Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Data Literacy perception and practices in the information environment #ECIL2018

The final session this morning that I (Sheila) am liveblogging is Data Literacy perception and practices in the information environment (presented by Jela Steinerova and co-authored with Miriam Ondrisova). They were looking at "what is the typology of research data" and "what is the perception of research data practices by Slovak researchers", and were concerned with the implication for library and information education. Steinerova considered definitions of research data and research data literacy (see photo). Research data practices will be dependent of the context of the researcher and the data. They used the concept of information infrastructure, as that was important for researcher practice. Finally they used the concept of an information environment as a framework (of objects, networks, systems etc.) supporting information use.
Steinerova said that they drew on 2 projects on modelling the information environment of digital scince, and one of information behaviour in the electronic environment. One study was a qualititative study of 19 experts from various disciplines. One of the outputs was a diagram revealing a typology of research data.Some aspects were common, but others specific to particular disciplines. Another study was their contribution to a multinational study of research data management, where there were 257 responses from Slovakia. The findings showed that the researchers had positive attitudes to research data, but concerns about misuse and misinterpretation of research data. Steinerova showed a bar chart comparing whether certain types of data were used and whether they were produced by researchers. In particular, there was more use than production of zipped and online data sets. The largest number of researchers shared data only with researchers in their own team. There were differences between disciplines. The social sciences had most concerns about misinterpretation of data (and the sciences least: overall, the science researchers had least concerns about sharing data.) According to the responses, universities in Bratislava mostly don't have data management plans, or consistent guidelines for metadata etc.
From this, Steinerova concluded that people mostly shared data with their own team and collaborators, and have concerns about misuse and misinterpretation. The research data practice was intuitive and contextualised by the research discipline. In terms of implications for library and information science education, this pointed up the need for courses in Research Data Management, the need for doctoral students to have training in research data management, and the need for education in core data processes, data visualisation etc. Steinerova also emphasised the need to see the data infrastructures as ecosystems, taking into account data use, information behaviour and re-use behaviour. She saw data librarianship as a new role for librarians. At the conclusion of the session Steinerova presented a model of the interactive academic library (see photo) - the bubbles are services from the library.
There were some interesting conversations afterwards about the value of sharing data, but also the need, ethically, to protect research participants, in qualitative research, but also in quantitative research where in fact people might be identifiable by triangulating the data.

Character building in children’s online information behaviours #ecil2018

David McMenemy and Steve Buchanan from Robert Gordon University reported on a project that brings together David’s interest in philosophy and Steve’s interest in information behaviour.  They aimed to explore concepts of character development in the IL context, including cyber-bullying, disinformation, hate speech, intellectual property. There is a lot of literature on this from an education perspective, but little from the information perspective. The presentation introduced the concept of “intellectual character”, which is the part of your character that relates to thinking and learning. 9 core intellectual virtues defined by Baehr (2015) were applied to 2 core Il Frameworks, the big 6 and the ACRL framework: curiosity, intellectual autonomy, intellectual humility, attentiveness, intellectual carefulness, intellectual thoroughness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, intellectual tenacity.

The big 6 model was found to be overtly task focused, and had limited in relation to character development. None of the 9 virtues were manifest in the ACRL framework, however there was latent presence of some virtues, e.g. “research as inquiry” included notions of curiosity. Development of character is an incremental and iterative process, so the question was asked, is there space in IL teaching to take this approach. They suggest that there needs to be further refinement of IL education models to explicitly incorporate application of intellectual character virtues.
Pam McKinney

Gender differences in information literacy among Brazilian youngsters #ECIL2018

Next for liveblogging at ECIL, Gilda Olinto talked about Gender differences in information literacy among Brazilian youngsters. They were looking at gender aspects of ICT access and use, stimulated by the fact that there are lower levels of ICT use and of literacy in females in Brazil. The research was looking at whether there were gender differences, and also some more specific issues, for example if the females were willing to use the internet for women's empowerment. Key data sources were the Household survey in Brazil and also the Brazilian part of the Global Kids Online project.
There are various issues around gender and ICT use. e.g. how women and girls can benefit from use of ICT, whether they are alienated because ICT is seen as a male area, different expectations and lifestyles men/women, issues of racial difference, whether ICT can be used for feminist purposes etc. There is a question of whether girls are prepared to benefit from the technology. Olinto mentioned that there have been initiatives e.g. from World Summit on the Information Society, the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy work.
Previous studies on gender difference have identified that once the basic access (to ICT) issue has been addressed, there can be a second level of barriers to womens' ICT use. Whilst there may be no actual difference in capabilities between men and women, studies have shown that women have less confidence in their capabilities. There may be a "negative online auto-image" of women, affecting confidence and use.
The Brazilian Household Survey data showed that 74% of Brazilian young people had internet access; analysis by race showed that white households had more access than of those of people of colour. Looking at gender, in fact there was slightly more access by females than males. However males used computers (as opposed to phones) more than women.
In order to get to "second level" use, they looked at results from the Brazilian contribution to the Kids Online project . There were some things that boys did more than girls e.g. boys played games a lot more than girls, they shopped online and watched more online videos more than girls. Thus boys were having more fun online and pursuing everyday purposes online. Girls were using online more for communication purposes (from memory, there are similar results from UK studies, though I don't think there's so big a gap as regards gaming). Finally, girls had less confidence in their online skills than boys.
Thus boys had a better self image, although girls were appropriating the technology in particular ways to do with communicating, posting photos etc.

Digital competence for digital citizenship #ecil2018

Konstatina Martzoukou from Robert Gordon University and Crystal Fulton from University College Dublin started the presentation by reflecting on the popular perception that young people have good digital capabilities but there is still a digital divide particularly in relation to poverty. The JISC digital  capabilities framework was use in the study, which features a combination of functional and high level skills. The European digital competence framework was also used, and a lot of discussion took place about the questions to ask. The objectives include examining the policy landscape around digital competency initiatives, looking at digital competencies in transitioning to university.  Currently a survey is being distributed to students to assess their digital competence as they join university, and then they will interview students and librarians to follow up the survey. The survey themes were drawn from the 2 digital competency frameworks, and 5 levels of digital competence were defined. Students were asked to self assess their level of competence using these 5 levels. For example students were asked to asses their digital creation skills e.g. capturing, editing and producing digital media(video & audio). Extensive testing took place to make sure the wording of the questions was appropriate and understandable. Konstantina and Crystal are keen to invite collaborators to distribute the survey to new populations : https://bit.ly/2xLBSrG
Pam McKinney

Migration of clusters from pre session to post session: an analysis of elderly students' perceived digital literacy #ecil2018

I arrived a bit late for the talk by Makiko Miwa on Migration of clusters from pre session to post session: an analysis of elderly students' perceived digital literacy, so apologies for a partial liveblog. When I arrived she was reviewing the literature on the topic. Then she described the digital literacy training set up by them "Peronal computers for beginners" (a 12 hour intensive session, spread over 2 days). It is offered at least once a year in 50 study centres in different parts of Japan. In fact the classes did not just consist of over 65s (people take classes to retrain as well as taking classes to learn in retirement). There are 10-15 people in each class. It was originally taught by faculty, but they have trained locally based people to deliver the course.

The course includes basic use of a PC, use of Word, ppt, email, key resources online (e.g. online radio). The purpose is to improve online skills and enable people to have the skills to take other online courses. There are 20 learning goals, which is also used as a checklist for learners (see photo) to self-report their skills. Participants are asked to fill in the checklist before and after the training session. In the data analysis they did cluster analysis (Hartigan-Wong) and compared pre- and post-session clusters. Data was collected from 1417 students (who had completed both questionnaires) between 2014 and 2017.
In brief, the cluster analysis shows that the perceived capabilities of the students improve after the training course. The lowest confidence was to do with things like data security to start with, the least improvement was to do with library use and to do with engaging with the online course application. Miwa also showed how the clusters had migrated, looking at the pre and post questionnaires (see 2nd photo).
They looked at age, and there was a significant relationship between higher level confidence and (lower) age. Analysis of free text words showed that the lower-level group use words like difficulty, and in the higher confidence group it was words like thinking, presenting. One of the conclusions was that "Some of the older novice students did not learn enough to be able to manipulate the PC by themselves".

