Saturday, 17 March 2007

iSkills

In "Uses of Blogs" edited by by Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs , Jean Burgess is writing about use of blogs in higher education (Chapter 10, Blogging to Learn, Learning to Blog). Among other things, she is discussing information literacies, or as she says "...literacies that are appropriate to networked, technological environments...essential kinds of information lietracy, extending well beyond 'computer literacy' ". They are:

1) Critical technological literacy - "focuses on a deep, socially contextualised, and informed understanding of technology"
2) Creative literacy - "the ability to experiment with technology in order to create and manipulate content that serves social goals rather than merely retrieving and absorbing infomration"
3) Network literacy - "include the ability and the impulse to effectively and ethically manipulate a range of technologies to communicate and collaboratively construct and share knowledge".

This could be a useful framework for the GCU's iSkills initiative. Burgess mentions some other work in tihs area that could be useful too. For example, she mentions a project at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, that developed a framework addressing a set of critical, creative and collaborative ICT literacies (including recommendations for learning strategies for supporting the development of these literacies). Another related study is Being Fluent with Information Technology, funded by the National Research Council in the US.

While this work sounds worth taking a closer look, I am wondering - how does one define these literacies collectively? Are they ICT skills? No, because they are clearly about much more than the ability to use specific hardware or software. Burgess says they are "essential kinds of information literacy". But they are much more than that too - collaborative construction of knoweldge, networking effectively, communication, reflection, effective articulation, etc. iSkills is a misleading term - but what is an accurate one?

5 comments:

Allison Littlejohn said...

Colleagues at GCU, John Crawford and Christine Irving, have just published a National Information Literacy Framework as part of a project funded by EduServe.

Their outcomes include a piloted and tested (Scottish) National Information Literacy Framework and an I-Skills framework for Glasgow Caledonian University . I have a paper copy, but it’s not yet available from the project website.

The National Information Literacy Framework combines ICT and Information Literacy skills. I’m unsure if this Framework includes networked information assimilation using wikis and blogs. It would be useful to compare this Framework with the QUT Framework.

Let me illustrate with an example. The framework lists a range of skills required for essay writing – sourcing, evaluating, assimilating information. This exercise would normally include electronic information seeking alongside use of ‘paper based’ materials. There are lots of examples like this, so schools or departments could ‘pick and mix’ a range of activities that help students to learn literacies relevant to their discipline.

The Framework touches on learning literacies. However, I would like to see us implement a broader Framework integrating ICT, information and learning literacies. The DIDET project at Strathclyde (funded by JISC Digital Libraries in the Classroom) piloted this approach three years ago (McGill et al 2005), but a Framework was never constructed. This would be iLearn, rather than iSkills.

iLearn would only be effective if the activities that help students develop learning literacies were embedded within the curriculum.

This means that lecturers, librarians and educational developers would have to work in teams in the ‘classroom’ (physical or virtual).

McGill, L., Nicol, D.J, Littlejohn, A.H. and Greirson, H. (2005). "Creating an information-rich learning environment to enhance design student learning: challenges and approaches." British Journal of Educational Technology 36(4): 629-642

Axel Bruns said...

Interesting to see this post... For what it's worth, we've now published some more information on the QUT project, focussing especially on the literacies issue (although we're now calling them graduate capacities rather than merely literacies - you're right in that the term 'literacy' is possibly overly restrictive.

There are now four capacities, which we call C4C:

* creative
* critical
* collaborative
* communicative

More on this in our paper for the Mobile Media conference 2007, and my paper for ICE 3 2007 (both of which trace back to the same set of ideas, but apply it to different contexts). (Or see my blog for links to both papers.)

Anoush said...

Allison, Axel - many thanks for your responses and the papers.

John Crawford said...

Dear all



A copy of the draft framework is now available as a pdf download from the project website http://www.caledonian.ac.uk/ils/framework.html see the bottom of the web page.
Comments welcome.
Best wishes

John Crawford

Anoush said...

Thanks, John.