The conference opened with a look at the Research Information and Digital Literacies Coalition. I hadn’t heard of this before and it seemed that neither had many people in the room. We found out that it is a HEFCE funded project and is an informal network of librarians, pedagogists, career experts and similar whose aim is to take information literacy out of the higher education library and into the workplace. They do this by investigating the gap between higher education and employment by speaking to careers advisers, unions, organisations etc.
|Obama announced October to be|
National Information Literacy Month in 2009.
Found on FlickrCC.net
A project I found interesting due to the impact it had at University as well as Library level was Project DigitISE: Digital information skills for employability, which was undertaken at University of Westminster. This was a JISC funded exercise which studied the links between student attitudes towards digital literacy and employability. The team distributed surveys, held workshops and focus groups for both students and academic staff, and developed definitions, all of which culminated in a one day student conference entitled Get the Digital Edge. Promoted as a way of improving employability, students were encouraged to choose six topics covering areas such as using social media for job searching, researching companies for job interviews and social media and reputation , to name a few. As a result of this project, the university is now reviewing its digital literacy strategy and more digital edge days are being planned.
Another session I particularly liked was one on games in information literacy sessions; this was led by Adam Edwards and Vanessa Hill from University of Middlesex. They explained how they had faced the usual problems library staff face in that information literacy wasn’t integrated into modules and that the sessions they held were far too general in their nature. In an effort to resolve this library staff embarked on getting more qualifications, e.g. teaching fellowships, postgraduate certificates in Higher Education etc. They felt this gave them the skills and confidence to feel they were on an equal footing with academic staff and able to implement more innovative teaching methods. While not everyone can do this due to time and money constraints the gaming suggestions felt achievable, easy to implement, and affordable, i.e. no large grants needed.
|Sonic and Tails - found on FlickrCC.net|
- Games should be no more than 10 minutes in length
- Games should meet a specific need
- They should have a clear objective
- There shouldn’t be a need for any instruction
While these may seem fairly obvious rules it does help to have these in mind so that games are not just being shoehorned into a workshop. One of my reservations about games was that students might find it patronising, however, more ‘grown-up’ options could be included like marking reference lists out of 10 to get them to think about the types of resources being used and showing students the marking schedule to see how the lesson fits the criteria and provide proof that the skills they are learning will improve their marks.
I generally find conferences quite motivating and this was no exception. It had a well thought out range of sessions and because there weren't any options to choose from I didn't feel like I was missing out! Not only has it helped to maintain enthusiasm in my teaching, it was
a welcome reminder of the useful materials which are already available for library and information professionals to freely use, which when you are short on time or ideas can be a very beneficial resource.