#ecil2018 Unique or ubiquitous: IL instruction outside Higher Education

Miriam Matteson and Beate Gersch from Kent State University teach an  Information Literacy module to students at the information school which includes learning theories and principles of IL. Iinitially they assumed that students would be teaching IL in an academic library but it became clear that many of the students were already working in a public library context. So the course had to address IL teaching in this context. There is a lack of standards and frameworks for IL teaching in this context, where the educational purpose is implied rather than being overt as it would be in the academic library context. In addition the academic year is very structured and opportunities for teaching fit within this, which is not the case in public libraries. The vast majority of literature on IL is situated in the academic library context. The researchers did an environmental scan of the extent of IL instruction present in web guides and teaching offered as presented on library web sites. They browsed the websites and ranked the material for the level of IL present. 59 programs were coded as providing some IL, 3 as entirely IL, and 70 as no IL. Most programs provided guidance on accessing and communicating information.

Phase 2 of the research was a diary study of 5 working days of 21 librarians, most of whom were professionallly qualified. Participants completed an initial questionnaire, and then completed the diary recording the nature of any IL teaching they did. central themes emerged: IL is core to Librarianship, it is focused on learning, but there was a lack of formal  policies around IL- it was implicit. The most common area of IL instruction was in defining information needs, and the time spent teaching was most commonly 6-10 minutes. Technology demos were popular, with some reference queries. The lines between reference and instruction are blurred in public libraries, raising questions about how librarians see their roles, and whether they see themselves as teachers or not. Computer literacy seems to be a big part of information literacy in this context, so do we need to re-define what IL is for this context.
Pam McKinney

Karen Fisher: Information Literacy in Refugee camps: cultural effects of gender, place and time #ecil2018

I (Sheila) arrived in Oulu last night so I'll be sharing liveblogging duties with Pam for the rest of the ECIL conference. I'm starting with today's keynote speaker, Karen Fisher (University of Washington) who is talking on Information Literacy in Refugee camps: cultural effects of gender, place and time. Fisher presented the overall statistics of the Syrian conflict: 7 years of war in Syria with 13 million people displaced, and most of them staying in countries bordering Syria.
She is a field consultant with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), working in the Za'atari Syrian refugee Camp in Jordan. Security is high in Za'atari, since it is close to the "cradle of the rebellion" in Syria. This camp is now "the 4th largest city in Jordan", with a population of about 83,000, with a hundred babies born each week. 80% are under 25, which is problematic, as elders are not there to pass on knowledge, help with care etc. Also, significantly in this gender-based culture, there are more women than men. There is also a business life, with over 3500 businesses in the camp. The camp is divided into 12 sectors, and Fisher emphasised how the camp is in the desert, where there are no resources and everything is rationed. Fisher's goal, as funded by the UN, is to "build capacity per UN SDGs through information science methods" - she has visited over 20 times in four years.
Fisher posed the question "What is information literacy in a refugee camp?" although she pointed out that each camp is different. She presented some quotes from one of the refugees who was keeping a diary for Fisher's research, illustrating how people's lives had been turned upside down, and made worse when internet access was cut off. Fisher characterised the camp as "Rocked by extreme information needs". The restricted internet access affects both communication and education. Every book that comes into the camp has to be approved: there are some libraries but no bookshops. Fisher stressed how you witness resilience every day in the camp.
Fisher described her research methods, saying you had to work with everyone who you could and who wanted to work with you. Responding to a question at the end of her talk, she talked about the nitty-gritty of working with data in these circumstances, taking photos of data collected that day, at night, spread out in the bed.
Everything had to be social, as people might have low literacy, different trauma levels, different languages. "All people set up for success, able to participate, enables researcher to extract data in multiple ways from broad swathes of people". People will "create, share, present" items, photos, memories etc. In terms of collecting data and elciting it, they use a wide variety of methods - workshops, diaries, home visits (including co-cooking), narrative drawings, time sheets, "magic genius devices" (asking people - "if you had a magic device..."). She showed pictures of the diaries, sometimes with multiple people writing in the same diary. She photographs the new pages that people have written, each time she visits.
Fisher presented her research question of "What are the information worlds" of those in the camp. I think this is based on Burnett and Jaeger's information worlds theory, looking at information needs, but also the socio/cultural/political context. One of the things to be explored is - what is information in this context. As well as text, it is verbal, sensory (smells etc.), memories, doctrine, feelings, visual. Also information has qualities: dangerous, hidden, social, fuzzy/changing, private, scarce and abundant, threatening, valuable and a commodity. Fisher talked about the gendered nature of the society, tribal affiliations.
She felt that time was different in this culture/ this camp, because of the pattern of daily prayers, the holy days and so forth. Unsurprisingly, since she developed Information Grounds Theory, Fisher talked about the significance of place/s and how there were information grounds e.g. at places where water was collected, people where children played.
Fisher presented two of the sheets on which people had described (in words and sketches) their information world. One was of a man who had an occupation which involved travelling round the camp, another of a woman whose life is within her home in the camp (an example of information poverty). Fisher talked about how phones acted as photo albums, which means at least in part dealth albums of friends and relatives who died in the conflict. Fisher then talked about the community memory project, where they gave phones to girls, but which did not succeed because of the internet connectivity problems. She also showed extracts from story booklets, including a picture of "peace robots" drawn by a young girl.
Fisher talked about literacies and resilience. She picked out how boys would go to the perimeter and try and hack into to the internet. Most of them can't afford to stay in school, or it isn't safe to go to school. Instead they try and hack in and do information work at the camp fence, getting information for their families, finding things out (it is boys that do this, not girls). She also showed some of the "magic genius devices" drawn and described by young people e.g. "magic caravan heaters" (phot above).
She talked about one group "TIGER girls" (These Inspiring Girls Enjoy Reading" (girls who want to learn, be teachers and doctors etc.). Fisher also showed pictures of libraries: they are aiming at a camp-wide sytem, and have things like storytime.
She came back at the end to the question "What is information literacy in a refugee camp"? As she had shown it a complex issue, tied up with the meaning of information and the context in which it is experienced in the refugees' world.
Reference:
Fisher, K.E. (2018). Information worlds of refugees. In C.M. Maitland (Ed). Digital lifeline? ICTs for refugees and displaced persons (pp79-112). Cambridge: MIT Press. (also I blogged a webinar she did a little while ago on this topic and the recording is here http://media.ischool.illinois.edu/dl/events/lllfa17/sep26_17.mp4)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Towards digital literacy: the case of adult learners at Lithuanian public libraries

Jurgita Rudzionene from Vilnius university presented a first stage analysis of research into the digital literacy of public library users in Lithuania. There are 2549 public libraries in Lithuania. The research aimed to analyse digital literacy, discover the extent and nature of ICT use, and to make recommendations to librarians to better support digital literacy. Data was collected through a survey distributed in hard copy to users of public libraries.  24 questions were asked about information seeking, digital literacy and demographics. There were 323 respondents, 36% from central city libraries, and 64% from branch libraries. 79% of respondents were female, 58% were in employment and the largest age group was 46-55 (26%). 65% of respondents used electronic banking, and online shopping, exhealth services and e-social services were also widely used. A third of respondents used electronic services at the public library. A third indicated that lack of English language skills was a barrier to using ICT. Desktop computers and smartphones were widely used, but tablets, e-readers and digital pens were not widely used. Respondents used email, social media (mostly Facebook) and Skype. Most people felt well informed about potential threats from using the internet, and believed they could behave safely. Public library staff and family members were the most favoured sources for help in developing digital skills.

Building bridges: using information literacy to support high school to university transition

Zoe Jarocki from San Diego State university, which has a very diverse student body, works in the university library and has faculty status. She reported on an initiative to partner with a high school district to facilitate access to university and increase college readiness. The librarians run library visits for 10th grade students which allows them to be introduced to resources and services, and develop understanding of some of the principles of academic information e.g. understand that research is a process. The children spend a morning at the library, and encouraged to picture themselves in the library, as part of the learning community. Evaluation of the visits showed that students had a better idea of academic quality resources, and felt happy about their visit. It’s better to have smaller groups of students, and use active learning.

