Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Navigating Changing Information Landscapes Using Visual Literacy and Metaliteracy #wilu2024

Photo by Sheila Webber of the Kafka cafe in Vancouver in May 2024

Continuing liveblogging from the WILU conference In Vancouver, Canada. Katie Greer (Fine and Performing Arts Librarian, Oakland University, USA) and Dana Thompson (Research and Instruction Librarian, Assistant Dean of Libraries, Murray State University) talk about Navigating Changing Information Landscapes Using Visual Literacy and Metaliteracy in Instruction Practices.
The speakers had served on the working group developing the Framework for Visual Literacy for Higher Education (a companion document to the ACRL IL framework).
They started by introducing the Framework: the Image Research Interest Group was asked to create this companion to the IL Framework in 2018. They defined visual literacy as "an interconnected set of practices, habits and values for participating in visual culture that can be developed through critical, ethical, reflectiv and craetive engagement with visual media". Thegroup identfied four themes for the VL framework and created the associated knowledge practices and dispositions. By talking about "learners who are developing their visual literacy" the companion document emphasises that this is an aspect of lifelong learning.
The speakers went on to define metaliteracy (as developed by Mackey and Jacobson) which they see as now being its own pedagogical model. They described the model, whic is shown here
Moving to compare the two frameworks: the first VL theme is that Learners participate in a changing visual information landscape. Elements covered include attribution of visuals, privacy issues, visual life cycle, using analog and digital. This maps well to the first goal of metaliteracy (evaluating content and biases) and to the civic-minded disposition. Addressed in the metaliteracy framework, but not so much in the companion document are: affective considerations, ethical use of information and collaborative intent.
The 2nd VL theme is Learners perceive visuals as communicating information (with elements: visual as primary mode of communication; constructing meaning; context as important; ethical creation). This maps well to the Metaliteracy goals: evaluating content and biases; ethical considerations; participatory characteristics. The metaliteracy goals concerned with the active role of the learner, becoming informed and adaptable were lacking from the VL companion.
The 3rd theme is Learners practice visual discernment and criticality (with elements visuals are not neutral, critical and reflective evaluation; slow looking). This maps the best with metaliteracy goals: evaluating content, lifelong, informed and civic minded. The gaps were ethical and collaborative elements.
The 4th theme is Learners pursue social justice through visual practice. Subthemes were that visual practices can promote social justice, respect creators IPR and BIPOC community values, accessibility. This maps onto the metaliteracy goals: evaluating content; critical evaluation; lifelong learning; civic-minded. However metaliteracy does not explictly have a goal about social justice or accessibility.
There were 3 Metaliteracy objectives that did not map onto the VL framework (3.6, 4.5 and 4.9).
Looking at use of both frameworks: when incorporating VL into the curriculum, aspects such as incorporating peer learning can be drawn from the Metaliteracy framework.
The authors gave some examples. The first was from librarians at Miami University, which had learning objectives to do with discussing AI generator outputs critically. It fosters dispositions such as acknowledging that no platform is neutral. The metaliteracy characteristics of Civic minded and Informed could be used as a lens to inform the design and conversation in learning. The 2nd example was from Dana Statton Thompson (one of the speakers) who described the DIG method used to critically read "deep" images. The 3rd example was on visual bias and belief, with a learning objective to examine social media visuals reflectively and critically (I'm afraid I wasn't quick enough to capture all teh details of these examples).
An article is due to be published soon, covering the same ground as this presentation, in more detail. There was also a QR code for resources which I will upload later if the image turns out to be good enough.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Kafka cafe, Vancouver, May 2024

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