Monthly Archives: September 2005

Literacy? Fluency?

A friend asked

Libraries and librarians are quite taken with this whole Information Literacy jag, particularly since some universities seem to be rewriting mission statements to include some mention of a goal of producing students who are “Information Literate”. I am therefore trying to use this fixation on information literacy training as a springboard to promoting the idea that libraries should be promoting “spatial information literacy” through a mix of direct instruction, online mapping services, and curricula development. I am curious as to where you would see spatial information literacy vis-a-vis information literacy – merely a subset, or perhaps almost a superset, since spatial information literacy seems to involve skills that go beyond the searching/evaluating/assessing that figure prominently in the descriptions of information literacy that I’ve read. Do you have any words of wisdom on this that you’d be willing to share?

So here’s what I came up with (and I’ve opened up comments on this one, in case anybody wants to engage):

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Much as I admire George Siemens’ work, exemplified in passages like

Our changing learning context is axiomatic. We see it in any form of information – from newspapers to radio to TV to the internet. Everything is going digital. The end user is gaining control, elements are decentralizing, connections are being formed between formerly disparate resources and fields of information, knowledge is developing rapidly, and everything seems to be “speeding up”…

I can’t help feeling that these essentials of Constructivist learning aren’t as much to the fore as they deserve to be:

  • managing the Information one has, and finds –so that it can be retrieved, repurposed, reorganized (the management tools are pretty ad hoc and idiosyncratic, and not very well interlinked)
  • constructing and distributing the Outcomes of the searches one does, the learning one experiences, the insights one encounters (this communication activity is arguably what the Web is really for)

Not that I’ve been so very systematic about either myself… but that’s exactly what I mean to work on, now that my time is much more my own. And not that I know just what I’m after building, though lots of the fragments slide in and out of focus as I unpack boxes of books and files and maps and images…

I really do mean to explore and construct and distribute, and I aspire to doing something exemplary with hyperlinked materials, with the primary objective of encouraging others to do likewise.

Moving and unpacking

The last 7 weeks or so has been liminal: a time of disrupted routines, with the house sold, housesitting for vacationing friends, commuting over the Blue Ridge every day, and now finally relocated and unpacking, reconstituting spaces and finding that many of those routines are no longer necessary or relevant. Every bit of unpacking is a skein of contingencies: where to put what, which to banish to the barn as less than essential, how to create spaces for things that are essential… and where did I pack this or that necessary item? My former life is fading rapidly, but the new is just beginning to define itself. I expect to use this space for all sorts of things, but I’m not quite ready to define them yet. Maybe after the rest of the STUFF is dealt with…