In the past year, the term “fake news” first began to be used broadly, as part of the immediate media analysis and critique of the way false information easily circulated during the 2016 Presidential Election. Previously, fake news referred to made-up or distorted news, as evident in the kind of comedy routines we see on TV or read about in satirical publications, either in print or online. But soon thereafter, the term fake news itself was appropriated in a new and more cynical way to attack prominent news sources that countered in any way the narrative of “alternative facts” being presented. Welcome to the “post-truth era” and one of the many literacy challenges we face in today’s connected world. The term “Post-truth” was the topic of a book by Ralph Keyes in 2004, but took on new relevance in 2016 to describe the proliferation of misleading and untruthful information communicated by the famous and unknown through social media and other sources. The 2016 Oxford Dictionaries’ identified “Post-truth” as the international word of the year, and describes a situation “in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
This is the environment in which we celebrate and promote UNESCO’s Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2017, which runs from October 25 through November 1, 2017. A variety of terms are used for this crucial set of abilities and dispositions that help us to navigate through what are now particularly turbulent seas of information: Information literacy, media and information literacy, digital literacy, information fluency, and even Google literacy. Regardless of what it is called, having a command of literacies connected to information has taken on a critical importance for informed citizens in today’s complex and connected social media ecosystem. All of these approaches to literacy have value and advance critical thinking and learning in today’s world. We have contributed to this discussion by developing metaliteracy as a pedagogical framework for advancing critical and reflective thinking.
In 2016, we wrote an essay that addressed one of the significant concerns in a post-truth world and did so from an educational perspective. How can we learn to reject fake news in the digital world? focuses on the dangers of consuming, producing, and sharing false information. We argue that we need a reflective and participatory approach to address these challenges, given the unfortunate circumstances in which truth has been questioned in today’s political and social media environments. Because of metaliteracy’s emphasis on the active contribution of ideas in these spaces, we argued that, “Metaliteracy asks that individuals understand on a mental and emotional level the potential impact of one’s participation.” Doing so goes beyond effectively using the technology to seeing oneself as a responsible participant who carefully reflects on one’s own thinking and actions in these environments.
From our viewpoint, we are especially interested in exploring reflective learning as a way to empower individuals to continuously adapt to changing technologies while being responsible consumers and producers of digital information. Through this work, we are involved in expanding the roles of learners even further from consumer of information to participant, communicator, author, and researcher.
As an extension of these ideas, we focus specifically on several key components of metaliteracy in this blog post. Metaliteracy expands the understanding of UNESCO’s media and information literacy in our collaborative, social media-infused online environment with a focus on four learning domains. Yet metaliteracy and media and information literacy (MIL) have components in common, and strive toward informed, ethical, and engaged use and creation of information.
We have published several articles and two books about metaliteracy, including: Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (London: Facet and Chicago: ALA, 2014) and Metaliteracy in Practice (London: Facet and Chicago: ALA, 2016). As noted in the latter book:
Metaliteracy applies to all stages and facets of an individual’s life. It is not limited to the academic realm, nor is it something to be learned once and for all. Indeed, metaliteracy focuses on adaptability as information environments change and [on] the critical reflection necessary to recognize new and evolving needs in order to remain adept. (Jacobson and Mackey, 2016, xv-xvi)
Metaliteracy is more than a model to be applied in academic settings and is an approach to better understand our everyday experience with living and learning in today’s connected world. It is especially pertinent now that we have many opportunities to contribute and collaborate through social media while also being faced with so much misinformation and division.
