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Moving to clarity Eisenberg style!

19 Apr

Embarking on my journey of literacy exploration certainly contributed to a sense of feeling overwhelmed. Similar to the feelings I had when I first started learning about the all encompassing roles that a teacher librarian had to fit under that enormous hat of specialised knowledge. How could I, as the teacher librarian, pull together all these di(con)vergent literacies and present some kind of umbrella of super literacy combination, with information literacy as the connecting focus. I felt the urgency to instill cultural literacy, visual literacy, media literacy, this literacy, that literacy and then at the summit transliteracy. I don’t know if you have watched the video on transliteracy in the previous post but overwhelmed did not even begin to describe how I was feeling about my responsibility as a teacher librarian in this world of Web 2.0 where the information highway appears to be zooming faster that the speed of light…

Beyond this the closest visual I could find that seemed to incorporate some of the literacies with information literacy at the centre is the following that comes from the Durham District Board, Ontario website for technology in teaching. The visual is the from the Ontario Library Association (page 3). If you click on the image it will take you to the techtalk website.

Even though it covered a few literacy areas it somehow still seemed to be lacking and not all encompassing, or not in the way that I was hoping to be with my super literacy convergence.

I needed a breath… I needed a rethink… and I certainly did not feel anywhere near a position on what model I could create as an amalgam of all these wonderful ideas. Furthermore, the idea of providing the scaffolds to a model of my creation to cover the different abilities and stages added more anxiety to the process. Not to mention the compounding anxiety of ensuring critical thinking was part of the scaffold… Was this at all possible? How can I do this?

Added to this is I wanted this new model to be student-centred, with as much student input as possible. I wanted students to feel they own the process and what better way to own a process than contribute to creation of a model of this wonderful search process. As a result student questions would be paramount. Maybe students would need to study the various models themselves and then brainstorm ideas to individuate what works for them I reasoned. This is definitely an idea that I want to take with me.

Just as I decided I couldn’t think, I couldn’t decide and I couldn’t reach any consensus of how to assimilate all the multiple literacy ideas, I started to look at information literacy again. In my mind a little voice kept repeating ‘but they seem too simple, they have missed this literacy or that. The process seems too narrow.’ I was so critical and I started to feel I would never even be able to address Assignment 2 at this pace. I started to feel a sense of losing power in my information search process.

It was at this point that I picked up a book I had borrowed called Information Literacy meets Library 2.0 and upon opening up to page 4 it mentions “Our insurance will be a blog to give us the opportunity to add, comment and keep you up to date”; http://infolitlib20.blogspot.com. As curiosity would have it I decided to check out that blog right there and then and amidst the initial posts this vodcast by Mike Eisenberg was staring at me.

I watched it and it washed away my anxiety. I now feel comfortable with information literacy. Just like the multifaceted role of the teacher librarian it is impossible to do it all, all of the time (Herring, 2007). Literacy in all its guises is a whole school approach and it would be impossible for one teacher librarian to take on the responsibility of ALL the literacies ALL of the time. But focus on Information Literacy for Inquiry based learning or Project Based Learning well now I feel closer to achievement…. Aah now I can breathe a sigh of relief at one moment of clarity in this process of learning. Now for a well earned cup of tea… (maybe just a little bit of chocolate too)

Goodwin, P. &Parker, J. (Eds.) (2008), Information Literacy meets Library 2.0, London: Facet Publishing.

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher Librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information (pp 27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

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