Reconceptualising Information Literacy for the Web 2.0 Environment?

Reconceptualising Information Literacy for the Web 2.0 Environment?

Sharon Markless (King’s College, London, UK) and David Streatfield (Information Management Associates, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-208-4.ch022
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Abstract

This chapter questions whether the shift from the Web as a vehicle for storing and transmitting information to the new Web as a series of social networking environments, requires significant changes in how students interact with information when they are studying within a formal learning environment. It explores the origins and growth of the idea of information skills development, the translation of this work into frameworks and sequential models and the adaptation of these models to take account of changes in information storage and transmission brought about by the Internet. The chapter then examines the changing contexts and changes in learning being brought about by the Web 2.0 environment and questions whether adjustment of existing information literacy models is a sufficient response to deal with these changes. We conclude that although Web 2.0 developments are not fundamentally undermining the nature of teaching and learning they do provide important possibilities for more effective information literacy development work. A non-sequential framework is offered as a contribution to supporting HE students when seeking to obtain, store and exploit information simultaneously in the informal social world of Web 2.0 and in their formal academic discipline.
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The rise of information skills

In the early 1980s a spate of books appeared in the UK containing a new term in the title: ‘information skills’. This term was the brainchild of a working party concerned about school pupils’ competence in “using libraries, exploring references and making notes” (Marland, 1981, p7) and arose out of the Schools Council’s desire to explore what a curriculum for a changing world might comprise. The working party report asserted that “Individuals today have an increasing need to be able to find things out…never before have our lives depended so much on our ability to handle information successfully” (Marland, 1981, p9). Narrow concerns about library skills and user education were replaced by a focus on students’ problems in finding and using information to tackle assignments and conduct their research within a formal learning environment. This intervention was due to the interest in these skills by educationalists, who, working alongside librarians, ensured wider adoption for information skills and a clearer place for the concept within the learning process.

However, despite this development and the appearance of a number of books exploring the place of information skills in learning (see, for example, Markless and Lincoln, 1986, and Wray, 1985) the concept of information skills was far more widely accepted by librarians than by teachers. This resulted in heavy emphasis on competence in resource use and on finding information.

Models of information skills

From the outset writers wanted to show the need for students to develop these ‘new’ information skills. The issue was presented as one of skills deficit and consequently led to a plethora of information skills frameworks and models, spelling out what students should be able to do. (Many of these models were later ‘rounded up’ and described by Loertscher and Woolls, 2002.) Model constructors conceived the requisite process as tying together distinct elements of information-related behaviour into a logical, sequential process which could then be taught (e.g. Marland, 1981; Brake, in Markless and Lincoln 1986).

An important retrospective review of these models and frameworks (Eisenberg and Brown, 1992) concluded that

“while each author may explain this process with different terms … all seem to agree on the overall scope and the general breakdown of the process … it appears that the various process models are more alike than different and it may be possible and desirable to begin speaking about a common process approach to library and information skills instruction.” (p. 7)

The approach to information skills as a ‘common process’ to be applied to library research and information handling unfortunately tended to result in a disregard for the context of learning. Skills were perceived as generic; the sequential process outlined in the models was to be adopted at all ages and across different subjects. The process formed a ‘curriculum’ to be taught to students and applied by them whenever necessary. This view was hardly challenged in the early world of information skills although research on information behaviour in context and on critical thinking skills was calling into question the whole notion of easy transfer, which is also a well-established assumption in mainstream education (Perkins and Salomon, 1992).

Perhaps the most influential of these generic information skills models was advanced as the Big6. This model was created by Eisenberg and Berkowitz (1990); it was widely disseminated in book form and continues to be heavily promoted in the USA and internationally through their website and through an extensive programme of workshops. We will use this Big6 framework as the basis of our critique for the remainder of this chapter because it is one of the frameworks most widely used in USA and UK schools to support information skills teaching and because its authors were amongst the first to integrate ICT into information skills in a distinct and transparent manner.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information Skills: The sets of skills and competencies required to find and use information, usually in a formal education context.

Constructivist Learning: Learning as an individual or social act of construction, leading to sense-making and the building of meaning.

