Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Information Literacy: from theory to practical implications

While it's fresh in my mind I'll blog the session that I chaired this morning at the i3 conference here in Aberdeen. Agneta Lantz and Christina Brage presented Information Literacy: from theory to practical implications. I’ll deal with that first, and the other paper in the next blog entry. Agneta began by describing the context at Linkoping University, where library involvement has developed to an information literacy programme including credit bearing classes with interesting titles like “Civic information: the citizen in the information age” and “Information literacy and learning”. Agneta described their model of applied information literacy and the theories or concepts they had drawn on when developing it. They have explained this in their article (the article also gives information about some of their classes)
Lantz, A. and Brage, C. (2006) “Towards a learning society: exploring the challenge of applied information literacy through reality based scenarios.” Italics, 15 (1).

Agneta went on to give some details of the study which they have done with 112 students, interviewing 30 of them, and also using other data e.g. exam papers. They were aiming to identify students’ experiences of learning information literacy. They identified categories of “dependence” and “independence”, with most students experiencing “dependence” at the start of the class (e.g. lacking confidence, difficulties in synthesising, not understanding the structure of scholarly literature). By the end of the class, more students were indicating that they felt confident or had got to grips with some information literacy and writing skills.

The implications drawn from this included a need to develop students’ writing abilities more explicitly (writing process is part of their IL model) and also the needs to address students’ feelings and thinking, not just their “skills”. One comment after the talk was that IL was not always associated with writing skills, even in the educational context. I would also add that the model is focused on “task”, which again might not match all aspects of IL. However, the way the model brings together writing and IL does seem interesting and useful to me in quite a few academic contexts.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Haggis canapes at the reception last night.

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