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Entries in Digital Literacy (11)

Tuesday
Dec062016

Information Literacy Symposium. 18th November 2016, Glasgow

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) and The Right Information, the Scottish Information Literacy Community of Practice hosted a Digital and Information Literacy Symposium examining the relevance of digital and information literacy in relation to health, education, housing, employability and welfare reform. The central theme was how we ensure equality of access to information across the country and reduce the gap between the information rich and information poor.

 symposium

SLIC has uploaded the presentations and curated tweets from the symposium. Here is our summary of the day:

 

Information Literacy in Impoverished Circumstances: Insights from information Behaviour Research

Dr Steven Buchanan, Head of Information Science (iLab) Research Group & Director of PG Teaching, University of Strathclyde

@StrathCIS

Steven described the research iLab is conducting in a range of groups including:

  • Information seeking behaviours of Young mothers
  • Information behaviours of disadvantaged and disengaged adolescents

However, Steven pointed out that iLab research suggests that we need to review how public libraries meet the information needs of people in disadvantaged and disengaged circumstances, and develop core literacy skills. An action-oriented interdisciplinary approach (bringing together academia and practitioners) should support this work.

 

Information Literacy in the Health Sector

Annette Thain, Manager Knowledge Services, NHS Education for Scotland

@athain @nesknowledge

Annette took us through a wide range of resources in the NHSScotland Knowledge Network that support health literacy. Health literacy was defined as people having enough knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence to use health information, to be active partners in their care, and to navigate the health and social care systems. These resources include:

Clinical librarian and outreach librarian roles involve carrying out information sourcing on behalf of health professionals. Generally the librarian is part of the clinical team and must work quickly and accurately to find relevant research evidence and other information so that care and treatment can be decided on. This is an expanding role in the health information professional workforce and research has shown that clinical/health librarians do make a difference to the quality of care be enabling health care staff to:

  • Be effective and safe practitioners
  • Work as part of a multidisciplinary team
  • Help patients and the public gain the skills and ability to find, understand and apply health information as and when required to do so

It was interesting to hear results of NHS Education for Scotland research which showed 75% of health staff surveyed would ask Google before asking colleagues. One final tip which I’ll be checking out was how to bookmark tweets you like by linking your Twitter account to your Diigo account.

 

Digitally Agile National Principles

Liz Green, Senior Development Officer, YouthLink Scotland

@lizfmgreen @digitallyagile

Liz explained the work of the Digitally Agile Community Learning and Development Project. This focused on the 3 phases of the Digitally Agile National Principles - a national framework of guiding principles for the use of digital technology and social media in community learning and development.

The 9 principles have been designed to be used and adapted by anyone who feels that focus and clarity is needed in digital technology and social media learning. The principles are of particular importance to those working in organisations and services from the statutory, voluntary and community sectors .  Those working in this area work with some of the most disadvantaged groups in society.  The principles are easily related to everyday practical teaching and can help those disadvantaged groups increase their digital literacy and improve their lives.

It was also interesting to hear of the other work YouthLink Scotland is involved with. This includes:

  • The Digital Youth Network - a network for practitioners who are using digital tools and online spaces in their work with young people
  • 5Rights - takes the existing rights of children and young people (under 18) and articulates them for the digital world
  • LGBT Youth Scotland which now offers an anonymous live chat service around a range of topics i.e. sexting
  • #notwithoutme project - engaging and building young people's digital literacy

 

Digital Learning & Cultural Practice

Dr Cristina Costa, Lecturer in Technology Enhanced Learning, University of Strathclyde

@cristinacost

New networking cultures are emerging as more and more people engage digitally.  Working and communicating digitally is changing some of the fundamental ways people connect, interact, share, and work. A new networking culture appears to be evolving as a result. It is increasing vital that new forms of engagement are put in to practice in all areas of working life and at home. The world is a very competitive place to live and work and it is therefore important to keep up to date with developments and advancements in terms of collaboration, personal and professional development. The technology has to become more than a tool, it must become an enabler, a concept and a mind-set. The aim being to allow us to become knowledgeable  in digital literacies in order to becoming knowledge able and apply new skills in our everyday lives.  Aiming to have the confidence to create, evaluate, analyse and apply these new skills.

