Librarians, Learning and Information Literacy in the Digital Age

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  1. 1. Librarians, learning and information literacy in the digital age Dr Jane Secker, London School of Economics Librarians as Teachers, ARLG West Midlands 10th June 2015 Image: Kevin Dooley, CC BY-NC 2.0
  2. 2. 2015: time to reflect What has changed in the last 5 years in your role? Are you more or less recognised as a teacher? #LibTeach2015
  3. 3. Librarians as teachers ... We are talking about information literacy (IL) in the digital age But what do we mean?
  4. 4. Librarians as teachers ... We are talking about information literacy (IL) But what do we mean? Library instruction
  5. 5. Librarians as teachers ... We are talking about information literacy (IL) But what do we mean? Library instruction User education
  6. 6. Librarians as teachers ... We are talking about information literacy (IL) But what do we mean? Library instruction User education Bibliographic training
  7. 7. Get outside the library bubble Kitty behind the bubble by Beatnik photos licensed under CC-BY
  8. 8. The role of the teacher in the digital age Signpost by thepicturedrome licensed under CC-BY-NC
  9. 9. Threshold concepts & liminality A threshold concept can be considered as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something. - Jan Meyer & Ray Land
  10. 10. Information literacy ... supports transition Higher education is not just more education, but different. Students coming from school are not sure what learning is - its always been managed for them. (ANCIL Expert Consultation Report, 2011, p.20) Secker and Coonan, 2011
  11. 11. Information literacy ... develops independent learners It involves students being able to articulate the expectations of a new information context, and also being able to reflect on their own learning. Part of the process of becoming an independent learner also involves helping a student understand more about the process of learning. (ANCIL Expert Consultation Report, 2011, p.22) Secker and Coonan, 2011
  12. 12. Information literacy ... includes the social dimension of information As a profession, we need to think about what students need to know and be able to apply in the information environment. Our commitment should be to life-long learning rather than the longer life of our library resources. (ANCIL Expert Consultation Report, 2011, p.28) Secker and Coonan, 2011
  13. 13. Information literacy is a continuum of skills, behaviours, approaches and values that is so deeply entwined with the uses of information as to be a fundamental element of learning, scholarship and research. It is the defining characteristic of the discerning scholar, the informed and judicious citizen, and the autonomous learner. (ANCIL definition of information literacy, 2011)
  14. 14. ANCIL: Rethinking IL Secker & Coonan (2011)
  15. 15. Technology
  16. 16. Challenging perceptions of IL if the teachers, whether theyre school or university teachers, dont have the same view of IL that we do, its always going to be [about] the skills. And the skills are fine but anybody can teach the skills; its teaching the changing attitude and the different approach that I think has to come from the teachers. (ANCIL Expert Consultation Report, 2011)
  17. 17. Credibility not capability
  18. 18. Being able to use different ways of finding information and being able to judge whether the information is trustworthy or accurate is vital: it opens up choices, empowers us and can give us more confidence. (Welsh Information Literacy Project, 2011)
  19. 19. Qualifications and staff development
  20. 20. Information literacy .... empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right ... (UNESCO, 2005)
  21. 21. Victorian mindmapped man by LukePDQ, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  22. 22. If the learner/user becomes information literate, that is, self-sufficient, then the role of the information professional is necessarily redefined as the one of facilitator of learning, rather than provider of information. (Andretta, 2005)
  23. 23. Image credit: Gungahlin Public Library (reproduced by permission of Libraries ACT) Image Gungahlin Public Library (reproduced by permission of Libraries ACT) The challenge becomes, not finding that scarce plant growing in the desert, but finding a specific plant growing in a jungle. We are going to need help navigating that information to find the thing we actually need." - Neil Gaiman
  24. 24. The SADL Project 2013-2015 Collaborative Project: Library Learning Technology and Innovation (LTI) Teaching and Learning Centre Student Union IT Training Engagement with 4 academic departments Social Policy, Statistics, Law, International Relations 40 student ambassadors
  25. 25. Undergraduate support at LSE 2012 Audit of undergraduate support proved a catalyst Used ANCIL as audit tool Report: Bell et al (2012) Found support was patchy Transition was offered by all / none Help offered at point of need / crisis Assumptions that others were responsible Assumptions : dangerous!
  26. 26. Working with students as partners Key focus in UK with Jisc Change Agents Network Building student engagement in conjunction with the top down approach ie having a strategy Digital literacy is a key area were we have a lot to learn from students Avoids falling for the digital native rhetoric
  27. 27. SADL workshops Workshop 1: Introduction to the SADL project: finding and evaluating information Workshop 2: Reading and research practices Workshop 3: Managing and sharing information Workshop 4: Managing your digital identity All resources on project website:
  28. 28. How do you approach an assignment? Workshop 2: reading and writing in your discipline?
  29. 29. Workshop 4: Managing your digital identity Digital Footprint: why does it matter?
  30. 30. SADL Senior Ambassadors Senior ambassadors appointed to mentor students Planned and helped teach each workshop Invaluable source of advice and support for teachers Useful experience for students Our greatest champions?
  31. 31. Lessons learnt to date Developing relationships with students takes time and need to build trust Workshops require: Clear aims and objectives but flexibility A lot of preparation time A suitable learning space Valuable staff development new techniques, activities Ambassador role requires clear expectations and ways to facilitate peer support and mentoring Need greater support from academic departments and other students to make a wider impact
  32. 32. The librarian as teacher? Photo by Andrew_Writer licensed under CC-BY-NC
  33. 33. What did the little bird tell us?
  34. 34. There are no answers, only more questions... / @jsecker
  35. 35. Further reading Bell, Maria and Moon, Darren and Secker, Jane (2012) Undergraduate support at LSE: the ANCIL report. The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. Available at: Threshold Concepts and Information Literacy LSE SADL Project website and resources (2014) Available at: Secker, J and Coonan, E (2011) A New Curriculum for Information Literacy. Available at: Secker, Jane, Karnad, Arun , Bell, Maria, Wilkinson, Ellen and Provencher, Claudine (2014) Student ambassadors for digital literacy (SADL): project final report. Learning Technology and Innovation , London, UK. Available at:


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