By digital literacy we mean those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society: for example, the skills to use digital tools to undertake academic research, writing and critical thinking; as part of personal development planning; and as a way of showcasing achievements.
A couple of weeks ago I headed to LSE for one of their NetworkED seminars entitled “Putting digital and information literacies into practice.” It was delivered by Cathie Jackson, Janet Finlay and Joe Nichols from Cardiff University about their Digidol Project. It was one of those presentations where you come away inspired to do lots of things and also wondering where to begin.
Cardiff have a solid background in Information Literacy (IL), it has been part of the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy since the early part of this century with a view to it being fully embedded. They explained that they have had a good top down buy in to IL and in turn this is helping with Digital Literacy. Cathie made a few excellent points about embedding IL (something close to my heart):
Has to be embedded this is the only way it makes sense in academic context. It has to be entirely embedded and Not preserve of library but library provides support so academics can deliver IL.
Subject Librarians worked with academic staff on a course by course level.
Not too precise – what is comfortable for discipline.
She also mentioned the excellent Cardiff Information Literacy Resource bank which I myself have used and which academics can pull things from to use in their teaching. The items are deisgned so anybody anywhere could reuse them – worth pointing academics in our own institutions towards this resource.
Whilst IL is embedded in at least 66% of Cardiff’s courses DL is not massively widespread and embedded. Cardiff are bringing it all together, building on the strong IL foundation and blending digital literacies, academic literacies, information literacies together in the education strategy.
They have strong support from management. For example the Chief Operating Officer uses digital media incl blogs. This managerial involvement is seen as key to getting digital literacy on to the agenda. They are also involved in the central staff development programme.
One of the areas they have indentified as being an is issue is the communication gap between service providers and staff and students.
Taking Beetham and Sharpe’s 2009 model they have added another layer at the bottom for Awareness :
Cardiff found IL was stopping at skills and there was a need to look at how to apply it for example to produce a presentation. Different literacies mapped on to the pyramid from Beetham and Sharpe.
They came up with core tasks – building blocks for practices. I.e. find, manage, manipulate, producing, share.
They also identified practices – e.g. Giving presentation, Managing online presence, writing an essay
They also thought of the highest level and what do you want to see from a graduate in other words what you want to see at end of course.
They looked at different models including the SCONUL digital literacy lens and now have set of 5 core tasks and examples at higher levels. This has been critiqued by their subject librarians. One key point is that DL (and all literacies) flow round triangle, students don’t reach top and finish.
There are some pertinent points:
Difficult to talk about practices and attributes – core tasks tend to be combined.
Practices need to be disciplinary based I.e. science versus arts
Some disciplines expect a read paper.
Tools are changing every week – using concept mapping including external tools and how they match the core tasks but also important to understand what people do I.e. tasks maps back to services this allows new technologies to be mapped back.
It is all about conversation – need to talk to staff and students about what they use and get other services involved. Conversations can happen on social media which led on to thinking about what opportunities might social media provide?
They asked students “What do you think you would benefit from?”
“how could they use social media promote themselves”
So the answers to questions might not be what you expect but provide great opportunities for developing new areas of training. This echoed the skills gap they had observed. Service providers (including the library) might have tools to solve the problems and tasks of the staff and students but often the two don’t match up.
This is where developing learning literacies helps to enable the staff and students.
Connecting with other areas of the institution such as careers to bridge these gaps works well.
Putting digital and information in practice
Building on establishes iniatives
Detailed in university strategies and action plans
The Vitae day on spaces for researchers was a really interesting event. The morning was spent hearing about the Hive at Sussex. This is a dedicated researcher space and one of the things it helped me understand is that it isn’t so much the space itself but what you do with it and the people involved in it. The Hive is swipe card access (swipe card access seems to be very important for these researcher spaces as it gives control and exclusivity) but otherwise is a fairly simple space with sofas, computers and laptop spaces. On the surface it doesn’t seem like anything special but the community that has built up around it, in no small part due the partnership with Sage, seems like a vital part of the researcher’s experience.
Sussex is working in partnership with Sage (who apparently want to adopt more universities …). Sussex get funding for things like the Hive Scholars and Sage in return get the opportunity for feedback from researchers far richer than anything they could get from surveys and other traditional research methods.
The Hive scholars are three researcher’s who receive a bursary for 6 hours work a week. They all work on things to promote the hive, utilising social media to great effect. Something they said echoed with what we did at Cass – using a variety of methods that interlink to get maximum liaison opportunities. The scholars reported how the Hive enriched the research community by providing a hub which allowed informal social events as well as more formal events to take place. These events then meant people who may have been doing similar research in different departments met and exchanged ideas. It is easy for researchers to be silo-ed but the library is a centre for all of them and therefore a sensible place for these hubs to be located.