Information Literacy: A set of abilities for seeking and using information in purposeful ways related to task, situation and context. (Limberg, 2007)

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Foreword
Jennifer Preece
Acknowledgment
Stylianos Hatzipanagos, Steven Warburton
Chapter 1
Jon Dron, Terry Anderson
Understanding the affordances, effectiveness and applicability of new media in multiple contexts is usually a slow and evolving process with many... Sample PDF
How the Crowd Can Teach
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Chapter 2
Chris Abbott, William Alder
Although social networking has been enthusiastically embraced by large numbers of children and young people, their schools and colleges have been... Sample PDF
Social Networking and Schools: Early Responses and Implications for Practice
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Chapter 3
Eleni Berki, Mikko Jäkälä
Information and communication technology gradually transform virtual communities to active meeting places for sharing information and for supporting... Sample PDF
Cyber-Identities and Social Life in Cyberspace
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Chapter 4
Werner Beuschel
Weblogs are a popular form of Social Software, supporting personal Web authoring as well as innovative forms of social interaction via internet. The... Sample PDF
Weblogs in Higher Education
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Chapter 5
Mark Bilandzic, Marcus Foth
Web services such as wikis, blogs, podcasting, file sharing and social networking are frequently referred to by the term Web 2.0. The innovation of... Sample PDF
Social Navigation and Local Folksonomies: Technical and Design Considerations for a Mobile Information System
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Chapter 6
Rakesh Biswas, Carmel M. Martin, Joachim Sturmberg, Kamalika Mukherji, Edwin Wen Huo Lee, Shashikiran Umakanth
The chapter starts from the premise that illness and healthcare are predominantly social phenomena that shape the perspectives of key stakeholders... Sample PDF
Social Cognitive Ontology and User Driven Healthcare
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Chapter 7
Jillianne R. Code, Nicholas E. Zaparyniuk
Central to research in social psychology is the means in which communities form, attract new members, and develop over time. Research has found that... Sample PDF
Social Identities, Group Formation, and the Analysis of Online Communities
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Chapter 8
Jillianne R. Code, Nicholas E. Zaparyniuk
Social and group interactions in online and virtual communities develop and evolve from expressions of human agency. The exploration of the... Sample PDF
The Emergence of Agency in Online Social Networks
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Chapter 9
A. Malizia, A. De Angeli, S. Levialdi, I. Aedo Cuevas
The User Experience (UX) is a crucial factor for designing and enhancing the user satisfaction when interacting with a computational tool or with a... Sample PDF
Exploiting Collaborative Tagging Systems to Unveil the User-Experience of Web Contents: An Operative Proposal
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Chapter 10
Utpal M. Dholakia, Richard Baraniuk
Open Education Programs provide a range of digitized educational resources freely to educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for... Sample PDF
The Roles of Social Networks and Communities in Open Education Programs
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Chapter 11
Sebastian Fiedler, Kai Pata
This chapter discusses how the construction of an adequate design and intervention framework for distributed learning environments might be... Sample PDF
Distributed Learning Environments and Social Software: In Search for a Framework of Design
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Chapter 12
Yoni Ryan, Robert Fitzgerald
This chapter considers the potential of social software to support learning in higher education. It outlines a current project funded by the then... Sample PDF
Exploring the Role of Social Software in Higher Education
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Chapter 13
Kathryn Gow
This chapter focuses on the identification of a range of competencies that entry level workers, and thus graduating students, will need to acquire... Sample PDF
Identifying New Virtual Competencies for the Digital Age: Essential Tools for Entry Level Workers
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Chapter 14
Jerald Hughes, Scott Robinson
This chapter examines interaction-oriented virtual religious communities online in the light of sociological theory of religious communities. The... Sample PDF
Social Structures of Online Religious Communities
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Chapter 15
Helen Keegan, Bernard Lisewski
This chapter explores emergent behaviours in the use of social software across multiple online communities of practice where informal learning... Sample PDF
Living, Working, Teaching and Learning by Social Software
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Chapter 16
Lucinda Kerawalla, Shailey Minocha, Gill Kirkup, Gráinne Conole
With a variety of asynchronous communication and collaboration tools and environments such as Wikis, blogs, and forums, it can be increasingly... Sample PDF
