Forum Comments

Discussion for April 2021 - Lizard People in the Library
In Inquiry Learning
Ruth Maloney
Founding Member
Founding Member
Apr 14, 2021
Interestingly I didn't read this as being an approach at odds with teaching information literacy through inquiry. I felt that it was approaching some of the questions we considered last month, about how to teach source evaluation, and coming at those from a new angle. I agree Elizabeth, the idea that we teach students to think about 'how information works' (Pawley) felt like a positive suggestion but I didn't feel this was a limiting idea. I thought it was a different way of dealing with some of the problems that arise from the CRAAP type schemes that we discussed. This feels like taking a step back from the resource and looking at the information in context which surely is fundamental to good information literacy practice. I also wanted to discuss the idea of 'Information Agency' and the democratisation of information. I think that we need to consider how we can teach students to distinguish between having access to a lot of information and having access to accurate/considered information, when this distinction is particularly important, and what the value is of an expert. In order to do this they (and I) really need to understand a lot more about the algorithms behind the systems that we use to find sources and also traditional methods of verifying information. I want to 'take a strong stand on behalf of ethical research practices, the voices of qualified experts, and the value of information systems that ... vet and value information.' (Barbara Fister) However, I am also aware that we are not only teaching students to apply these skills in the academic world but we need them to be able to evaluate real world information when they are using systems that are not applying rigorous vetting of expert opinions. If we do not make this distinction and teach students to do the same we are in danger of making our work irrelevant. Linked to this was the statement (Project Information Literacy) that 'the majority of graduates felt that the research they were asked to do in college failed to prepare them to ask questions of their own' I think this is something that needs to be considered carefully and not brushed past. We need to be clear that not all searches for information are the same but that many of the rules can be applied across situations. I do think these skills can be taught through inquiry, if fact it made me think of the opening of the Netflix documentary 'The Social Dilemma' where the programme makers point out the differences in predictive searches on Google - a real world demonstration of the issues Dawn is talking about. This is a really interesting article and brings up, yet more, areas to consider.
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Ruth Maloney
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