Thursday, June 22, 2017
Our wicked problem: educating for digital literacy
Julien identified the increasing resistence to experts by various constituencies (dismissing them as elites, biased etc.): she recommended Nichols (2017) book, The death of expertise: the campaign against established knowledge and why it matters. She encouraged people to engage: be active, expressing views publically, educating government representatives, and advocating for digital literacy.
Julien mentioned the #librariestransform campaign, #librariesresist, posters etc. created by the Association, IFLA etc. and various guides such as http://snopes.com http://bsdetector.tech http://www.thenewsliteracyproject.org. She identified challenges to digital literacy education including that people may overestimate their digital literacy skills, that information practices are complex, information seeking is a dynamic process, that people favour habitual practices and convenient solutions. She also noted that "people are irrational" e.g. that we tend to persevere with an opinion once it is formed, so there is confirmation bias. In particular "resistance to changing our beliefs is especially strong when those beliefs are central to our identity". he mentioned the "backfire effect" - that people confronted with evidence contrary to their beliefs might be even more strongly convinced of their own belief in reation. There were numerous other challenges to digital literacy - for example, that social conformity affected decision making (so if extreme views are the norm, there is pressure to adopt them).
Julien proposed that it is necessary for educators to engage with the issues in classrtoom discussion, and teach people to teach digital literacy - including teaching library and information professionals. She listed various essentials (such as being taught about learning theory, online learning, assessement - I will just put in an advertisement here for the Information Literacy module I teach at Sheffield University iSchool which includes learning about teaching and covers some of this ;-)
There was an interesting discussion afterwards that touched on topics such as: librarians and neutrality; access and awareness; how filter bubbles may create an illusion of digital fluence (that because you can navigate your filter bubble well, you don't realise what you are missing and your lack of competence outside your bubble).
Thanks to the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Strathclyde for organising this.