What might we learn from metaliteracy to help us through these trying times? Let’s start by examining this central image:
By organizing the rings around the metaliterate learner, this graphic emphasizes the importance of an ongoing desire to learn. As illustrated in this image, the metaliterate learner is a complex, whole person who engages in four domains of learning: metacognitive, cognitive, behavioral, and affective. This circular diagram shows that metaliteracy places an emphasis on metacognition, as seen in the upper left quadrant of the middle ring. Metacognition involves thinking about one’s own thinking, and self-regulating what still needs to be learned. But the other three learning domains are also important: the cognitive domain (the knowledge that comes with learning), the affective (changes in attitudes that accompany learning, as well as the willingness to have an open attitude), and the behavioral (what one is able to do following learning). The outer ring on the diagram shows the roles that learners take on in our participatory information environment, roles that should be informed by the learning goals and objectives. We are all learning all the time—there is no set point at which one starts to assume these active roles.
As we move to the outer ring, we see all of the active roles the metaliterate learner plays, empowered by a reflective core that includes an intersection of knowledge gained, changes in attitude, and ongoing development of abilities or proficiencies. The metaliterate learner is an active participant in social spaces, either in person or online, an effective communicator, using and adapting to technologies as needed, and a translator of information, moving from one form or mode to another, adapting and repurposing information and ideas through this process. In this context, the empowered metaliterate learner is an effective author of documents in various forms and both learner and teacher, exchanging these roles as someone who seeks and shares knowledge with others. This involves the learner role as collaborator of new knowledge, demonstrating the abilities to be an active producer and publisher of information. Because this work requires seeking and verifying information in many contexts, while asking good questions, the role of research is central to this approach, continuously evolving with the other interrelated roles.
The metaliterate learner diagram is informed by the metaliteracy learning goals and objectives that underpin the four domains of learning and support the metaliterate learner in the active roles. We encourage you to review the four goals and their learning objectives to gain a sense of their reach. As you consider them, note both the elements that extend beyond media and information literacy, and the abbreviations, which refer to the center ring in the diagram.
Also ask yourself the following reflective questions: Based on your own experience with today’s connected world, which role(s) have you played? Which roles would be especially helpful to encourage lifelong learners to play in today’s information environment?
With this understanding of metaliteracy, consider how it might inform navigating the fraught information environment in which we find ourselves. Being metaliterate means that we:
- Consider the format that information takes and the way in which it is delivered or shared: text, video, photos, statistics and other formats require the same scrutiny
- Critically evaluate how information is packaged and shared online and the extent to which professional-looking materials impact our perception of content
- Question the validity of information, regardless of source
- Observe our feelings when we engage with information that we do or don’t agree with
- Determine whether information is research-based or editorial
- Determine the value added by user-generated content
- Share information ethically and responsibly
- Reflect on our own beliefs in these spaces and challenge oneself to consider other viewpoints
- Always challenge our own beliefs and ask critical questions of information and of ourselves
UNESCO’s Global Media and Information Literacy Week is the perfect time to explore metaliteracy and then share what you learn with others. This is a critical time of engagement to fulfill the early promise of the Web and social media as open and participatory environments for collaboration, dialogue, and discovery. Recently we have seen the negative and destructive aspects of how these technologies have been harnessed as well, from fake news and alternative facts to an overall post-truth reality. These developments have challenged our own optimism and assumptions about these spaces as creative environments for producing and sharing knowledge. In any context, however, metaliteracy provides a critical and reflective approach to learning that supports an everyday practice of asking good questions, being an active and ethical digital citizen, while being open to new environments, technologies, and perspectives.
We invite you to continue the conversation as you delve further into metaliteracy and explore some of the questions we’ve raised in this blog. You can find us on Twitter @Metaliteracy and be sure to follow us at our own blog via Metaliteracy.org. We welcome all of your questions and insights.
Thomas P. Mackey, Ph.D. and Trudi E. Jacobson, M.LS., M.A. originated the metaliteracy framework to emphasize the metacognitive learner as producer and participant in social information environments. They co-authored the first peer-reviewed article to define and introduce this model with Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy (2011) and followed that essay with the first book on this topic Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (2014). This team co-authored the essay Proposing a Metaliteracy Model to Redefine Information Literacy (2013) and co-edited their most recent book for ALA/Neal-Schuman entitled Metaliteracy in Practice (2016). They are currently working on a new book entitled Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World.