Developing best practices for international student information literacy instruction #ecil2018

Sean Stone from Indiana University school of dentistry library, which has around 110 students a year on 4 year program, and runs an international dentist program for around 14 students in each cohort. These students are qualified dentists already and come from a variety of country contexts. They have strong dental skills but lack knowledge of some other areas of the traditional dentistry course. They struggle with IL, and lack awareness of academic integrity as practices can be quite different in their home countries, and lack experience of using the information resources e.g. databases. The international students start their course in January, and have a much longer library orientation than home students, but then join in with the home students to study a module in evidence-based practice. It features individual and group work, and students are expected to search for quality information as part of this course. The library orientation became part of the module that was compulsory. Sara Lowe from the main campus library helped devise the curriculum that could be built on from the start of studies. The new session focused on active learning, and made a clearer distinction between IL and  evidence-based practice. Performance was better, but international students still struggled.  So they worked with another transition module to integrate IL into the learning. Collaboration between librarians and other professional groups really helped embed IL, and improve the support provided to students.

Health information literacy practices of young bloggers #ecil2018

Anna-Maija Huhta from the University of Oulu reflected on the nature of health literacy research which tend to focus on measuring functional competencies, usually with quantitative methods. This phd study aims to investigate the health information literacy practices of young bloggers with a focus on construction and assessment of cognitive authorities. The theoretical background includes practice theory, and various theories of literacy including health, information, new literacies and cognitive authority (Wilson 1983), which relates to social epistemology. The methodology will be Nexus analysis, which is a form of ethnography which focuses on discourse analysis of social actions in real time. The study will collect data from 8-10 young people who actively produce health related content on social media.

Developing health information literacy in disadvantaged and dependent circumstances: family nurses

Steve Buchanan from the University of Strathclyde focused on health information literacy in disengaged groups, and the challenges of developing HIL from the perspective of non-Information professionals occupying support roles. Previous research with unemployed and disengaged adolescents found that there was low IL, and low levels of reading and computer literacy. There were lots of unmet information needs, and a reliance on support workers when seeking information. Issues of dependency were compounded by an impoverished and insular existence. Young at-risk mothers had similar information problems, low IL and high dependence on support workers. So support workers have an important role as information intermediaries, particularly in situations of multiple needs, insular existence, and poor comprehension. Interactions might happen multiple times in order to help communicate health information.

This qualitative case study featured in depth examination of the practice of 6 family nurses who supported 89 young at risk mothers. Data collection methods included observation, semi structured interviews and a focus group. Nurses would discuss individual every day needs with the young mothers, along side the health needs. Nurses provided a range of physical and digital resources for the young mothers. Digital interactions were few, partly due to technology issues,  it there was also a preference among the mothers for face to face support and physical resources. Nurses were not familiar with the concept of IL, but they felt they understood the concept and felt they could support their clients with their IL. in particular they saw their role to support defining information needs, and modelling information search. The young mothers were very shy, and it was challenging to elicit Information needs. Building IL was seen to be important, but the primary responsibility was the healthcare education. Role modelling and meaningful tasks were seem to be ways to effective learning.

It could be a argued that these nurses shouldn’t have responsibility to teach IL, but if not them then who would or could take on this role. Further research is needed into appropriate pedagogical approaches for everyday information literacy teaching in the home and non standard locations.

Understanding health literacy through the lens of Phronesis #ecil2018

Venkata Ratnadeep Suri from the Indraprastha institute of Information technology in Delhi. He reported on a study to understand health literacy in respect of coronary artery disease which is a major disease in Singapore, the context of the study. The goal of health information is to make informed choices about health and increase their quality of life, which begs the question how do we define health literacy to achieve this goal. Often health information literacy uses self-reported measures to gauge health literacy, but does this mean that the individual can make the right changes to their lives? People can have information that they understand poorly, and lack the competency to apply correctly, which is more common in chronic disease patients. The training that health professionals receive is different from the expertise that patients develop in their particular condition. Chronic disease patients are often very effective mentors for other patients due to the knowledge and expertise they have developed. From a research point of view it suggests that current conceptions of health literacy are limited and need further interrogation.

The study aimed to explore patients perspective on health literacy, and identify skills that patients perceive as important for managing their health, with a focus on experiential knowledge. Phronesis is defined as “practical wisdom” derived from experience of making health decisions. Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants from Singapore Heart Centre. 36 participants took part in focus groups and a grounded theory approach was used. The results revealed the importance of being proactive vs reactive, and understanding the body to interpret health. Participants identified that they needed to understand their own limits, and to know when to seek help from a medical practitioner. They understood that health information could be biased, particularly diet information which is very cultural. Understanding complex interdependencies between different pieces of information is critical for managing health. The experiential knowledge gained through understanding a patients journey of managing their health provide insights into health information literacy.

Which approaches and methods are most appropriate for exploring health information behaviour #ecil2018

Marianne Paimre from Tallinn University stated that, according to her literature review, improving public health relies on a better understanding of patterns of online health information searching behaviour. This presentation focused on a study of the methods previously used to study online health information behaviour, which has been studied in many fields. 70 journal papers formed the corpus for the study. Research in this field has been multidimensional and complex. Quantitative studies made up 39%, and relied on big data sets collected at national level, online survey was the most popular data collection method. Qualitative studies focused on assessing people’s logic, beliefs and deep motives for searching for health information, and their values, skills and difficulties in searching. Interviews were the most popular data collection method. The drawback often noted was the inability to make generalisations to a wider population based on the small sample, even though they generated deep insight. Mixed methods designs enabled researchers to explore the object in a multidimensional settting and explore complexity. Meta analysis studies systematically reviewed the existing research. Quantitative research was useful for establishing main trends and look at the influence of socioeconomic factors, whereas qualitative studies provide deeper insight into information practices.

Collaborative knowledge building to enhance IL in health education. #ecil2018

Tuula Nygard and Laura Palmgren-Neuvonen from the university of Oulu began their presentation by outlining the concept of cognitive authority. Health education is an independent mandatory subject in Finnish schools, and is also a feature in other subjects. Health information literacy is seen to be one of a number of “multiliteracies” taught in schools. Teachers overestimate learners abilities to learn Information practice, and students struggle to evaluate sources. The research aimed to discover collaborative knowledge creation in the classroom. A mixed method case study useing an ethnographic approach was conducted in classrooms. There was a task orientation, it was cumulative and largely uncritical. It was  guided by implicit norms around information acquisition. Members rarely criticised sources, even if they were conflicting. Students favoured official sources and blogs and sources that featured personal stories. Cognitive authority was given to one’s own or a close friend’s personal health experiences. Teachers are recommended not to provide pre-selected material, but instead to encourage students to search for information themselves, and to use framing that encourages deeper exploration of the material.

Differences in health information literacy among older adults, elderly and younger citizens #ecil2018

Heidi Enwald from university of Oulu presented an international collaboration between universities in Sweden and Finland. There is a need to understand the IL competencies in the health arena among older people, and the differences between them and other age groups.  The research aimed to discover perceptions of health information literacy competencies, and differences between different age groups.  A survey was distributed through the Swedish health record system, and health IL was measured through 11 statements on self perceived competence previously used by Niemela et al. (2012). 2587 responses were received, 67% were female, and the mean age was 50.65. Respondents were grouped into 3 ages, elderly born 1945 or earlier. Respondents agreed that it was important to be informed about health issues. Older adults were more likely to value being informed about health issues, but had more difficulty understanding the terminology used. They were less likely than younger adults to compare information from multiple sources, and had more difficulty understanding medicine packaging and labels.