A couple of great ideas they had were Shut up and write! (re
searchers meet in a cafe, have a chat then concentrate for a set period of time and then have another break) and advice written on the glass walls by more experienced researchers for new ones at the welcome event including “Read A lot”.
In the afternoon session we had a talk by Dawn Duke, Researcher Training and Development Officer, about the SPLASH area at Surrey and writing boot camps they set up to encourage researchers. One was a full on boot camp with people telling people off for not working and things, this was for full time Phd students because they identified a big problem with procrastination and that it usually had a cause. The bootcamp helped people identify causes, suppo
Finally we heard from Fiona Colligan, Warwick Research Exchange about how Warwick has introduced somethin
g akin to online dating for researchers called Research Match this built on similar set ups to the
Hive but has broken into some groups which didn’t interact so much with the physical space for examrt each other and break through the procrastination problem in spaces that suited them so if they needed quiet that was available but if they wanted to collaborate that was available. Surrey also identified a few issues about completion so they organised a retreat for part-time and distance students. This was more relaxed than the bootcamp. One thing the library did was source a collection of thesis so students who may not have seen a UK thesis before were able to see what this was. Two senior academics also stayed at the retreat for the whole weekend (students stayed on site for the weekend).
ple people in the hard sciences who have their own networks in labs etc but they have signed up to research match in large numbers. This sort of innovation really seems to come out of physical spaces.
By the end of the day I really felt encouraged to think beyond physical spaces for ideas that the library can be central to in the support of the researchers but also confirmed that a physical space dedicated to researchers, ideally controlled by swipe card, is a worthwhile idea but needs to be part of something bigger in terms of collaboration and student involvement. A room with a sofa and computers labelled “researcher’s space” isn’t enough.
I have stroyfied some of the tweets from the day below:
Hearing about the Sussex Hive, Surrey’s SPLASH and
I got a lot from attending. It was great to meet other librarians from across the world (there were lots of international delegates) and meet many faces from Twitter. I am really lucky to work somewhere that encourages us to attend conferences. It is such a positive experience and one I think is vital for us and our institution to evolve and stay ahead of the game. LILAC is a big conference (by UK standards), but not so big that it feels overwhelming. Each day there was a keynote and then parallel sessions which meant there were a lot of things to choose from.
Glasgow was a nice place to visit and we did appreciate the free Caramel Log in our goody bags.
All the presentations that are available are here.
Keynote 1 – Megan Oakleaf
Play the ace: assessing, communicating and expanding the institutional impact of information literacy.
Megan’s impressive keynote looked at how it is important to demonstrate the value of the academic library to universities and how IL can be used to do this. She is the author of a US report: Value of Academic Libraries
Some points she made included:
Everyone loves library but don’t want to pay for it.
Focus on what collection enables people to do.
It is a good idea to define outcomes (learning outcomes) of what institution needs and wants. Could include employability, student retention.
What leads students to come to an institution? In US library second most impactful building. (learning spaces are first).
At Minnesota library instruction increases chance of re-enrolment year on year.
Library website design … What part communicates impact on institutional focus areas.
We did a great exercise where we used a grid called the Instruction Impact Map with Campus Needs, Goals and outcomes down one side and a list of things we do int he library along the top i.e. Tutorials, reference service etc. We then took one of the columns and rated how well it impacted on the campus need. This really made us think how we could connect the two things and really demonstrate how important what we do is.
Megan then suggested collecting evidence to back up our claims on the impact of our work making two important points:
We already use them at City but I hadn’t really thought of using them to base a whole session around but by using things like the polling and wallwasher they could be really interactive tools in our teaching as well as great support tools.
I have to confess to having a bit of a fan girl moment when I saw Lord Puttnam as with my film-lover hat on I think he is an incredibly important figure in the British film industry. I now realise he is also an powerful voice in the world of Education two examples of his work are:
The overarching theme of his speech was that what may seem radical to us now will not be in the future that People expect new form of relationship with world around them now. He gave several examples:
Uni of Sunderland 24/7 opening radical in 1997. As was drinking coffee in library – keyboards so cheap irrelevant.
Www is just a click away.
Importance of libraries and schools.
Refreshing to see how quickly racists etc are brought to order on twitter.
Librarians help people steer towards right information.
Talked about unpredictability of what is to come I.e. Facebook buying instagram
Talked about the fact his parents would have thought 3 careers was bizarre but he can imagine his grandchildren having 6.
Huge levels of competition and complexity – unique challenges for us as educators.
The point that most people were buzzing about afterwards was:
Many currently in education will work with voice activated technology in working lives.
This means we will need a pedagogy to work with voice activated tech … Importance of voice and thinking. Keyboard skills will still be useful but not as important. Research and development is not put into keyboards. Money is in voice recognition both spending on research and in profit.
