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May 11, 2006

WILU 2006: Day Two, First Afternoon Session

The third session I attended on Day 2 was on national advocacy for information literacy -- specifically looking at policy documents from other countries and how information literacy is framed in those documents. Here are my notes, as before, my own comments are in italics and everything is a bit rough, in point form, I will clean it up when I get back to Toronto.

A National Focus for Information Literacy Development

CJ de Jong, University of Winnipeg

--presenter starts from the premise that IL’s goal is to support the development of the knowledge economy

--a national focus is necessary because we need it to happen throughout the whole education system – all three tiers: elementary, high schools, university.

--also needed because individual efforts are subject to whims of funding, budget cuts

--working with individual faculty/teachers can create obstacles as they see our IL work as more content, another add on, a drain on time
--need to teach people how to integrate il standards into their teaching on a more global level
(also problem of individual faculty coming and going, it's great to create an ally, but if you don't have more systemic integration, what happens when ally disappears?)

--will survey policies in a bunch of other countries (but points to problem of lack of clarity in how they define IL, mix up with computer literacy):
--the presenter will not provide a critical stance on these IL-related policies

--government has formed an “informatization organization” presided over by a high level government official in Chinese State Department. High priority
--“IL must be popularized in primary and secondary schools” – and also in the workers
(what about the filtering issue in China??)
--lots of money put into tech infrastructure in the late 1990’s
--State Department has resolved to deepen IL at all levels of education

South Africa

--thinking about how IL could influence community development
--established a national council for library and information services in an act of parliament which has promotion of IL as one of their goals
--National Library has IL as one of their goals as well, along with information awareness
--government has recognized that the central role the ‘information economy’ must occupy in its strategic plans

-- IL initiatives are very strong here
---the ministry of education is pushing the idea of a new media culture emerging, which requires a new type of ability – IL competencies
-- acquiring, managing and communicating information – necessary for information society
--ministry of education funded 6 month project on enhancing education skills about the Internet in higher ed and public libraries
--council of universities funded a program – 3 coordinators to develop a shared modular structured program for all universities to use
--ministry of education recognized role of libraries in IL

--il initiatives since the 1980’s
--nearly all secondary schools are teaching ICL, with an average of 40 hours in lessons
-- has been criticized for being overly focused on computer rather than information literacy

--first semester of first academic year became an orientation semester – 3 units, last one called “Methodology of the University” – 15-20% of the semester’s schedule
--this was a legislative opening which offered a framework to introduce IL in the curriculum

Comment from Toni Samek
-- all this rhetoric suggests everything is good in French education system, but what about context -- what about massive student rioting? or that the chief librarian of france key player in fighting google’s mass digitization
-- can we really talk about IL (in which critical thinking is key) and not be critical of these policies/initiatives?

--i.e. shouldn't we also consider the political context?

--various government departmental documents regarding IL
--commitment of education and training sector for a framework which includes IL
--universities encouraged to promote competencies which include IL and lifelong learning skills

My question:
--what about IL and participative citizenship – do any governments talk about that? -- no... emphasis is more on role of IL in economic development

--NCLIS – a body that reports to government on libraries, promotes IL

--Toni Samek's question
– so if the emphasis in all of these documents is on economic development you have to ask ... is IL being used in service to the state? what do we think about that?

-- some discussion in crowd here about pros and cons of using economic benefit language as a way to sell IL to government -- would we lose control and lose the ethical, social and political dimensions of IL if we allowed capitalist/utilitarian discourse to take over?

--council of ministers of education, Canada
--focus on literacy
--what about HRDC? – has a group on lifelong learning – but no IL stuff
--information superhighway advisory council – providing infrastructure… but pretty empty rhetoric on access to information via IL – not much actual support
(isn’t this probably the case in all countries? language vs action?)