Workplace information literacy of Croatian fitness and conditioning personal trainers #ecil2018

Kristina Feldvari first introduced the context of Croatia which has a growing problem of obesity and lack of participation in exercise. Not all personal trainers have the same education background, some have degrees but many don’t. The study aimed to discover the information needs of trainers from different educational backgrounds. An online survey was distributed and 100 responses were received. 52% had a degree, and 48% did not. Of those, 26% were still studying. 36% of respondents who had a degree said they had not studied how to find information on their course. The most popular reasons to search for information were to understand the client’s diet, and the physiology of the human body. 61% searched for information every day; and 66.7% used search engines, and 64.6% used other trainers in their workplace as a source of information. Use of scholarly sources was low e.g. Medline 12%. There is a high demand for workplace information literacy training in this field.

Promoting young children’s multiliteracies in early childhood education #ecil2018

Kristiina Kumpulainen from the University of Helsinki presented the second keynote at the ECIL conference. Fewer and fewer Finnish children are reading traditional books, but on the other hand notions of literacy and reading are changing, and what and how people read is also changing. There are new types of texts, symbols and meanings that we have to engage with in the world, and multiliteracies that children need to learn. Public education receives a lot of investment in Finland, and children can attend education from 12 months of age, and there is a core curriculum from this age, but compulsory education starts at age 6. There are a lot of initiatives to encourage children to read books, but it is also important that children are able to navigate the digital world. Finnish children display high abilities in reading, but surveys have shown that they report not enjoying reading. People are worried about this cultural change to move away from printed books, but actually these same concerns were expressed when stories began to be printed and here was a move away from oral storytelling. In an increasingly multicultural Finland, there are concerns about how to promote literacies in young people’s lives.

Research has shown that there is a need to enhance joy and interest in reading, and it is important to develop versatile literacy skills (multiliteracies) with culturally responsive pedagogues. Multiliteracies are embedded in the curriculum. Parents need to be aware of the importance of literacy skills in the early years, and have a positive attitude about this.  Basic reading and writing skills are not enough, people need to understand meaning through oral, visual, audio, digital, gestural, tactile and spatial texts. Critical skills, to be able to understand and unpack, and to understand whether it is true or not are important. Multiliteracy features in the national curriculum, and this is separate from ICT skills. The curriculum emphasises holistic topic based learning.

Teachers are encouraged to be creative and imaginative, they think of themselves as designers of learning, they have freedom to interpret the curriculum and respond to the local setting. Only 10% of the applicants are accepted into the teacher training courses, in Finland teachers are highly valued. Muliliteracy is defined as a holistic and versatile approach to texts, and is about seeking, interpreting, useing, producing, representing, and evaluating texts in their multiple forms, in various contexts and situations and with various tools. Multiliteracy is hard to measure, it can be observed through longitudinal qualitative research, but it can defined, and opportunities devised for children to experience and build multiliteracy. Pre and post tests cannot be used!

There is a research and development programme to look at children’s development of multiliteracy, and the professional development of the workforce involved in early education, and involves close collaboration across professional groups.  The principle is to co-design activities and materials that facilitate a child sensitive playful pedagogy, that appreciates both child and teacher agency. This all sounds so different from the current focus on testing and learning facts that characterises early education in the UK, where the creativity of teachers is stifled by national education policy. In Finland teachers are encouraged to take children’s interests as starting points for holistic learning, that develops disciplinary learning and multiliteracy.

Research which stared in 2017, works with 16 communities in Helsinki to understand a multicultural perspective. Multiple data collection methods (observation, video, children’s work, interviews & surveys) are being used to understand multiliteracy development. One output has been the “whisper of the spirit” programme, which has been used and adapted all over the country.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Students on a social media detox #ecil2018

Maria Murumaa-Mengel and Krista Lepik from the university of Tartu presented on some research project that aimed to explore how disruption of habitual social media use reshapes the information needs and practices of young adults. They focused on perceptions of the pace of time and its pace without social media, and whether restricting social media use affected self-reflexivity on its use. There is an acceleration of social time, we are always in a hurry, and social media facilitates the rapid production and consumption of information. Relationships rely on our “connected presence”.

Participants were asked to stop using social media for 5 consecutive days, this was a “homework” task for BA students, and data was collected in 2017 and 2018. 42 students participated, and they were aged 19-23, 27 female and 15 male. Students kept a diary of their experiences. Data was analysed thematically. The beginning of the “detox” it was clear that students planned the 5 days when they were expecting a slower pace of life e.g. visiting family, or a period of intense work. Some participants felt they “gained time” and this meant they could increase their productivity, or had “too much time” and filled the time with another media, e.g. news scrolling, or met their affective needs by bingeing on Netflix, and supported their social needs by replacing social media interaction with phone calls and meet ups. Others expected an abundance of time, and ended up over planning their days. Others felt they “wasted” time, and life was unpurposeful, slow and aimless because activities were not accompanied by social media. Some found a virtue in a slower pace, and transferred this slow tempo to other activities. There was a perception that it freed one up to think about oneself and their own situation. Participants made significant preparations with their social network to tell people what they were doing and why, and took pride in their choice. The detox increased the amount of time spent on face-to-face communication, and friends had to change their communication practices. Many participants celebrated the end of the detox, and had a social media binge. In the long term they undertook decluttering activities to unfollow groups and simplify their social media use.

An invitation to globalise the information literacy agenda #ecil2018

Zach Newall from Illinois University presented on the expanding information literacy community of practice, and asked how we apply IL models and definitions to a global context for people that are not in education, or who don’t occupy a particular social or professional space. How can we as IL professionals embed IL development in everyday life contexts? There are misleading perception that access to the internet is not a problem, and that “everything” is on the internet. We need to recognise that “fake news” is not a new problem. Disproportionately large numbers of people in developing countries do not have internet access, which is compounded by the rural / urban divide. Mobile communication devices provide access to information, but only facilitate simple information searching activity. We need to re-engage with grass roots efforts to understand how Information is created, proliferated and used in multiple contexts.

Biometric tools for holiday planning #ecil2018

Justyna Jasiewicz presented on a research project informed by Jan van Dijk’s “access to new media” model. Biometric tools are used Information science research to investigate reading patterns, information retrieval, evaluation of online services, neuro-physiological processing. This research used a Behavioral experiment using biometric methods (eye tracking and face tracking), combined with observation and individual interviews to investigate holiday planing. The research aimed to discover if participants paid attention to opinions and ratings, and which opinions attracted their attention, and whether they evaluated the authenticity or reliability of reviewers. Participants were invited to plan a trip to a particular location, and invite their friends on social media. The results showed that older participants paid more attention to reviews and read longer reviews than younger participants, and all participants paid little attention to the profile of reviewers.

Genealogy and learning: acquiring information and digital literacy through a hobby #ecil2018

Crystal Fulton from University college Dublin has a background in research on people’s hobbies, and identified that genealogy is a very Information intensive activity. Irish genealogy is very interesting because there is a large Irish diaspora, living in many countries. Crystal was interested in the idea of “serious leisure”, that a hobby can be like a job, and consumes a lot of time and effort. The study has taken place over several years, and included 24 telephone interviews and 49 face-to-face interviews with people in 3 countries. Critical incident technique was used to discover the types of information sought, sources used and activities undertaken. Participants were encouraged to do a mapping activity for their favourite or best sources.  Participants did not view themselves as “experts”, but displayed a huge amount of knowledge in their field. They identified their learning needs around sources, tools and technologies. Learning was a “personal mission” and were obsessed about finding the next piece of information. Sometimes they attended courses, but were largely self-taught. They transferred skills from the workplace to the hobby, and peer learning was a feature of the genealogy community, through local history groups. There was a pride in learning, but sharing was often on a quid pro quo basis.

Measuring the psychophysiology of Information Literacy #ecil2018

Geoff Walton from Manchester Metropolitan University reported on a CILIP Information Literacy Group funded project to discover if theories of challenge and threat and how people react to stress in a pressured environment affect information discernment, and whether there is a psychophysical aspect to Information Literacy. Participants were asked about their consumption of news information, and were connected to a finometer that measured blood flow and heart rate. People with high information discernment were more curious about the world and tended to use multiple sources to verify information, and were more likely to be sceptical about information found on search engines, in particular wouldn’t regard the first page of search resu,to as the most trustworthy, and were aware of authority. Information discernment can affect physiological reaction to stressful research tasks, and react in a more physiologically healthy. The eye tracking software revealed that people with high information discernment looked at more of the screen, and read more of the information, and had higher levels of concentration. There is evidence that improving a persons information literacy has a positive effect on learning capabilities, as well as their physical health, because they do not react in a stressful way to misinformation.

