observer 4 In short: IP Paradigm is too simplistic

13 Is “Learning” the Appropriate Methodology? 4 center of process 4 Information Literacy theorists and practitioners are “constructivists” –Learning as dynamic, emergent, interactive, 4 IL could be more “contextual,” situated 4 Assessment: a major challenge –In sum: IL “passes” this test, at least as well as the education “establishment ” - Iannuzzi; Bruce

14 Is “Information” the Appropriate Literacy? 4 Level I Literacy: ability to read and write 4 Level II: Fluency in a second language, code, or technology –a social pattern of skills, with material support to achieve a valued intellectual purpose - A. diSessa, Changing Minds (MIT, 2000 )

15 Level III Literacy: Many-faceted 4 Visual Literacy: –cope with mass media, morphing, etc. –multi-indexical (codified and tacit knowledge) - K. Henderson, On Line and On Paper (MIT, 1999) 4 Technological Literacy: computer literacy 4 Advanced Literacies: –networked, interactive, social –knowledge media (dynamic, public, transient) - Daniel, Mega-Universities & Knowledge Media (London, 1998)

16 What is the Appropriate Literacy? 4 Multiple Literacies –Tool Literacies –Representation Literacies (print, media, etc.) –K. Tyner, Literacy in a Digital World (Erlbaum, 1998) 4 Workplace Literacies

17 Workplace Literacies: Competency? Fluency? Expertise? 4 Ultimate goal: assure that graduates are prepared to function in the Information Age –Requires Lifelong Learning (since skills are dated) 4 Workplace Literacy –Both personal and social skills –Technological, functional in specific work –Social engagement, context –Experience in practice (not just theory) –Hull, Changing Work, Changing Workers (SUNY, 1997).

18 Current Proposals: Are they compatible? 4 “General” competence IT Competence : –Skills, personality traits, and knowledge, both tacit: experience and cognition, and explicit: applications, systems, management –Investment in learning = profitability –Required of effective top managers as well

19 Additional Proposal 4 Specific proposed competence IT Fluency: –The FIT individual is articulate, can synthesize information, and reformulate knowledge effectively –In order to successfully apply IT to complex situations –National Research Council, Being Fluent with Information Technology (Washington, 1999).

20 Alternative Approach: Expertise 4 Expertise: (cognitively) = more and better knowledge, better-organized knowledge, problem-solving capabilities, and superior creative and practical abilities 4 Additionally: tacit knowledge, social understanding within domain, expert agents and systems, and situated - contextual knowledge. –Feltovich, et al., Expertise in Context (AAAI/MIT, 1999).

21 Implications 4 Ultimately, it is functional competency that is required, not just literacy. 4 Such competency / fluency can only be developed fully on the job 4 Educators can accomplish this goal only in partnership with the workplace 4 … relieving us of explicit responsibility, yet demanding new alliances and tactics.

22 In Conclusion Is IL Reaching too Far? 4 Tools + resources + research process + practical abilities 4 Service learning + inquiry learning + problem based learning + collaboration 4 IL reaches too far if –1. it requires every information seeker to become a librarian –2. IL becomes synonymous with “learning”

23 IL: Too Narrow a View? 4 And yet not far enough; IL still too oriented –toward print (when more visual and technological and interactive skills are required) – … and toward the individual (must heed the social determinants of learning effectiveness and workplace expertise)

24 4 To accomplish its goals IL must refocus on the challenges of socio-technical fluency for the workplace

25 Information Literacy: Now Well Established 4 Demanded by Accrediting Agencies. 4 Integrated into the curriculum 4 Studied and evaluated 4 “Information Literacy Librarians” 4 Encompassing Public libraries and School libraries as well

26 Proposals

27 4


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