--PEI Minister’s Directive to School Libraries – includes language on IL
--lessson plans for il – for Grades 1-12 – on pei ministry site
--but what about our context -- there are fewer and fewer school libraries/librarians in this country

BC – some language – “gather, process and manipulate information”

Ontario – some language in ministry of education documents?

--note that in all of these documents the language about IL is totally skills-based with no political/critical dimension

Canadian Associations

-- IL interest group resolution at CLA – but nothing happens, nobody’s accountable
-- could play an Advocacy role
-- Statements on IL ... but little action

--CARL Task Force on IL

SWOT Analysis for IL in Canada
--strengths– infrastructure for telecommunications
(but diminishing … threats to)
--weaknesses – geopolitical, also problem of no association working for adovacy in this area
-- opportunities ....wilu … provides opportunity to apply and promote
-- threats – our agenda vs government agenda (participative citizenship vs economic development). Lack of awareness outside the profession. Lack of funding.

Posted by Lisa Sloniowski at 10:15 PM

WILU 2006-- Day 2: Morning Session

More problems connecting to the network today, so I'm posting my notes after the fact again. In the opening plenary I had to go old school -- pen and paper -- so those notes will come later, suffice it to say that Shapiro and Hughes gave an interesting talk extending the ideas from their "IL as a Liberal Art" article. Next it was off to "Where the Wild Things Are" a session on inquiry-based learning from two librarians from the U of Calgary, read on for more...

Where the wild things are—An Inquiry approach to IL
(Barbara Brydges and Tammy Flanders, University of Calgary)

--presenters are from a school of education, moving to inquiry-based model

--inquiry has been described as a stance rather than a process – about wonder and discovery. Not so much content we teach as a way of facilitating discovery and curiousity.

--creates opportunities for students to experience how knowledge is created in different disciplines

--what are the characteristics of inquiry?
--driven by student questions
--openness to all ideas
--learners have to give priority to evidence when formulating explanation
--have to think about how has my own thinking changed as a result of this new information – where
do I have to go as a result, how have I changed as a result (reflection)

--nobody can tell you how to teach, it emerges from your own identity, philosophy and your context – so this is why in a faculty of education, inquiry approach is better because it gives over more control to the learner to explore themselves

Held 2hour inquiry based session – nature of inquiry, helping students to develop questions
-- offered voluntary follow up database skills training session for students who want it
-- these were in September, as part of orientation

The presenters showed us a video, of students choosing children's literature books, and asking questions about why they like it, how they would use it in their teaching -- move from the personal/experiential to the practical

The presenters also gave us an example of a game:

--give groups a bunch of unfamiliar objects, have them speculate about what it is and then what it is they need to know to know more .... like – where’s it from, who uses it, is it complete or part of something bigger, who created it, when was it created, why was it created/purpose?
--good parallels with the research process -- what do i need to know to develop a question about this object, once i have a question, what do i need to know to answer it.... (ACRL Standard 1 stuff)

-- i liked the way they gave us material to read in this sesion and gave us time to read it and discuss in groups -- inquiry-based approach in itself, helping us to learn more about the topic and develop questions right in the session

Posted by Lisa Sloniowski at 6:47 PM

May 10, 2006

IL controlled vocabulary

I got this note yesterday from Jennifer at Seneca... not sure if it's a local IL Repository for Seneca librarians, or something to be shared with us all, like the CORIL project? However, regardless if you have something that will help them, please send it to the email address below:

"Seneca College is building an Information Literacy Repository and is seeking an existing IL or BI controlled vocabulary to use in the repository to describe our resources. If you have any information or a vocabulary to share please contact: jennifer.peters-lise@senecac.on.ca."