Scientific literacy education outside the classroom #ecil2018

Radovan  Vrana from the university of Zagreb presented on the use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning, and the focus was on public libraries in Croatia. An online questionnaire was distributed to public library managers, and there was a 35% response rate. 89% were familiar with the term “scientific literacy”, and 47% had one librarian providing science related activities. Lectures and workshops were the most popular activities, followed by debates. The biggest group of “users” of these services were elementary school children, but the second biggest group was adults seeking additional education. Librarians identified that increased funding and increased employees were critical factors for improving science education, and also additional science trading for librarians. There was recognition that learning is a lifelong activity, and that formal education is not enough.

The everyday information experiences of breastfeeding mothers #ecil2018

Hayley Lockerbie and Konstantina Martzoukou from Robert Gordon University presented a literature review on the everyday life experiences of breastfeeding mothers. The World Health Organisations recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed for 6 months, however worldwide breastfeeding rates are quite low, and social attitudes are a major barrier. The review aimed to discover how mothers learn about breastfeeding, the formal and informal sources they use, when information is sought ( pre or post nata), what the barriers they experience, and how they can be better supported. Martzoukou assets that the boundaries between environments where we develop IL are fluid, and that people transfer competencies from one domain to another, it is an ongoing activity of knowledge construction, deconstruction and knowledge extension within converging contexts. This is the information literacy “mindset” it is individual and collective.

The review searched information science databases and healthcare databases, and extracted 30 relevant articles in 2017. Key themes are information overload, and a variety of informal and formal sources are beneficial. Embodied experiences are important in this context. There is a lot of conflicting and outdated advice, even from health professionals and this leads to a loss of trust. Online environments and social media are important sources. There is a lack of realism in the information available to mothers, and the media has a problematic portrayal of breastfeeding.

Developing food and nutrition literacy with a Facebook group in Croatia #ecil2018

Noora Hirvonen from the university of Zadar in Croatia presented on research of parents’ food choices for their children in the context of digital participatory networks for sharing ideas, asking questions and discussing. Some people are active participants, others are passive in the sense they don’t create content, but lurk and read and can gain benefits from this activity. The research aimed to discover the possible benefits for the group members  in taking part in the Facebook group, which has 108,000 members and is called “homemade food for babies”.  A content analysis was done, members shared occasions where they were given contradictory advice from doctors, the administrators of the group were seen to provide the most expert and correct advice, and were far more trusted than other members or indeed other health professionals. Food allergies and how to deal with them were a major topic of discussion. There was a focus from the administrators on verified sources, such as the WHO. The quantitative study revealed that participants felt they were providing healthier food for their children. The analysis showed that reading the group documents is crucial for nutrition literacy, and using the recipes is important for healthy cooking behaviours. There was only a small difference in perceived food literacy between visibly active and lurking group members.

Opening keynote at #ecil2018 Frans Mayra

They keynote is entitled “Reading pervasive games in a Ludic society” given by Professor Frans Mayra form Tampere University in Finland. The talk focused on the pervasive nature of interactive technologies and computer-based gaming in our society. ICT enables digital worlds that are increasingly complex, that allow participants to have agency in them, and interact with each other. Frans has focused on role playing fantasy games that facilitate interaction and collaborative problem solving. The “ludic society” is one that emphasises the prominence of gaming as a form of art and entertainment, where there are increasing opportunities for play as a practice in work, leisure and social situations. Play can be part of work, rather than being the opposite of work. Frans spoke about the ideas of Eric Zimmerman who argues for a manifesto of the ludic century in which media culture is increasingly systemic, modular, customisable and participatory. People need to be playful, and learn to think and act in new ways, and include gaming as an aspect of media literacy.

He introduced the concept of “gamification” which is the application of game-like elements in non-entertainment contexts, whereas “ludification”is the rise of play and playfulness as modes of engagement and mindsets in culture and society. Games can be pervasive, and include augmented reality linked to the ubiquitous smart phone and location based technologies. The fantasy world is no longer completely separate, but is brought into the real world, for example the popular Pokemon go game. Ludic literacy is related to multidimensionality of games, and to complex game cultural agency, including the ability to play games, being able to read a game as a cultural text, and to engage in changing and creating games. The problems with Pokemon go at the height of its popularity with inappropriate behaviour of gamers e.g. hunting for Pokemon in graveyards, are problems that can be solved with greater Ludic literacy. Frans showed a video clip which imagined what it would be like to live in an augmented reality Ludic world driven by commercialisation, and reflected on the fact the people would have very different experiences, and effectively live in different realities, which would have massive implications for how we interact and relate to each other.

There needs to be support for a playful mindset, and playing together will promote togetherness and a sense of community, there is a need for critical information and Ludic literacy education.

Exploring the information world of non-resident informal carers #ECIL2018

Just to follow up on Pam's post - our presentation on Exploring the information world of non-resident informal carers (that she is presenting tomorrow at ECIL 2018) is embedded below for your convenience. I will be joining Pam in Oulu, Finland, on Wednesday (I am teaching in Sheffield today and tomorrow), and you will get some blog posts from both of us for the last 2 days of the conference. We will be running a workshop on research methods on Wednesday, and I will also be giving another presentation (co-authored with Bill Johnston) on Thursday. Additionally, Evi Tramantza (a PhD student in the iSchool) is presenting a poster based on her research and Professor Peter Bath is presenting one of the keynotes.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

European Conference on Information Literacy #ecil2018

Hi, I’m in Oulu in Finland for the annual European Conference on Information Literacy which starts tomorrow, Monday 24th September and lasts for 4 packed days. I’ll be live-blogging for the IL Weblog, trying to cover as much of the conference as I can. Sheila and I have a paper tomorrow morning “The information world of non-resident informal carers” where I’ll be presenting some data from a recent research project that aimed to discover the particular information problems encountered by family carers who don’t live with the person they care for. The slides are available here. The full conference programme is available here. I will also be presenting on Thursday about a further research project that I am undertaking with Andrew Cox and Laura Sbaffi from the information School, looking at the information literacy of diet and fitness tracking behaviours of members of the park run organisation, and slides for this presentation are also available here.  I hope you enjoy the postings!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Register your event with Global Media and Information Literacy Week #GlobalMILweek

If you are celebrating Global Media and Information Literacy Week (24-31 October 2018) in any way, go to this page to register your event, so others can find out what it going on! https://en.unesco.org/globalmilweek2018/events

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Exploring people’s conceptions and experience of information literacy #REDMIL2018

This is my keynote presentation from the REDMIL doctoral summer school that I participated in last week at the Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain la Neuve, Belgium, last week. My abstract was "Webber will start by outlining her research philosophy and contextualise this within her journey as a researcher. She will then summarise key aspects of phenomenographic and case study approaches: for example, appropriate types of research question for that approach, typical research design. Webber will finish by giving examples of information literacy research carried out using phenomenography or case study, focusing on studies undertaken in the Information School, University of Sheffield. These will include research studies focusing on populations in the UK, Syria, Thailand, Greece and Pakistan."