Trudi Jacobson, M.L.S., M.A., is the Head of the Information Literacy Department at the University at Albany, and holds the rank of Distinguished Librarian. She has been deeply involved with information literacy throughout her career, and thrives on finding new and engaging ways to teach students, both within courses and through less formal means. She co-chaired the Association of College & Research Libraries Task Force that created the Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education. Trudi is a member of the Editorial Board of Communications in Information Literacy. She freelances as the acquisitions editor for Rowman & Littlefield’s Innovations in Information Literacy series. Trudi was the 2009 recipient of the Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award.
Thomas P. Mackey, Ph.D. is Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Professor at SUNY Empire State College. He provides leadership for the undergraduate and graduate programs at the college, including the School for Undergraduate Studies, School for Graduate Studies, School of Nursing, The Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies, the Center for Mentoring Learning and Academic Innovation (CMLAI), and International Education. His research interests are focused on the collaborative development of metaliteracy as an empowering model for teaching and learning. Tom is a member of the editorial team for Open Praxis, the open access peer-reviewed academic journal about open, distance and flexible education that is published by the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). He is also a member of the Advisory Board for Progressio: South African Journal for Open and Distance Learning Practice.
The CILIP Cyrmu Wales Conference 2017 in Llandudno is three weeks away but places can only be booked until Thursday 4th May. Our pick of the sessions are below along with some useful resources from us to help you prepare for what is sure to be a memorable event.
Here’s our pick of the sessions:
Keynote: Copyright Education and Librarians: understanding privileges and rights
Dr Jane Secker, co-author of Copyright and E-learning is presenting this keynote speech.
Keynote: Protecting the privacy of library users
Paul Pedley, author of Practical Copyright for Library and Information Professionals, is presenting the other keynote on the last day of the conference.
Session: How we made a makerspace- and how you can too!
Allie Cingi, Library Manager at Awen Cultural Trust and Rob Jones, Library Assistant st Pencoed Library present this session on makerspaces; innovative DIY studios known as makerspaces where people can build, invent, share, and learn.
Session: Marketing to thrive and survive
In this session, Sian Nielson and Giles Lloyd-Brown explore how they’ve strengthened outreach and engagegement with students and disparate teams at Swansea University’s libraries.
Session: Supporting evidence informed decision making for public health practice and policy
This session is presented by Katrina Hall, Team Lead, Knowledge Management, Observatory Evidence Service, Public Health Wales.
Session: Planning for Disasters or Literally Firefighting?
In this session, Mark Ludlam, Learning Resources Manager at Gower College Swansea describes the experiences and lessons learned from the fire destroyed the college’s library service at the Tyoch Campus last year.
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Facet Publishing have announced the publication of Managing Digital Cultural Objects: Analysis, discovery and retrieval edited by Allen Foster and Pauline Rafferty both at Aberystwyth University.
The book explores the analysis and interpretation, discovery and retrieval of a variety of non-textual objects, including image, music and moving image.
Bringing together chapters written by leading experts in the field, the first part of this book provides an overview of the theoretical and academic aspects of digital cultural documentation and considers both technical and strategic issues relating to cultural heritage projects, digital asset management and sustainability. The second part includes contributions from practitioners in the field focusing on case studies from libraries, archives and museums. While the third and final part considers social networking and digital cultural objects.
Managing Digital Cultural Objects: Analysis, discovery and retrieval draws from disciplines including information retrieval, library and information science (LIS), digital preservation, digital humanities, cultural theory, digital media studies and art history. It’s argued that this multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach is both necessary and useful in the age of the ubiquitous and mobile web.
Key topics covered include:
- Managing, searching and finding digital cultural objects
- Data modelling for analysis, discovery and retrieval
- Social media data as a historical source
- Visual digital humanities
- Digital preservation of audio content
- Photos on social networking sites
- Searching and creating affinities in web music collections
- Film retrieval on the web.