Posted by Lisa Sloniowski at 10:26 PM

WILU 2006

I thought I would make an attempt to blog WILU 2006. WILU is Canada's annual national information literacy conference and is being held this year in Wolfville Nova Scotia by the very talented team at Acadia University. The theme this year is "Charting a Course for Instruction." Once the conference is over and I've had more time and more sleep, I'll come back to these entries and add links and edit a bit. Comments in italics are my own thoughts, the rest are notes from the presentation speakers and delegates comments. Of course these notes are selective and represent things I found interesting, and should not be taken as a definitive account of the sessions. Today was the first day of the conference and I had some tech problems (resolved now I hope) so I only have notes from the workshop I attended, "Building a Teaching Team" and I'm adding them after the fact back in the tech haven of my hotel room. Tomorrow I hope to be blogging live from the conference. Read on for my point form notes from the pre-conference workshop..... and I invite comments/corrections from other WILU delegates.

Building a Teaching Team

Chris Powis, University of Northhampton and Jo Webb, De Montfort University

"The workshop facilitators are academic librarians working in UK universities. As well as their library roles, they are both identified as institutional change agents in learning and teaching and are active in professional organizations. They are also both National Teaching Fellows, a £50,000 award for excellence open all staff teaching or supporting learning awarded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. They are the authors of Teaching Information Skills: theory and practice (Facet, 2004)."

--IL cannot be done in isolation
--need to work with faculty, IT people, students -- they are key components of the teaching team
--we have tons of negative assumptions about them and vice versa
-- need to see them as individuals

--got to get out of the library and talk to these people
--give them stuff ... information, jellybeans
--faculty … recognize and promote that we have similar interests – developing the il level of students
(develop real relationships)
(don’t take any crap -- stand your ground, you are an expert too)

--get out from behind the desk
--seduce with your mad skillz … then they will be your best advocate with faculty and other students

techies -- campus systems people
-- publically acknowledge, appreciate
-- develop relationships
-- remember how thankless their task is
-- give them food ... pizza

(what about systems librarians??)

developing a shared teaching culture
--a long term project
-quality control/assurance – consistency

how to connect pedagogical knowledge to experiential learning, reflection and to action in your context
– make a strategic planning framework,
--human resource policies (job descriptions, evaluation – tied to career advancement, “competence frameworks”
--staff dev policy or strategy
-- requires financial commitment
--need a learning, teaching and assessment strategy – “how we manage our learning”

Discussed activities for peer support and orientations to teaching for new librarians, how to develop reflectiveness and offer good contining professional development opportunities. Some good ideas emerged:
--research and reading in the scholarly literature -- in groups. Sort of a book club for researching best practices/scholarship of teaching
-- liaise with educational developers
--brown bag sessions on teaching issues
--teaching portfolios with philosophy of teaching statements
-- liaise with learning skills centres
--work with national and provincial teaching in higher education bodies
--share learning objects and best practices -- informally and in online repositories
-- use blogs/wikis/email to do so
--reciprocal "shadowing" -- visit a prof's seminar/lecture and observe and provide feedback, and have him/her do the same with one of your classes

Posted by Lisa Sloniowski at 10:03 PM

May 2, 2006

OCAV Undergraduate Degree Expectations

I've just been asked by our Associate VP (Academic) to create a chart or document of some kind demonstrating the relationship between the ACRL IL standards/competencies and the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (the new Ontario guidelines for undergrad degrees which have appeared in the wake of the Rae Report). Thought I'd attach the guideline here as they may be of interest to librarians in other provinces as well. What do you think? I think IL is embedded throughout (although never explicitly mentioned), the expectations are based on Bloom's taxonomy and hence sorta follow a similar pattern as the ACRL Competencies and I think I can work with it as an advocacy tool for the Library to become more involved in curricular conversations. However ... maybe we (the Canadian instruction librarian community) should be thinking about a Canadian set of standards, or provincial IL standards that dovetail more exactly with the OCAV expectations? Or is that just crazy talk?

Has anyone else out there done the work to map the two documents? Willing to share? I'd appreciate not reinventing the wheel if I don't have to!

Download OCAV Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations

Posted by Lisa Sloniowski at 10:37 AM