Three reports worth reviewing and discussing:
Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan for Action
Review the executive summary or listen to parts of the close to 2 hour online discussion with the author, Renee Hobbs, and a panel of experts, including American Library Association President, Roberta Stevens. Stevens talks about how school libraries are “absolutely pivotal” and “way out in front” on this issue. Parts of the discussion made me think of Clay Shirky’s work and the potential for creating change and ability of citizens to engage. Fascinating to listen to the different perspectives. The representative of the US Department of Education asked, “How many of us got professional development to use FaceBook?” as he talked about how do we help educators; what research and development can we do to look at promoting ease of use; and early childhood education. One panelist asked for a national online K-12 media literacy program. Another raised the issue of how many local communities are more focused with keeping their children away from these tools as opposed to teaching how to use them. There were several comments about teacher “comfort” with new technologies and suggestions for ways of encouraging teachers to integrate technology. The summary discussions noted the importance of librarians and using our network.
Ms. Hobbs includes five themes in the report, briefly summarized as:
1. Access, including reading comprehension, keyword search, search engine use
2. Analysis skills, critical thinking and interpretation of author’s attitudes
3. Creativity and self-expression
4. Reflection, on relationships, on social obligations, on slowing down and thinking about our choices of how we use media
5. Action, civic and social
She makes 10 recommendations for a action and develops them in some detail in the report. However, the section titled “Who Should do What” regarding what different stakeholders should do does not explicitly mention educators or school librarians.
The report does highlight 5 challenges, quoted here:
1. Moving beyond a tool-oriented focus that conflates having access to media and technology with the skillful use of it
2. Addressing risks associated with the media and digital technology
3. Expanding the concept of literacy
4. Strengthening people’s capacity to assess message credibility and quality
5. Using news and journalism in the context of K-12 education
A second just-released report is The National Education Technology Plan 2010. This plan talks about highly connected teachers. It discusses online communities of practice – making decisions in real time with quality resources; taking their conversations to some level of scale – promoting conversation between thought leaders on topics such as acceptable use, etc. The report presents five goals addressing Learning, Assessment, Teaching, Infrastructure, and Productivity.
And Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age was released November 1st. Library Journal describes it as "the largest study of its kind and is a must-read for academic librarians."
The connectedness of these reports was apparent in the online discussion when mention was made of both the National Plan and of the large number of college students who are not well-prepared with respect to digital and media literacy. There is more reading to do -- looking forward to future conversations.