This week, we had to find three articles related to information literacy within our specific contexts, mine being school librarianship.
I usually get annoyed with the usual school library articles that are out there. Lots of fluff, So I tried to dig a little deeper and ended up with “INformation Literacy: a positivist epistomology and a politics of OUTformation.” Yikes. But I asked for it, so I read it. The author, Cushla Kapizke, basically argues that the way in which we discuss information literacy does not reflect current assumptions about the way knowledge is actually created. This article was written in 2003 and cites Information Power terminology along with similar responses in other developed nations, so the standards used are a bit dated. However, I believe that the author makes an interesting point writing, “In sum, the notion of being ‘information literate’ was the library profession’s response to technological change and the proliferation of information. Perhaps it is timely for the profession to consider whether a preoccupation with technologization has caused them to overlook less tangible but more profound developments around issues of knowledge and epistemology.”
The author looks at the conditions which created our concept of information literacy and what it has come to mean by those who use it- namely school librarians. The author was very critical of the vague way that we have tried to define information literacy and called our standards at the time “educationally empty”. Her big beef with school libraries can be seen in what she cites as the misconceptions of our profession:
1. The library provides a neutral service
2. The library user is an autonomous individual
3. Language is a transparent conduit for the transmission of meaning in information
The author posits that knowledge is something that we all own together. “Learning… is socially distributed across people and technology.” It’s not like little coins you put into a piggy bank and your piggy bank is your knowledge. It’s something that we all contribute to. We are not autonomous thinkers; we think together. And that, the author says, will change the way we think of information literacy and critical thinking. When we view knowledge from this perspective, we also have to take into account the inability of language (the main source of info) to detach itself from politics and biases. This creates “OUTformation” or the information that isn’t expressed for cultural or political reasons. The author asks, why have we privileged information in education, when the social nature of information creates a kind of poverty of perspectives?
The solution that the author suggests is called “Hyperliteracy” which I think looks a lot more like the AASL Standards for 21st Century Learning. The author suggests that more multi-modal, multi-sensory experiences be privileged alongside traditionally language-based information within libraries (games, social networks, movies, etc) and that critique of the information process play a significant part of our pedagogy. We need to get students to start asking how their resources contributed to what they know about a topic. How might things look if you had different sources? If you were at a different library? Why does this matter? These types of questions.
Overall, I found the article (while difficult to wade through) very exciting. It is fascinating to bear witness to the extreme changes taking place in my profession and that many people are coming to similar conclusions at the same time about what really matters in this day and age.
Seriously, I am calling it quits for tonight. This article was a mind-full, and I will be thinking about it and adding to this post for a long time to come. I will post about two more articles another day.