Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran: Flipping information literacy
Sancomb-Moran works at University of Minnesota Rochester. It is a small campus, and the library has few physical books. Almost everything is virtual. The library went from giving traditional information literacy classes to using flipped principles. The librarians have almost entirely been given positive feedback. Seeing as the students have to prepare for class, they are almost always get more out of the classes when they come. The librarians have made video tutorials that the students watch first. They also have to perform initial searches before class. The librarians collaborate with teachers to make good quizzes and assignments that are connected to the content in the videos.
The librarians have emphasise the iterative nature of searching and that it is ok to make mistakes. A lot of students get very frustrated when they search databases without getting the answer that they are looking for.
The librarians have worked with the Information Literacy assessment and advocacy project (ILAAP) where they have CC licensed content. They have made a quiz bank that is freely available. Sancomb-Moran has made a test with 18 questions of different character, f.ex. questions on plagiarism, referencing, search techniques etc.
The students performed quite well on the test. The librarians used the results to produce more videos and classroom materials. They did a post test, too.
Sancomb-Moran said that librarians have to be careful with their use of jargon. She had a good tip: when you talk about the difference between keywords and headings, take up a prop and ask the students to suggest search terms. This will form the basis of the keyword search. Then talk about the headings. [I have already tested this after I came back from the conference. Worked really well!]
Bart Lenart: Philosophy in the library
Lenart gave a very good session on the importance of starting early when it comes to development of intellectual and moral ideas. It is important, he said, to start with our children when we teach them to face the world with a critical set of eyes. Philosophy is an important and good way to teach them about all aspect of life. Some claim that children cannot understand and use philosophy, but many now see that they have underestimated children. Many children have deep thoughts about the world, life and science.
Humans are natural philosophers because we are fundamentally curious, Lenart said.
The attendees of this session got several assignments. The first one was to rate questions (on pieces of paper) from least to most philosophical. This can be a good assignment to teach students about which questions we can ask and how we think. [Harry Stottlemeier´s Discovery – a philosophy book for children from 1974 by Lipman. Not very good, but interesting because it targeted children.]
Lenart talked about the Wartenberg method: In order for a question to be philosophical, it must be contestable (more than one possible answer), controversial (not everyone can agree) and answerable.
Rules for (good) philosophical discussions:
- Say what you think, but you have to have a reason
- Agree or disagree
- Present a concrete example from the abstract that is up for discussion
- Present an opposite example for a statement or position
- Present a revised version of your original statement
- Add reasons for your statement.
Lenart read us a childrens story and then encouraged a discussion on the topic “What is bravery?”. It became an interesting discussion in our group (all the attendees were seated in groups). The conclusion to the question that most people agreed with was that bravery is the action, while courage is the innate quality you have to perform the brave act. And there is a difference between bravery and foolhardiness.
This short discussion was just meant as an example of how you can teach your students to think critically about information and to use philosophical questions in order to make them think deeper about things.
A possible assignments for higher education students could be to range and organise sources from less to more scholarly.
I really liked this session, but I wish I could have had some more examples that were easier to transfer to higher education.
Pam McKinney and Sheila Webber: Teaching the next generation of IL educators: reflections for learning
This session was about how the presenters have worked with active reflection for library and information science students. McKinney talked about reflective practice. It is a theory based on Entwistle (2004) – model of teaching and leaning environments. (Concept map influences on student learning.) McKinney and Webber are having a book published later this year (in the US).
The authors perform action research in the context of teaching and learning environments. The students have to reflect on how they learn, how they feel about information literacy etc. The educators are encouraged to think about the constructive alignment [Biggs] between teaching and learning activities and the assessment used.
This session by McKinney and Webber deserved more attention than I was able to give (sorry!), but it had been a very long day and the headache from the day before lingered, so.. anyway.. do check out the Information Literacy blog they write. Lots of helpful links and tips.
The conference dinner took place in the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, and if you think that sounds strange, with a conference dinner at a cathedral, you should have seen that place. It was huuuuuuge! A church with its own parking garage underneath- just saying. Lots of lovely people to chat to as always at LILAC.