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New articles: Plagiarism; Privilege; Credit-bearing courses; Student success; Workplace IL; Librarians' research

Firstly, in the new issue of the open access journal College and Research Libraries (volume 79 issue 6, 2018)
- Faculty Perceptions of Plagiarism: Insight for Librarians' Information Literacy Programs by Russell Michalak, Monica Rysavy, Kevin Hunt, Bernice Smith, Joel Worden
- Credit-Bearing Information Literacy Courses in Academic Libraries: Comparing Peers by Spencer Jardine, Sandra Shropshire, Regina Koury
- Academic Librarian Research: An Update to a Survey of Attitudes, Involvement, and Perceived Capabilities by Marie R. Kennedy, Kristine R. Brancolini
- Information Privilege Outreach for Undergraduate Students by Sarah Hare, Cara Evanson
- The Academic Library’s Contribution to Student Success: Library Instruction and GPA by Ula Gaha, Suzanne Hinnefeld, Catherine Pellegrino
Go to https://crl.acrl.org/index.php/crl/issue/view/1108

Secondly, a couple of items from the latest issue of Libri
- Wu, Dan / Liang, Shaobo / Dong, Jing / Qiu, Jin. (2018). Impact of Task Types on Collaborative Information Seeking Behavior. Libri, 68(3), 231–245.
- Naveed, Muhammad Asif / Rafique, Fariha. (2018). Information Literacy in the Workplace: A Case of Scientists from Pakistan. Libri, 68(3), 247–257.
Go to: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/libr.2018.68.issue-3/issue-files/libr.2018.68.issue-3.xml
Photo by Sheila Webber: carrots at the Farmers Market, September 2018





Teachmeet in Glasgow

Academic and Research Libraries Group Scotland (ARLGS) have organised a TeachMeet-style half-day event on the afternoon of 20 November 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. The theme is teaching, training or information skills within libraries. "We are seeking applications from volunteers willing to give short, informal presentations during the event, which will be taking place at the University of Glasgow Main Library (G12 8QE). Typically, presentations can be between 5 and 15 minutes, and would be followed by questions from the audience or a discussion. This would allow speakers time to demonstrate good practice they have recently delivered, discuss an innovative idea that improved practice in their library or share personal insights in teaching. We welcome PowerPoint presentations, lightning presentations but also interactive demonstrations of your library innovation. Your idea could be presented in whatever format you choose (depending on equipment or room layout required)."
Applications (topic, format, material needed if applicable) should be sent by 22nd October 2018 to arlgs.events@gmail.com - at the moment they are only looking for people willing to present
Photo by Sheila Webber: a back staircase, Louvain la Neuve, September 2018

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Webinar: Can new librarians have a voice?

There's a free webinar on 24 September at 1pm UK time (Chicago 7AM, Paris 2PM, Melbourne 10PM), organised by IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) and ALA (American Library association): Can new librarians have a voice? Training & professional development vs. workplace reality
- We must give young professionals effective opportunities to learn, develop and lead by Christine Mackenzie (IFLA President-Elect)
- Organisational culture, empowerment and coaching – give opportunities to develop and learn by Catharina Isberg (Library Director Helsingborg Public Libraries, Secretary IFLA CPDWL section)
- Trust Those Fresh Eyes! by Dr Elham Sayyad-Abdi (Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence, University of the Pacific, USA / IFLA LIS Education in Developing countries)
- Skills for challenges: New librarians’ expectations from France to Malaysia by Dr Antoine Torrens (IFLA NPSIG Co-convenor, Bibliothèques de la ville de Compiègne, France)
More at https://npsig.wordpress.com/2018/09/13/can-new-librarians-have-a-voice/
Join at https://ala.adobeconnect.com/rdkz2gu1cqdv/
Photo by Sheila Webber: cakes, Blackheath Farmers' market, September 2018

Monday, September 17, 2018

Webinar: Engaging Learners through Active Instruction and Assessment

There is a priced 90 minute webinar on November 14 2018, starting at 2.30 US Eastern time (which is, e.g., 7.30pm UK time) Engaging Learners through Active Instruction and Assessment. It is organised by the American Library Association. "Whether you have one 60-minute session or a whole semester, successful instruction requires engaging with students early. Information literacy instructors can prepare students for learning and maximize participation during class time by employing key strategies both before class begins and in the critical first 15 minutes of class time. By the end of this session, participants will be ready to: quickly create welcoming environments where students feel comfortable speaking, sharing mis-steps, and detailing accomplishments; use principles of inclusive pedagogy to create customized and effective active learning exercises; and empower students to take leadership roles in their learning experiences." It is US $54 for ALA members aand US $60 for non-members. More info at https://www.alastore.ala.org/content/engaging-learners-through-active-instruction-and-assessment-workshop
Photo by Sheila Webber: Charlton Park, September 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Online course: Information Literacy in Politically Polarized Times

A new online priced course from Library Juice Academy is Information Literacy in Politically Polarized Times. I runs for 4 weeks, starting 15 October 2018. The cost is US $175. "This course is one opening for librarians and fellow educators to reflect together on the role information literacy education at this current polarized moment, the strengths and limitations of our current pedagogical practices, and new possibilities for our instructional work. Learning outcomes are: (1) Reflect on current sociopolitical and sociotechnical environments and their implications for information literacy education (e.g., political polarization; the online spread of misinformation; information silos and echo chambers; motivated reasoning; efforts to strengthen civic dialogue and engagement). (2) Become familiar with research on the relationship between social identity, beliefs, and information behaviors and consider its implications for information literacy education. (3) Examine various pedagogical responses to related information literacy skills (e.g., source evaluation, online reading strategies, debiasing). (4) Develop an instruction activity that encourages more critical engagement with information and that addresses a pedagogical concern related to the current sociopolitical climate." The course leader is Andrea Baer. More info at https://inquiringteachers.com/courses/information-literacy-in-politically-polarized-times/
Photo by Sheila Webber: flower art on a university wall, Louvain la Neuve, Belgium, September 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Literacies and participations: from practice to (critical) reflection #ReDMIL2018

The final keynote from ReDMIL I will be liveblogging is that of Maria José Brites (Universidade Lusofona do Porto, Portugal), talking on Literacies and participations: from practice to (critical) reflection. Her publication citations list is here.
The first question she posed was - do we need new research methods, can we continue to use the old, should we be developing hybrid methods? Secondly, characterising herself as an audience researcher, she asked what methods we can use to capture that moment in time when people are using new media. Thirdly she asked about the place of participation and reflection in research (and associated questions, like the impact of participation on people in their daily life).
Brites referred to a publication she had co-authored Methodological challenges in the transition towards online audience research. They came up with four challenges: (1) the expansion of online ethnography (which has varieties and labels such as net ethnography, virtual ethnography, cyber ethnography), and the importance of contextualisation (so seeing online in the context of the whole life - I will mention that there is interesting work from the ethnographer Tom Boellstorff arguing that this is not always necessary) (2) the influence of big data (3) reliance on mixed methods, and using research methods with different philosophies in one project (4) the ambiguity of online data and ethical issues that arise when you are doing online research. The ethics include issues of what is public and what private, and whether the particiapnts whose data is being used understand the implications of participating in research.
Brites identified Paulo Freire as important for her when considering issues of critical thinking and digital life. She pointed out that "connecting daily practices and reflexive thought is not a new idea" since it had already been developed by Freire. These aspects were important for participative methodologies. Brites emphasised the importance of being theoretically strong, but that when you are carrying out a research project, it was also a dialogue between the theory and the data.
Brites moved on to "learning by doing" and said she was fond of the European Commission's Key competencies for Lifelong Learning (2006). These include competencies in communication in mother tongue and foreign languages, mathematical and scientific competences, digital competences, "learning to learn" competences, social and civic competences, entrepreneurial competences, and cultural awareness. I most easily found the page about the 2018 review of the 2006 competencies. Brites regretted that this recent review left out "learning to learn" competences, and the earlier framework was the one that they used in a very recent project about young people and digital media, RadioActive. Brites also mentioned the DigiComp 2.0 framework.
She went on to talk about the Young People, News and Participation project, the RadioActive project , the ANLite project, and they have a new project about digital and civic literacies in juvenile delinquency institutions.
Brites firstly talked a bit more about the one year Media in Action project (part of DGConnect, I think this is the website http://mediainaction.eu/pt/). This involves gathering togther material and ideas created in previous projects, so that teachers can use them in practice, and it also has a digital storytelling strand.
She then explored the methods used in the project on young people, journalism and participation. There were 35 young people of various backgrounds involved, and the methods included direct observation, interviews, and focus groups, on a longitudinal basis. The longitudinal aspect enabled the young people to be more reflexive. For example in a second semistructured interview the participants were asked to bring along information or conversations they had used during the political campaign that was going on at the time. The participants were also shown the results of the first interview, so they could discuss that, and new interview questions were introduced on the basis of findings from the first interview. Additionally, the young people became "quasi researchers", interviewing peers. This article talks about the research.
Brites moved on to the RadioActive project (there is an article about it here, it was focused on competences assessment). It was looking at young people in low income areas, who had to produce online radio shows. As part of this, they were asked to do interviews with people on the street, which was challenging for the young people, but they found it improved their confidence in general communication and in creating material for the radio show.
The ANLite project involved enquiring with journalists, young people, parents and teachers about their media, news and digital literacies. An area of concern for Brites was that these people mostly had to learn these literacies by themselves, because the education was not embedded elsewhere.
Finally, the new project involves working in three educative centres for young offenders, with about 70 people. It will be an interesting issue of what methods to use in this challenging context (and altogether sounds an interesting and challenging project!)