Cristina then described the digital learning and teaching strategy for Scotland in 4 quadrants, highlighting its relevance to each:

  • Develop Skills – Educators, Skills and Confidence
  • Improve Access – Learners, Access
  • Empower – Leaders, Drive Innovation
  • Enhance – Curriculum and Assessment

Cristina developed this by then explaining the importance of critical digital literacy. By applying these skills we can recognise the Internet as a place to access knowledge networks. The skills also allow us to use free online tools like Wikipedia - but take them at face value. Users also need to be aware that employers may now routinely Google for information about applicants to find out more about them. This is one reason why we should all be aware of our digital identity (persona) and what we say online.

One key message we took away from this session was to try and mirror users’ online behaviours when providing information online. So if they're used to searching trip advisor – try and present information in a similar format.

 

Basic Digital Skills & Information Literacy

Beth Murphy, One Digital Project Officer, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

@betty_murphy @digiscot

Beth gave a very clear and interesting presentation on the work SCVO is doing to tackle inequality by equipping individuals with basic digital skills. SCVO’s One Digital initiative was also highlighted.

Having the skills to apply our knowledge of digital skills in every aspect of daily life, particularly in the workplace we must be able to find, evaluate, use and manage information that is valued by employers.  We must be confident when working online and be able to know which information we can trust to ensure that it is fit for purpose.    Once we have source our information and selected the appropriate material we must be able to keep up to date with any further developments.  We must think about our digital presence – be safe and ensure that we bear in mind that anyone can put information on the web , emphasising the importance of selecting appropriate material or evidence to help support decision making.

Beth then focused on the Basic Digital Skills Framework - a really valuable resource which can be used by individuals and organisations to help people to assess and develop their digital skills. Another resource worth checking out is Doteveryone. Created by Martha Lane Fox to understand and address the moral and social challenges the Internet presents, in order to help make life fairer and simpler for everyone in the UK. Beth finished by outlining SCVO’s future plans which include:

 

Meet The Hackers

Gerry Grant and Adam Rapley, Ethical Hacking Consultants, Scottish Business Resilience Centre

@abertayhackers

The best session I’ve ever attended on cyber security - Gerry and Adam’s entertaining reality check on cyber security had many attendees vowing they were going to update passwords and be more aware about protecting their data. The Scottish Business Resilience Centre offers business services including security assessments, footprinting (finding someone's digital footprint) and training on cyber security. There is more information on this in SBRC’s resources. They presented many tips to help us secure our data – some of which we hadn’t considered before:

  • Always back up your data
  • Never click a link on an email unless you know who it’s from and what it is. Mouseover the sender to reveal the email address it came from.
  • System updates matter - always take the upgrade when prompted
  • Use strong alpha-numeric passwords and include symbols. A space also counts as symbol – though very few people use it
  • Use different password for different accounts
  • Or use passphrases instead of a passwords. These are harder for hackers to find and may be easier for you to remember. An example of creating and remembering a good passphrase
  • Also consider password managers such as Lastpass and 1password
  • Use two factor authentication when offered – e.g. Google accounts
  • Check the privacy settings on your social media accounts
  • Be aware that social media accounts are totally public by default, and can include personal details such as your location unless you make them private (or at least turn location off)
  • Be wary when using free public wifi. You could be connecting to a fake wifi network hackers have set up to intercept your data. Make sure the URL of the wifi network starts with https. Turn off wifi and click on forget network when you’re finished using it
  • Use wigle.net to find wifi networks

cake

Paul Gray and Morag Higgison

Friday
Nov072014

ECIL Conference Dubrovnik 20-23rd October 2014

The second European conference on information literacy took place in Dubrovnik this year. Bill Johnston was the rapporteur for the conference this year and with his permission I enclose his summary of all 175 abstracts from the conference. It is an excellent summary of the conference content.

John Crawford

ECIL 2014

Commentary on the Abstracts

Bill Johnston, Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Strathclyde, Scotland, UK b.johnston@strath.ac.uk 

The following impressions are based on my reading of the abstracts for papers, posters, pecha kucha sessions, workshops and panels accepted for ECIL 2014. 

