Information literacy | Page 6

Blended Learning Information literacy Read Me

Case study on blended learning at McMaster U.

The most recent volume of the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CJSoTL) offers many interesting articles about new ways to teach and think about teaching. This one caught my eye:

Sana, Faria; Fenesi, Barbara; and Kim, Joseph A. (2011). A Case Study of the Introductory Psychology Blended Learning Model at McMaster University. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2 (1).
Retrieved from

It caught my eye not only because of the title and abstract, but because one of the authors has presented the paper in a TEDx conference and the video is posted on YouTube:


Bibliographies Information literacy Open education Videos

Flip’n library instruction

“To flip” is getting a new definition in the education setting: that of delivering lectures via video or other out-of-classroom vehicles and using class time for exercises and other active learning exercises. At least, that’s my sense for a series of articles discussing the developments around Kahn Academy.

First off, Clive Thompson provides a fascinating description of the initiative in August 2011’s Wired Magazine. In a nutshell, Kahn Academy provides free training videos and exercises mainly in the math, sciences or economics fields and has been deploying classroom “operating systems” or dashboards that allow teachers to monitor in real-time the progress of each student. As Thompson points out,

Khan’s videos are anything but sophisticated. He recorded many of them in a closet at home, his voice sounding muffled on his $25 Logitech headset. But some of his fans believe that Khan has stumbled onto the secret to solving education’s middle-of-the-class mediocrity. Most notable among them is Bill Gates, whose foundation has invested $1.5 million in Khan’s site. “I’d been looking for something like this—it’s so important,” Gates says. Khan’s approach, he argues, shows that education can truly be customized, with each student getting individualized help when needed.

Not everyone agrees. Critics argue that Khan’s videos and software encourage uncreative, repetitive drilling—and leave kids staring at screens instead of interacting with real live teachers. Even Khan will acknowledge that he’s not an educational professional; he’s just a nerd who improvised a cool way to teach people things. And for better or worse, this means that he doesn’t have a consistent, comprehensive plan for overhauling school curricula.

More recently, The Economist offers a few articles this week on the subject of education reform (The great schools revolution ), education theory (The horse before the cart) and Kahn Academy (Flipping the classroom).

I have to admit that Kahn Academy is the main inspiration behind the library training videos I’ve built for the John Molson School of Business (with the invaluable help of John Bentley, at Concordia University’s Center for Teaching and Learning).

Information literacy

Attention in Education

CBC Spark’s Nora Young interviewed Cathy N. Davidson on education reform in the age of Twitter. The full interview is available on the CBC Spark blog (about 24 minutes). She is the author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn.

I particularly enjoyed the discussion around the role of “attention” (as in, “paying attention”) in Education. With new social media, new kinds of attention is emerging, which do not follow the binary quality often attributed to attention (i.e.: paying attention: yes/no). New competencies are emerging, such as multiple attention.

In addition, the Internet and Social Media are presented as tools – and tools are developed to make things easier. This implies change and loosing some measure of knowledge involved with old versions of tools. We can drive a car, but who knows how to ride a horse? Great discussion!

Information literacy

Study on how Google affects searching from University Students

There has been some buzz about the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (ERIAL) Project‘s announced book from ALA Editions, titled College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, edited by Lynda M. Duke and Andrew D. Asher (available Fall 2011).

In fact, the interest seems to have been started from an article published in Inside higher Ed, a trade journal.

Information literacy

Gamification of Libraries…

I was reading Wired Magazine on the train this morning, specifically Jason Fagone’s interesting account of the “Chain World” videogame, when I stumbled on the reference to “Gamification” :

McGonigal is the foremost evangelist of gamification; she wrote the best seller Reality Is Broken about the world-changing power of games and promoted it on The Colbert Report.

Following up, we do have Jane McGonigal’s book (Reality is broken : why games make us better and how they can change the world / Jane McGonigal / New York : Penguin Press, 2011) at the Concordia U library and you can find her appearance on the Colbert Report online (not available in Canada). Of course, this got me wondering about if and how gamificaiton can be helpful in libraries… and specifically, how the process of gamification can be applied in the context of information literacy programs?

But then, my train reached the terminus and I stumbled into work.

Information literacy

Business Information Literacy in Canada

Information literacy is a catch phrase librarians love – it essentially is a way to package a lot of concepts librarians like about the “public service” component of what we do. Here is a recent article about InfoLit in a Canadian business school, something that is very close to what I do at Concordia University.

Learning outcomes of information literacy instruction at business schools
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Volume 62, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages: 572–585, Brian Detlor, Heidi Julien, Rebekah Willson, Alexander Serenko and Maegen Lavallee
Article first published online : 3 JAN 2011, DOI: 10.1002/asi.21474
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST)

(link to the proxy version available at Concordia U)