I will be finishing up the ReDMIL coverage tomorrow, with a blog about my own keynote and one or two wrap posts, including talking about the doctoral contributions to the summer school.

Addressing curricula as policy: steps and methods for a critical assessment of media education content in school programmes #ReDMIL

Normand Landry (TELUQ) gave the next keynote I'm liveblogging at REDMIL18, Addressing curricula as policy: steps and methods for a critical assessment of media education content in school programmes.
Theoretical knowledge, policy, teaching practices, competencies to be developed by learners, and the policies, social issues etc. around the concept of "media" all have to be considered in this context. Landry felt that there had not been enough research looking at how these factors are interlinked and interact (how they are articulated). (National/ regional) school curricula also formed an important linking role, and there were a number of questions that can be asked about curricula (e.g. looking at the discourse used in curriculum documents). This talk focused on work in Quebec in researching curricula (for evidence of media education) this way, and describing the exact process they used.
Discourses. prescriptions and goals were three key aspects of the documents being analysed. It was also valuable to look where the media education content was situated (in which other disciplines), which had implications for teacher education and practice in those disciplines. Finally, mapping this content to media literacy competences, or a media education framework, gives an idea of how adequate the content is.
Landry went on to explain how they had approached the project in Quebec. He gave a brief sketch of the complexity of the Quebec school curricula (see photo).
Step one involved reading all the documents, taking note of all the issues related to the points above (e.g. what discourses are being used, what words and phrases are useed, what strikes you as problematic). After this unstructured close reading, a second more structured reading and coding is needed. At this stage it was important to remain objective, in order to bring out the meaning of the document/writers (rather than the preconceptions and terminology of the researchers).
Talking about discourses, Landry gave illustrative quotations e.g. the curriculum document asserting that children would be "amazed and fascinated" by media productions. Looking at action verbs, they picked out the verbs and verb phrases e.g. "develop" "give them opportunities". The researchers developed a table of players (e.g. students), actions (verbs) and the learning objects. The objects of learning are the things that the verbs applied to (e.g. distinguishing "different types of media"). The "extraction sites" were the parts of the curricula in which the content were found (e.g. history). The above can be used to generate a keyword list to search the documents thoroughly (or also, I think as a preliminary or comparative tool for others' research?)
The results are a refined table of actors, verbs, objects of study, and extraction sites. This can be used for second phase research, using these lists to start conversations with teachers about how and whether they implement this. The results were finally compared in this study to a relevant matrix of media literacy competences (I think based on this http://sites.uclouvain.be/rec/index.php/rec/article/viewArticle/7444). This reveals the conception of media education embodied in the curriculum, enabling the researchers to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum, where different types of media literacy were developed etc.: this is evidence which can be used to interact with policymakers as well as practitioners.
There have been a number of analyses of media literacy or information literacy documents in different countries, and I think this research is a useful model for approaching this systematically. 

Methodological aspects in practice based research: Case Somejam #ReDMIL2018

Today I aim to liveblog again from the ReDMIL2018 doctoral summer school at UCL Belgium, and the first keynote of the day is from Sirkuu Kotilainen (University of Tampere), who talks on Methodological aspects in practice based research: Case Somejam. As a liveblog, these are just my immediate impressions of her talk.
The project she was using was involved young people learning coding, a two-day hackathon called Somejam. Kotilainen said that she felt that both approaches to teaching and learning, and research methods, needed to change with changing technologies and literacies.
She identified that they took a "pragmatist critical perspective in learning and literacies in digital cultures", both for the research and the hackathon. There was a political objective, to help education students develop their pedagogy, to be more collaborative in involving learners. There were 45 participants in the hackathon, 15 students from high schools, and the others Masters level students. The participants formed teams and had to develop a digital product (concerned with improving the lives of young people) during the course of the hackathon, with mentoring from IT students.
Kotilainen identified this project as being pragmatist, and one way of categorising it is as Educational Design Research (van Akker et al, 2006), which has been used (for example) in educational technology research. However, for Kotilainen a more familiar way of categorising it was as action research, with its cycles of planning, action and reflection. The planning included all the practical and marketing issues, on a fairly tight budget. Somejam was organised by project leaders and small teams of graduate students. The reflection included an after party in a pub, personal learning diaries of those involved, and a 2-hour reflective discussion. The reflection included the issues that emerged within the organising teams during the event. There were also interviews with 6 organisers and participants, organisers' logbooks, the documents created in the event, the 9 designs of the apps or digital objects created in the event, and the teams' video presentations of their products.
This means there was a lot of data, and Kotilainen stressed the need to make decisions about which data you were going to select to concentrate on, in order to focus on the aims of your project. She also stressed the need to explain, and critically reflect on, the process of research, to use the data for thick description, and to enfold the reflective aspect, with the narrative of the findings presented clearly.
So, in this project was hands-on, with the researcher as an active participant, aiming for transformation and development. A key challenge was making the research methodologically robust. In this case Participatory Action Research and Educational Design Research were linked together, possibly to form a new method. Also Kotilainen forecast a new online hackathon, which will take place in conjunction with the Global MIL conference 24-26 October 2018. It will start online in advance of the conference and registration is already open (when I manage to find the link I will add it!).

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Literacies between Kultur und Bildung #RedMIL2018

My next liveblog from the ReDMIL doctoral summer school is Olivier Le Deuff's talk on Epistemological issues in new literacies: Literacies between Kultur und Bildung. I have mentioned him before, for example last year we presented on a panel about theorizing information literacy together. He is based at the Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France.
Firstly he talked about his own background, starting as a school librarian in France (professeur documentaliste). He decided to do a PhD whilst he was a teacher librarian, having seen the information problems that the students had. He began this PhD when "web 2.0" was becoming important, so he felt that this new media meant that information literacy couldn't be the same as in the 1980s, but needed to be more ambitious. Thus for his PhD he used culture de l'information as the term for the concept he was investigating.
Le Deuff referred to the Groupe de recherche sur les cultures et la didactique de l'information which he had formed with others (consisting of teacher librarians, teachers and researchers), 10 years ago. This was still investigating issues to do with literacies and learning.
Le Deuff said how a colleague had dubbed him "le literatiologue" because of his interest in literacy, and he noted that this exact concept was relatively new in France, and not so well known. There were difficulties around translating "literacy" and "literate".
Now his interests focused on a number of areas: digital humanities (e.g. Humanlit project) - see also his book; Digital health literacy (following his project with older people); Paul Otlet (the pioneer information scientist); the epistemology of information science; and documentation / documentality /hyperdocumentation.
Turning to definition of terms and identification of concepts, he still preferred "culture de l'information". In this context, "culture" conveys the complexity of the concept, and he prefers this to the term "Media and Information Literacy" which seems to him a more institutional terms, and also one that does not translate ideally into French. Le Deuff also identified the issue that media literacy is assumed by some by some to be the same as news literacy. He noted that the term "Transliteracy" was also interesting, but was sometimes misunderstood and more difficult to work with when talking to teachers, librarians etc. For him the "trans" aspect was most important, that one is working across media, from printed books to digital literacy, possibly making a connection between old and new forms of communication.
Le Deuff went on to explore the term "didactics" (the literal translation from the French), which he distinguished from pedagogy. Underlying the concept are the important questions: what do we want to teach and how do we want to teach?
Turning specifically to information literacy, Le Deuff put forward three versions of IL: IL for economy (as in Zurkowski's idea); IL for citizenship; IL and libraries (originating in a North American context, and in the 1980s, and - Le Deuff felt - connecting with the idea of IL for economy).
Looking at the title to his talk, Le Deuff defined the German terms Kultur (which does translate as culture - including ways of life, nationality etc.) and Bildung (which means development, learning things over time, I would add that it does get used in some contexts in which in English you would say "education"). He proposed that Kultur could be seen as more collectivist, and Bildung as something more individual. That led to the idea that you needed some foundation or tools, but also to understand for yourself: Le Deuff also floated the idea that we needed eine neue Aufklarung (which could be translated as a new enlightenment). I asked about this idea afterwards, and he referred back to Kant's idea of the citizen being able to read and write, and so now we need to think about what it means to be a reading-and-writing citizen now, with both a technical and intellectual perspective. He also referred to the idea of the "state of majority".
Finally, Le Deuff returned to the idea of digital humanities, the need to study literacies with a sense of perspective and the past (rather than just focusing on the current changes) and the connections between ancient practices and current ones, so that we could find a better way to develop a curriculum for literacies.

