Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The End of Information Literacy? #ecil2016

I am giving 2 presentations this morning, so I'm not doing much liveblogging! However here is a note of one of the talks just given at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2016, in Prague. Michaela Dombrovská talked about The End of Information Literacy? She presented the case of some different literacies (information, financial, general, media, digital) in the Czech Republic. The title arose from her wondering why initiatives to get information literacy adopted at a policy level seemed to get frozen and did not progress. She had been involved directly in developing statements and initiatives on information and financial literacy at a national level. The financial literacy initiatives had been more succesful than that on information literacy.
In all cases she observed the literacy went through 3 stages
- concept (expert's agreement). Information Literacy has not moved beyond this stage in the Czech Republic, for various reasons, including a financial scandal that arose, where information literacy was a badge that had been used (I think for misuse of funds)
- public awareness which turns the concept to a policy. For financial literacy, this more easily appeals to the public, they can see how it could help their everyday life. They way of making people realise the value of information literacy has not really been discovered yet.
- law (citizens' right and duty). People can not be obliged to do things unless it is enshrined in law and for example in the national curriculum.
The speaker also identified what helps:
- stable or increasing public interest
- existing EU or international policies
- overall coopertation among key players
She gave some examples in the Czech context e.g. National Strategy on Financial Literacy, Strategy on Digital Literacy 2015-2020.
In the case of IL: general interest is unlikely, key players do not cooperate and IL is not mentioned in laws. However, the speaker felt it was not a lost cause! For this to happen she felt that IL needed to be presented as a set of competencies, and that each competency appeared in some law or policy (rather than having to be in one policy).
The photo is unrelated to the talk - Italian ice cream at a local Czech cafe

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