Apple, google and amazon all using this technology so children born today will think it is the norm. Essentially we will be working differently. Oracy (?) will be important. Teachers will have to be better at listening and students better at talking
and so strong spoken language skills will need to be developed. He said this isn’t that new, Aristotle’s The Art of Rhetoric is still a best seller but we will need to structure thought differently it requires students talk more but teachers less. 1975 Bullock report suggested teachers were so long winded pupils had 20 secs each to talk.
Currently there is disparity between how people behave with tech at home and how it is used in classroom. For example a surgeon from 1912 couldn’t work today. A teacher could because we aren’t using enough technology in classroom.
Need to understand students world, how they relate to it and we need to be aware of problems surrounding adopting technology i.e. digitising old practices isn’t the way forward. We need to consider what advances an entire digital pedagogy could be like. It is about digital not digitising.
He discussed the need for an undisputed education of women. World class education system underpins world class health and social system. Will not work other way round.
He ended with a quote from Stuart Brand “We are gods so we better start getting good at it”
There was then a great Q&A session:
Q: French children don’t learn to read and write until later. They develop oral and reasoning skills first. – what about it?
A: Need to look at other countries. If you find yourself saying “this is the way we do it” stop doing it that way.
Q: Exam system doesn’t reflect digital technology. IB allows it more than A levels with large piece of work.
A: most useful thing medical world could do is clone librarians as they have 19th century assessment process. It is out of step with technology and teaching. Lord Puttnam thinks International Baccalaureate is the way forward.
He then talked about the role of librarians:
Not what we do but branding is a problem.
Breadth width and importance of what we do needs to be promoted by us and others.
We aren’t gatekeepers.
Make sure title librarian isn’t trapped.
British library has done it brilliantly. It is vital and important.
Q: Cost question of technology.
A: Things you can’t afford not to have. If you are seriously concerned about child’s future you will forgo things to get them. Cost of slates in 19th century was crippling for a family but they did it. Education can’t be allowed to become unaffordable. TES – cheaper for them to buy £100 tablet and send it to all subscribers than the print copy as print costs £100 a year. Got to make tech vital so saying not do it because of cost is not relevant. IPad is as important as slate David Lloyd George learnt to write his name on.
Q: Issue around accent etc for google voice (and all voice technology)
A: technology will improve and be more forgiving. Recalling dictation from work in advertising. He learnt how to dictate a letter. You have to think in a particular way to dictate a letter.
Matrix of literacies
Being articulate is a life skill.
Q: Distance …
A: Cisco telepresence system on west coast of Ireland. He does lectures from home. 5 universities. Notion of distance is not relevant any more.
Playing Games and growing trees Andrew Walsh Huddersfield @andywalsh999
This session really appealed to me as I am interested in the gamification of learning. Huddersfield have done a lot of work on the connection between library use and student achievement. One of their findings was that the physical library didn’t make a difference. This meant they wanted more serious use from students who came in for social reasons by putting a game over top of library usage.
This year was not only my first LILAC but also my first solo presentation at a major library conference. I am pleased to say both attending and presenting are experiences I look forward to repeating.
Despite the fact that anybody who knows me knows I can hardly be described as shy and have never shied away from public speaking or giving presentations I was nervous. I have delivered presentations to groups of 300+ but presenting at LILAC was by far the most nervous I have been before an event. I think this was probably because I was delivering a presentation to my peers. People I respect, who know a lot about Information Literacy and who all might have thought the “innovative” idea I was presenting was in fact old hat.
Before I get on to the presentation itself I’ll explain a bit about the process that I went through to get there. LILAC put out a call for papers in the Autumn with the themes for the conference. This year they were:
We welcome proposals which address one or more of this year’s conference themes:
IL and the digital future
Supporting the research community
Transitions: from School through to Higher Education
IL and employability
Active learning and creative pedagogical approaches
We’ve been doing a lot of work at Cass on IL and employability so I instantly thought this would be a good strand for a presentation. However … the best idea wasn’t mine! So I asked my lovely colleague Carolyn Smith if she minded me talking about our Cass Certification programme as it was her idea. Luckily she said yes. I wasn’t entirely sure where to begin with my abstract so I looked up some previous year’s and realised that there is a lot of variety in styles, some heavily referenced and some not so much.
I wrote a short abstract of 300 words (for a 30 minute presentation) which my manager and Carolyn both read and suggested a couple of tweaks. Then I submitted it and waited. I wasn’t sure I’d done it right so was very surprised when I received an email saying it had been accepted on provision that I made a couple of revisions. These were basically adding a bit more about why it was innovative and different and taking out some background.