The book will provide inspiration for students seeking to develop creative and innovative research projects at Masters and PhD levels and will be essential reading for those studying digital cultural object management. Equally, it should serve practitioners in the field who wish to create and develop innovative, creative and exciting projects in the future.
About the editors:
Allen Foster has a BA in Social History, a Master’s in Information Management and a PhD in Information Science. As Reader in Information Science, he has held various roles, including Head of Department for Information Studies, at Aberystwyth University. His research interest areas span the research process of Master’s and
PhD students, the development of models for information behaviour and serendipity, and user experience of information systems, creativity and information retrieval. He has guest edited for several journal special issues, is a regional editor for The Electronic Library and is a member of journal editorial boards, international panels and conference committees.
Dr Pauline Rafferty MA(Hons) MSc MCLIP is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Teaching and Learning at the Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University. She previously taught at the Department of Information Science, City University London, and in the School of Information Studies and Department of Media and Communication at the University of Central England, Birmingham.
Sarah Higgins, Aberystwyth University
Katrin Weller, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
Hannah Dee, Aberystwyth University
Lorna Hughes, University of Glasgow
Lloyd Roderick, Aberystwyth University
Alexander Brown, Aberystwyth University
Maureen Pennock, British Library
Michael Day, British Library
Will Prentice, British Library
Corinne Jörgensen, Florida State University (Emeritus)
Nicola Orio, University of Padua
Kathryn La Barre, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rosa Ines de Novias Cordeiro, Federal Fluminense University, Rio de Janeiro
Facet Publishing have announced the release of Visual Literacy for Libraries: A practical, standards-based guide.
The importance of images and visual media in today’s culture is changing what it means to be literate in the 21st century. Digital technologies have made
it possible for almost anyone to create and share visual media. Yet the pervasiveness of images and visual media does not necessarily mean that individuals are able to critically view, use, and produce visual content.
This book provides you with the tools, strategies, and confidence to apply visual literacy in a library context. You will learn ways to develop students’ visual literacy and how to use visual materials to make your own teaching more engaging.
Ideal for the busy librarian who needs ideas, activities, and teaching strategies that are ready to implement, this book:
- shows how to challenge students to delve into finding images, using images in the research process, interpreting and analysing images, creating visual communications, and using visual content ethically
- provides ready-to-use learning activities for engaging critically with visual materials
- offers tools and techniques for increasing one’s own visual literacy confidence
- gives strategies for integrating, engaging with and advocating for visual literacy in libraries.
With this book’s guidance, you can help students master visual literacy, a key competency in today’s media-saturated world, while also enlivening your teaching with visual materials.
Visual Literacy for Libraries will be essential reading for librarians, information professionals and managers in all sectors, students of library and information science, school and higher education teachers and researchers.
Co-published by Facet Publishing, ALA and CLA, RDA Essentials is the new concise guide to cataloguing with RDA (Resource Description and Access) and is essential reading for those seeking a simplified path to creating basic RDA records.
Useful as a quick reference source, author Thomas Brenndorfer describes the key RDA concepts and vocabulary and distils RDA instructions, matching them to cataloguing practice in easy-to-follow language. The guide is fully up-to-date with the latest revisions to RDA, making it an excellent introduction whilst also serving as a bridge to more complex cataloguing
RDA Essentials is an ideal resource for:
- small libraries that require standard cataloguing
- LIS students who need an introduction to cataloguing
- professionals seeking a ready reference source to RDA
- experienced cataloguers needing a quick summary of RDA practice.
A handy access point for solo and part-time cataloguers, Brenndorfer’s guide also supports training and classroom use in any size institution. It will be useful reading for cataloguers and metadata specialists, systems librarians, user services managers, electronic resources librarians, and digital library project managers and students on cataloguing, information management and digital library courses.
