Connect, Collaborate, and Create (Blog 2)

Follow-Up Thoughts from Blog Post 1

In my last blog post, I discussed how I would define information literacy and how I don’t hear as much conversation about teaching the ethics of using information. I found in the readings for this week that my perception was skewed, because there is a lot of conversation going on about ethics in information literacy.

Also, a small part of ACRL’s definition of IL in their most current draft of the new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education really stood out to me: “The repertoire involves…using information to answer questions and develop new ones” (lines 64-65, italics are my own). The concept that as information literate individuals we should not just be answering questions and repeating what others say, but using the information to encourage further learning and inquiry is a really important one.

Technology, Information Literacy, and Libraries

When I was thinking about the this week’s readings, I started thinking of words and ideas that were central to most or all of the readings. Concepts such as connecting (information, ideas, people, literacies), collaborating, and creating knowledge were all central (and incidentally all start with C). This seems to be a major shift in the way we think about learning and information, and it is all due to everyone’s favorite agent of change: technology.

I was an undergraduate student between 2006 and 2010. During this time, the social media landscape really exploded and developed (blogs were growing, Facebook opened up to everyone and grew tremendously, Twitter was created). However, I have no memory of ever being exposed to the idea that I was a creator or a contributor of knowledge. I remember being exposed to this idea after college. It drastically changed how I thought about the work I had done as a student, and I wondered why I hadn’t learned the concept before.

It’s not news to anyone, but technology and Web 2.0 have drastically changed our information environment. Now, anyone can start a blog or a Twitter or YouTube account and participate in knowledge creation. While this user-generated content still seen as more of a threat when I was a college student, the readings for class really emphasized the value in joining learning conversations in this manner. How are different information sources like Wikipedia, peer-reviewed journal articles, Twitter conversations, and blog posts best used?

Looking at the changes from the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, I can see how technology has shifted our focus as librarians. Instead of library-centric skills, we’re trying to find new ways to prepare learners to become part of the scholarly conversation much sooner and more easily than has ever been possible before. By framing our instruction with concepts like metaliteracy (connecting the various types of emerging literacies) and connectivism (a theory that looks at learning as occuring when connections are made), we will better empower learners of all types.

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