During the conference I will be accessing a variety of sessions in order to present my further impressions and conclusions in the closing session of the conference.  I look forward to meeting colleagues and hearing their views on the current status of information literacy and the directions for future research, practice and advocacy.  

Introduction – What are we talking about in 2014?

The elements which constitute information literacy, as described in the abstracts, are mainly based on long-standing accounts of information literacy, such as those entailed in the ACRL Standards, Big6 model and other professional contributions. Consequently ‘assessing’ ‘searching’ ’ managing’ ‘evaluating’ ‘applying’ etc. are recurring key terms used to express the concept of information literacy.  Additional terms in use include:

  • digital literacy;
  • health literacy;
  • visual literacy;
  • infographics;
  • media and information literacy;
  • information behaviour;
  • trans-literacy;
  • post-literacy.  

This range of terms suggests an opportunity for a focused debate on the nature and scope of information literacy at this point in time. 

A frequently used framing strategy in the writing of the abstracts is to position the significance of information literacy in relation to broader notions of: 

  • information society;
  • digital society;
  • multimedia society;
  • knowledge economy;
  • the 21st century.  

These entities may suggest a relatively homogeneous perspective, with connotations of a particular kind of socio-technological formation and political economy.  However complementary and alternative conceptions of information literacy are represented in the abstracts, which should serve to extend the discussion. For example:  

  • indigenous perspectives;
  • post-colonial experiences; 
  • critical information literacy;
  • socio-cultural  interpretations of information literacy;
  • radical information literacy;
  • Green perspective.

Again an opportunity to discuss where and how information literacy connects to wider social and economic formulations and movements.  

In essence we have the opportunity to talk about not only the micro levels of information literacy experiences, individual’s searching for example, but also the broader social, cultural and historical contexts that encompass them. 

Methodological Features

A number of studies are founded on research, with a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods in use.   Research approaches and designs include:  

  • correlations between a chosen population’s perceptions and capacities, and an established professional/governmental framework for information literacy;
  • comparative evaluations of specific technologies and course designs;
  • phenomenography;
  • ethnography;
  • action research;
  • grounded theory;
  • bibliometric analysis and systematic literature reviews 

Equally a number of the studies offer detailed accounts of projects, new service designs and collaborative initiatives aimed at improving practice and raising the profile of information literacy in particular institutions. 

Universities

The bulk of contributions is from higher education institutions and mainly constituted by examples from university library practice. They illuminate multiple aspects of academic practice including:

  • adoption of educational theory and concepts as a basis for pedagogical decision making;
  • introduction of relatively new constructs, such as ‘Threshold Concepts’;
  • expanding/evaluating the range of technologies, particularly mobile devices, entailed by blended learning;
  • gameification of instructional design and teaching practice;
  • emphasis on active, collaborative, inquiry-based pedagogy to engender independent learning, critical thinking and a wider range of academic and professional skill;
  • acknowledgment of the importance of systematic course design as a key element of academic practice;
  • focus on assessment of learning;
  • specific initiatives for postgraduates and post doctoral students;
  • discipline specific examples, including LIS education programmes;
  • dealing with plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

Dissatisfaction with ‘one-shot’ teaching sessions is evident and linked to moves to develop longer sequences of integrated activities, with a much greater engagement with disciplinary and professional curricula and university-wide values and strategic objectives.  Consequently there is attention to larger units of analysis and action such as Freshman/First Year Experience initiatives, and institution/department-wide reform and re-design of curricula.

It seems clear that many university librarians are determined to make their universities more information literate, and to do this by moving their teaching and instructional services forward as part of educational development in their organisations. 