Supporting Student Blogging in Higher Education
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Chapter 17
Lisa Kervin, Jessica Mantei, Anthony Herrington
This chapter examines blogging as a social networking tool to engage final year preservice teachers in reflective processes. Using a developed Web... Sample PDF
Blogs as a Social Networking Tool to Build Community
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Chapter 18
Jennifer Ann Linder-VanBerschot
The objective of this chapter is to introduce a model that outlines the evolution of knowledge and sustainable innovation of community through the... Sample PDF
A Model for Knowledge and Innovation in Online Education
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Chapter 19
Petros Lameras, Iraklis Paraskakis, Philipa Levy
This chapter focuses on discussing the use of social software from a social constructivist perspective. In particular, the chapter explains how... Sample PDF
Using Social Software for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
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Chapter 20
Dimitris Bibikas, Iraklis Paraskakis, Alexandros G. Psychogios, Ana C. Vasconcelos
The aim of this chapter is to investigate the potential role of social software inside business settings in integrating knowledge exploitation and... Sample PDF
The Potential of Enterprise Social Software in Integrating Exploitative and Explorative Knowledge Strategies
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Chapter 21
M. C. Pettenati, M. E. Cigognini, E. M.C. Guerin, G. R. Mangione
In this chapter the authors identify the Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) pre-dispositions, skills and competences of the current effective... Sample PDF
Personal Knowledge Management Skills for Lifelong-Learners 2.0
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Chapter 22
Sharon Markless, David Streatfield
This chapter questions whether the shift from the Web as a vehicle for storing and transmitting information to the new Web as a series of social... Sample PDF
Reconceptualising Information Literacy for the Web 2.0 Environment?
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Chapter 23
Catherine McLoughlin, Mark J.W. Lee
Learning management systems (LMS’s) that cater for geographically dispersed learners have been widely available for a number of years, but many... Sample PDF
Pedagogical Responses to Social Software in Universities
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Chapter 24
Alexandra Okada, Simon Buckingham Shum, Michelle Bachler, Eleftheria Tomadaki, Peter Scott, Alex Little, Marc Eisenstadt
The aim of this chapter is to overview the ways in which knowledge media technologies create opportunities for social learning. The Open Content... Sample PDF
Knowledge Media Tools to Foster Social Learning
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Chapter 25
Luc Pauwels, Patricia Hellriegel
This chapter looks into YouTube as one of the most popular Social Software platforms, challenging the dominant discourse with its focus on community... Sample PDF
A Critical Cultural Reading of "YouTube"
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Chapter 26
Ismael Peña-López
The author of this chapter proposes the concept of the Personal Research Portal (PRP) – a mesh of social software applications to manage knowledge... Sample PDF
The Personal Research Portal
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Chapter 27
Andrew Ravenscroft, Musbah Sagar, Enzian Baur, Peter Oriogun
This chapter will present a new approach to designing learning interactions and experiences that reconciles relatively stable learning processes... Sample PDF
Ambient Pedagogies, Meaningful Learning and Social Software
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Chapter 28
V. Sachdev, S. Nerur, J. T.C. Teng
With the trend towards social interaction over the Internet and the mushrooming of Web sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube in the social... Sample PDF
Interactivity Redefined for the Social Web
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Chapter 29
Sue Thomas, Chris Joseph, Jess Laccetti, Bruce Mason, Simon Perril, Kate Pullinger
Transliteracy might provide a unifying perspective on what it means to be literate in the 21st Century. It is not a new behaviour but has been... Sample PDF
Transliteracy as a Unifying Perspective
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Chapter 30
Martin Weller, James Dalziel
This chapter looks at some of the areas of tension between the new social networking, Web 2.0 communities and the values of higher education. It... Sample PDF
Bridging the Gap Between Web 2.0 and Higher Education
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Chapter 31
Steve Wheeler
The use of group oriented software, or groupware, encourages students to generate their own content (McGill et al, 2005) and can foster supportive... Sample PDF
Destructive Creativity on the Social Web: Learning through Wikis in Higher Education
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Chapter 32
Scott Wilson
This chapter describes the mechanisms of presence in social networks and presents an ontology that frames the purpose, content, methods of... Sample PDF
Presence in Social Networks
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