Facet Publishing have announced the release of Barbara Allan’s latest book, Emerging Strategies for Supporting Student Learning.
It is both an exciting and challenging time to be working in higher education as the sector experiences rapid changes including: an increasingly diverse student population with evloving expectations; changes in technology such as the rise in the use of social media; increased emphasis on employability and internationalization; development of new social learning spaces; as well as an ever-decreasing resource base. As a result of these changes, new approaches to supporting student learning are developing rapidly.
In the past five years, developments in both the theory and practice of learning and teaching have created a complex landscape which it is sometimes difficult to navigate. Emerging Strategies for Supporting Student Learning provides practical guidance and brings together theory and practice in an accessible style. The book covers a wide range of tools and techniques (relevant to face-to-face, blended learning and online practices) which will suit students in different contexts from large groups of 500+ to very small classes of research students.
Making extensive use of case studies, examples, checklists and tables, the book covers key topics including, digital literacies, working with diversity, employability and designing, delivering and evaluating learning and teaching activities.
Author Barbara Allan said, “In writing this book, I wanted to capture the many different ways in which information professionals are supporting student learning in a time of rapid change. As ideas about learning and teaching have changed, so have professional practices which involve supporting students online, in social learning spaces, the library, as well as in classrooms. Practitioners use a variety of technologies ranging from their institution’s virtual learning environment through to social media. The relationships between students and information professionals is changing and the idea of ‘students as co-crea
tors’ is producing new forms of working together. Overall, this is an exciting (although challenging) time to be supporting student learning and this book explores current practices.”
Emerging Strategies for Supporting Student Learning will be essential reading for different groups working in colleges and universities such as library and information workers, staff developers, educational technologists, educational development project workers, educational change agents and students of library and information science who are planning their careers in higher education institutions.
Find out more: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=300709
In this blog, Barbara Allan talks about why she wrote her new book, Emerging Strategies for Supporting Student Learning
Why did you want to write a book on ‘Emerging strategies for supporting student learning’? A colleague asked me this question a few weeks ago and it prompted me into reflecting on my motivation for writing my new book.
Thinking about it made me realise how much I enjoy the process of writing a book and, in part, this is because I am very nosy. Higher education is under huge pressures at the moment and as a result many universities and colleges are going through radical change processes. In some instances, the whole undergraduate curriculum has been redesigned and redeveloped to bring it into line with the needs of current students and their future employers. In many institutions, everyone is expected to do ‘more with less’ and teams and individuals have risen to this challenge by introducing fascinating innovations to their approaches to learning and teaching. Sometimes, these changes have been supported through technology while others have involved working in new ways with colleagues from across their university or college. At the same time, new theories about digital and information literacy continue to develop.
Writing a book gave me an excuse (not that I really needed one) to explore current practices in supporting student learning in universities and colleges. This meant that I found time to talk to colleagues, visit institutions, constantly search on-line for new developments and innovations, as well as articles, and also network through conferences and professional events. One of the highlights of my research was my visit to the annual international LILAC conference in Newcastle in 2015. This friendly and accessible conference provided so many opportunities to listen to and talk with practitioners representing many different types of institution from across the world. Their online archive provided a great resource when I came to writing the book. The conference also gave me the opportunity to join a tour of the historical Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society (the Lit and Phil – http://www.litandphil.org.uk) which is home to many scholars and authors.
Finally, I enjoy the process of putting it all together – the practice and the theory – rather like a giant jigsaw. Only, in this case, some of the pieces over-lapped and others were contradictory. I was fortunate enough to do much of the writing in Whitby and so enjoyed long walks whenever I got stuck or needed to think through my findings. Puzzling through my research and making sense of it was intellectually challenging and helped me to understand the current status of supporting student learning in higher education. It also made me realise how vibrant is the library and information profession and the willingness of colleagues to change and innovate.