Primary and Secondary Schools 

A significant number of contributions focus on this sector and include:

  • implementation of national curricula;
  • teacher/librarian collaboration;
  • inclusion of parents and families in supporting pupils;
  • online ‘risks’ and ‘safety’;
  • entailing information and other literacies in curricula and school practice;
  • measures to improve pupil information literacy; 

Public Libraries

Whilst there are a small number of contributions, there is a strong sense of ‘mission’ to provide information rich environments for the widest range of patrons to meet their varied purposes, and to foster the skilled use of information technologies in the service of that mission.  There is an equally strong sense of combating inequality and helping marginalised sections of the community.   Given the capacity of public libraries to impact large and varied populations, the number of contributions should not be taken as a potential weakness for the conference.

National Studies

A variety of studies are provided including: 

  • information literacy in citizen development;
  • public libraries contribution to socioeconomic inclusion;
  • sectoral and cross-sectoral overviews of information literacy policy and practice;
  • whole age group studies;
  • specialist groups studies;
  • historical accounts of information literacy;
  • development of a professional community of practice for information literacy;
  • database development;
  • implications of copyright legislation.

The range of national origins of these contributions goes beyond the formal borders of Europe and underlines the strong international character of the conference.

Themes 

The themes I identified are diverse; some are discussed singly in their own right, whilst others are entailed in particular contexts.  Themes include:

  • nature and definition of information literacy;
  • relations between research and practice;
  • nature and meaning of ‘reading’ in understanding information literacy;
  • implications of changes in copyright arrangements in digital publishing;
  • generational approaches, seniors as well as younger age groups;
  • media socialisation.

Conclusion – Where are we going in 2014?

It is difficult to sum up the riches promised by the abstracts, however my short formulation of the direction of travel is – creating information literacy and lifelong learning for digital citizenship in the 21st century.

 

Bill Johnston

12/09/14

Thursday
Sep042014

#lilac14 – notes from this year’s LILAC

Jenny Foreman & Paul Gray from the Scottish Government Library attended the 10th LILAC (Librarians' Information Literacy Annual Conference) hosted by Sheffield Hallam University from 23rd-25th April 2014.

Visit the Library's blog to read our summary of the action, followed by our pick of the presentations.

Tuesday
Jul082014

Developing Digital Literacies for a Digital World - ALISS agm speaker papers now available 

Catching up on some email alerts that I thought would be of interest to the CoP and articles that I need to add to my to read pile. 

ALISS AGM 2014: Developing Digital Literacies for a Digital World papers now accessible. 

  • Start with the Staff -Sally Patalong provides insight into the digital fluency initiative at Coventry University- a practical project to upskill the library staff.

For information about  ALISS see their website

 

Thursday
Jul032014

DigiScotFest14

I attended the above event, held on Monday, 16th June, at the Informatics Forum at Edinburgh University. It was organised by the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations. It was well attended and attracted delegates from local authorities, charities and voluntary bodies, universities, the NHS and, of course, libraries. It was organised on the unconference model and took the form of 40 group discussions carried out in a fairly informal fashion. There was also a debate about digital and human rights. This consisted of short presentations by three speakers including Chris Yiu of SCVO and Professor Michael Fourman. Some fairly familiar themes cropped up: the rights to education, leisure and a cultural life and the role of education in getting people into employment. The problems of the disabled who are more likely to be digitally excluded were also raised. Professor Fourman suggested that digital inclusion should be a civil right and that there should be a digital infrastructure which fosters equality of opportunity. He also emphasised the seriousness of the growing state surveillance culture, stating that everyone had a right to privacy.

After that I attended a discussion on how we can include people digitally when they are financially excluded. Much of the discussion focused on the Government’s digitisation of benefits payments and its consequences and the Universal Jobmatch Scheme. I was struck by the fact that there were two groups of people present who were doing similar work but had never heard of each other which raises interesting questions about local planning partnerships.

In the afternoon I attended a discussion about the role of public libraries in today’s digital society. There was little discussion about information literacy or reading. Employability was the main topic with concern expressed about the consequences of the Universal Credit Scheme, the problems it was causing claimants including sanctions and what librarians could do to help. Firewalls and the problems they cause also provoked a lot of discussion.

It was good to see librarians engaging with the digital participation agenda although it is a little concerning that so much attention seems to be focusing around the Universal Credit Scheme and less on information issues. Apologies for the delay in posting but I have been busy with time limited writing, not to mention the good weather.

John Crawford