So, I resubmitted and then forgot about it. April seemed a long way off in December but suddenly it was the last week in March and I need to get something done so I gathered all my points together and started working on a Prezi. Prezi really suits my way of thinking as I am quite a visual person and I like the way it works you through a thought process. For me it works a bit like a mindmap which I then reorder to make sense to other people (I hope).
So presentation done, I just had to make a few notes on Evernote so I could easily refer to them. These were basically statistics and a few points I though I must make.
I was ready to go! I was lucky I could get my session over with on the first day. At LILAC they run several sessions at once so people sign up for the ones they are interested in meaning there is a lot of variety to choose from. I had a good turnout and it was nice to see some familiar faces in the audience.
My main worry beforehand was I had misjudged the content and that it would all be over in 5 minutes or I would rush the end because I had no time and that would have been a bit awkward either way. I don’t like to over rehearse but I had mentally run through it a couple of time and in the end was pretty much on time. I had parts of the presentation I could have rushed or taken longer to talk about if I felt timings were out but it was ok and I had time for several questions which was good as it made me think about how library certification might work elsewhere.
This was a really good experience and something I hope to repeat again. I’d really recommend submitting papers and giving presentations to anybody. The worst is you won’t get accepted but there’s a good chance you will. I am very lucky to have very supportive colleagues and manager who encourage us to try to apply for conferences and submit papers.
Evernote is THE best app I have found in the last year. I was given the task of looking into it for 23 things city and to be honest wasn’t sure what use it would really be but now I have no idea what I did without it.
Evernote is a web application which is also available to download on to mobile devices, desktop PCs, lap tops and just about every computer. This means that you can literally use it anywhere and it will sync with on all your devices and the website.
I was always starting a notebook then forgetting it and starting another then never looking at the notes anyway because I couldn’t read my writing or had to scan through so much that I couldn’t find what I was looking for but with evernote I am finally becoming a notetaker!
I use Evernote to plan blogposts, take notes in meetings or lectures and save pictures or links. I use it both personally and professionally. I can start something on my laptop at home, work on it on my iPad on the train, edit it on my work PC, log on to any computer to check it via the web and share it via my phone if I want. At the Business Librarians Association Conference I was able to make notes, download all the pre-conference information and agenda and keep it all in one “notebook” on Evernote. When I came back to the office I could view these notes online and add links to them where needed. I can then share the notes with colleagues. For example these notes on a talk about doing a library video from the conference.
Why use it?
Even if you don’t have a mobile device to use it on or a lap top to download it to it can still transform your work.
* You can log on to the web version (http://www.evernote.com/) anywhere with an internet connection and you can share your notes so it is a great way of quickly creating a simple web page or putting a plan together.
* You can clip all or part of a webpage into a note by using the web clipping tool (this is easier to install at work on Firefox than on Internet Explorer).
* This is a note I created linking to a clipping of this page.
* You can create checklists so you can tick the boxes to keep track of what you have done.
* You can tag notes so notes in different notebooks can all use the same tage and be found on a search.
* If you are using it on a mobile device you can add a location so you can see all notes made at that location by you.
Evernote is particularly useful for projects as this video shows:
Today I have been taking part in the Teaching in Higher Education short course at university. It’s been a really interesting day, sharing ideas with people who are teaching all over the university in a variety of departments.
Today we mainly focussed on planning and discussing ways of dealing with different situations.
I can’t wait to apply some of what I have learnt to inductions and training. It wouldn’t be a bad exercise to produce aims and learning outcomes for the various things we do. It would be a far better use of our time than faffing with screenshots!
I’m hoping this will all help to inform my National Teaching Fellowship.
Last Wednesday I attended the first College of Occupational Therapists (COT) library day. This was a chance to meet 11 other librarians who support Occupational Therapy and hear about what the Occupational Therapists do to support our students.
It seemed we were all agreed that OT students are very rewarding to work with. They make use of the libraries and are grateful for the help you give.
It was also good to meet other librarians too, it’s so easy to get caught up in the day in day out part of the job but getting out and meeting people who are experiencing the same things and sharing ideas is invaluable. It also made me feel very fortunate to work for a university which is forward looking and supportive of libraries.
The major thing I hope will come out of the day is an ongoing peer group where we can share helpsheets, learning materials and other advice.
Part of the day was spent discussing Information Literacy and the best way of supporting it. One group discussed definitions of IL and agreed the CILIP definition from 2003 was the best:
My group discussed how we can help students to develop information literacy skills. We agreed one thing that is needed is for students to be able to get all their infomation in the same place, they don’t need to know the library does one thing while Student Services does another. I am proud to say at Brighton we do this already!
It was also agreed it needed to come in a variety of formats from hands on sessions to workbooks and online tutorials.
It was lovely to meet the team from the COT library. They are so helpful and the resources are great.