Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mainstreaming Information Literacy #lilac13

The only keynote at the LILAC conference #lilac13 (held 25-27 March) that I didn't liveblog was Mainstreaming Information Literacy for the Promotion of Universal Access to Information from Dr Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg, programme specialist at UNESCO. Her presentation is now online (I have embedded it below), but I did also make some notes during her talk, and so I am including some of those as well.

You can see that her first couple of slides highlight new trends and issues (particularly technical developments). She went on to question why the information literacy community did not talk so much about human rights, as well as needs. For UNESCO this is a very important element, with the Knowledge Societies initiative founded on human needs and human rights. Dr Kasinskaite-Buddeberg acknowledged that there has been a lot of emphasis on technological issues, but there needed to be more emphasis on critical issues. Information Literacy is being mainstreamed within this broader perspective.

The speaker emphasised that Media Literacy (ML) and Information Literacy were important to all citizens as part of Lifelong Learning: she identified this as "Core Media and Information Literacy (MIL) competencies towards transliteracy" with "Basic literacy" as the other aspect, which is still very important. Dr Kasinskaite-Buddeberg presented a wheel of literacies (her slide 10) with MIL in the middle. I noted that there are a number of literacies which they see as associated with ML (e.g. cinema literacy), but only Library literacy is associated with IL. There is also Freedom of Information/ Expression in its own bubble, and some technology-related literacies.
The speaker talked about initiatives on the development of MIL competencies and the rationale for putting ML and IL together: I have blogged about this quite a lot so I won't repeat it here, but refer to posts e.g. here. So far professional communities were targeted in UNESCO's consultations, but they want to involve more representatives of: Educators, particularly teachers; Policy and decision makers; Statiticians; Industry and employers; Marginalised and disadvantaged groups.Dr Kasinskaite-Buddeberg stressed the need to engage with teachers (since MIL was important from an early age) and also with policy makers who have such influence over resources and strategic direction.

She mentioned the UNESCO Recommendations, various Declarations (e.g. the Prague Declaration on IL) and Proclamations. The UNESCO Recommendations on MIL are particularly useful as member states are urged to provide reports on the state in their country.As already noted, UNESCO are now aiming to achieve the goals articulated in the Declarations etc. through the MIL/Lifelong Learning "Integrated" approach, together with an "Expansive approach" which is situational and context specific i.e. looking at MIL needs and rights in specific cultures, sectors etc. At the end of the presentation the speaker mentioned various publications (which which I have blogged here, I think, over the last year or so) and also upcoming meetings in Nigeria (June), Russia (September) and Istanbul (the ECIL conference in October)

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