Data Literacy: part of media literacy or a new form of literacy #REDMIL2018

The second keynote that I'm liveblogging at REDMIL2018 is from Leo Van Audenhove (Free University of Brussels) on Data Literacy: part of media literacy or a new form of literacy. Looking at the field, he highlighted the terminology and concepts about the types of literacy (e.g. data lteracy, numeracy, statistical literacy) and the individual's role (e.g. the call for new data professionals). He also noted that the field is very skill and competence oriented and is instrumental (with data literacy being seen as useful for being an empowered citizen etc., see photo).
Van Audenhove presented a couple of data literacy definitions, which he pointed out were similar to media literacy definitions, and I would add they also have similarity with information literacy definitions. He quoted Data Pop Alliance who put data literacy at the centre of literacies (there is one of those familiar daisy diagrams, with data literacy in the middle, and information literacy as one of the outer petals). Van Audenhove referred to Castells who pointed out that information had always been around, so that it wasn't the information society that was new, but rather the networks which extend and augment "the body nd mind of human subjects in networks of interaction". Van Audenhove gave the example of Netflix, where you created your own profile, so it tailored itself to you (unlike traditional TV). Going back to Castells, he noted how Castells had identified that what is valued has not changed (so, in a capitalist society this means what major institutions think is valuable).
In analogy with all this, "increase in the amount of data does not define a new society" so the increasing amount of data produced is emerging in a biased world, with its existing structures, regulations, values etc. Van Audenhove talked about the "automated decision processes", including the obvious ways in which search engines, social media are filtered, but also the algorithms affecting all sorts of decision making processes (to do with health, everyday life) made by governments as well as companies and individuals. This can lead to social sorting - putting people into boxes - and data misuse.
He gave an example of "being of interest in the network" (or not) he gave screenshots from Google Streetview - or rather, he pointed out how there was streetview of a South African university campus, but there was no streetview of a township only about 10 miles away.There were issues there of whose lives and voices were and were not valued.
Van Audenhove presented a media literacy competence model from mediawijs.be, and related data literacy to this. However, he emphasised that having the competences (being able to identify, use etc. data) didn't automatically enable you to understand the role of data and the automated decision processes in society. The outcomes of people/machines using data (e.g. outcomes of algorithms) are not always visible, and people may not be aware of them.
To answer the question in the title of his talk, yes, he felt that data literacy needed to be brought into media literacy, in order to integrate this critical, questioning aspect. There was also a need to develop educational material fostering this critical approach with the operational skills. For people's empowerment, he set out 3 preconditions: that a person has knowledge and capabilities to engage with media critically; that the "individual has the choice to act on the acquired knowledge", and that people can trust the systems that they live with and use (this includes policy and regulations).
Van Audenhove finished by talking about a project he has embarked on now, where they have got money for a big "data bus" - a real bus kitted out with tech, sensors and so forth, which will travel round to schools in Brussels, "showcasing the role of data". Students will be able to play with things (the bus can hold about 40 people when it is static), it can be integrated into their curriculum, and they will develop educational packages. They are still developing the apps, and are starting out in the next half year. It will be an interesting project to follow. The public broadcasters in Flanders has a remit for media literacy, which makes it fruitful to work with, for example they are creating special episodes for a popular TV series, focusing on media literacy, which can be used when working with children. There is a week when the broadercaster focuses on media literacy, and this media literacy week again provides opportunities for working in schools. An issue is teacher training: teachers may be very motivated, but media literacy may not have been a feature of their education.
Issues that came up in the question session afterwards included the right to be invisible, and the problem of token official commissions etc. to do with issues such as fake news (determining who got included in the group examining the issue, and the boundaries of the issues).

Digital media, culture and education: using dynamic literacies #REDMIL2018

This week I am one of the keynote speakers at the Research on Digital/Media/Information Literacy (REDMIL2018) doctoral summer school at UCLouvain in Belgium. I will be doing some liveblogging, mainly focusing on the keynotes, since doctoral students do not always want their emerging ideas liveblogged. As usual, the warning that this is my impression of what people said.
John Potter (UCL Institute of Education) gave the first keynote, entitled Digital media, culture and education: using dynamic literacies and third space as frameworks. He referred to his book coauthored with Julian McDougall Digital Media, Culture and Education Theorising Third Space Literacies. He was exploring questions such as where researchers focus their attention, what interpretations, analysis etc. we use. He used a metaphor from China Mieville's novel The city and the city, in that those in different disciplines may be exploring the same subject, but "unseeing" (being unware of and not seeing) the research and interpretations from outside their discipline. This can be seen to be the situation e.g. with media lteracy and information literacy.
He moved on to discuss the meaning of a core concept, namely "literacy". He presented literacies (rather than "literacy") as now being "inherently ideological and contested", with it important to look at situated practices, and qualitatively different in the digital age. This did not mean neglecting print literacy, but it did mean exploring the different forms of literacy.
Potter saw "categorising labels" for literacy as problematic (for example digital - , Information - , cultural -, ), putting too much emphasis on the categorising label, and not enough on exploring a person's world of literacies. He felt it was important to explore both socio-cultural and semiotic aspects of literacies (see 2nd photo): so not just practices, but also underlying meanings. Potter introduced the idea of "dynamic literacies" (encompassing this framework), capturing the way in which dynamism of change needed to part of a research framework. Artefacts, practices and social arrangments change. He used the selfie stick as an example to make the point that we should not be too focused on the artefact , but also the practices and the social interactions. Potter also emphasised the important of play and playfulness as part of engaging with literacies.
He moved on to give instances of dynamic literacies, such as people making "audio" postcards, recording memories in digital ways, using virtual realities (he showed photos of a child in a classroom, but looking at a VR representation of the school roof). He also talked about "reading" images and ways in which humans have marked their physical environments.
Following on that, Potter presented a video produced by children, which he had analysed in his own thesis, and explained the complexity of what was being done in the video, in the cultural references, the skills and techniques used by the children in putting it together etc.
He finished by talking about the Playing the archive project (which also involves colleagues in the Education School at my own University) which is "exploring the nature of play by bringing together archives, spaces and technologies of play, along with people who play, both old and young". So this involves exploring how play archives may be brought alive for children now, and also involves ethnographic study of current children's play. This leads to them developing "dynamic [research] methods for dynamic literacies". For example, multiple ways may be used to capture sound and movement (drones, cameras on the children). They are noticing how channels such as YouTube, Youtubers, games etc. are incorporated into the children's lives. Potter highlighted the ethical issues, and the importance of not seeing people as data points. There was a need for dynamic and creative methodologies