September 3, 2015 at 11:23 pm #1588Peldon PParticipant
Information Literacy (IL) and Digital Literacy (DL) has my vested interest and personal relevance because
- I am majoring in ‘Information Management’
- I come from developing country where internet is relatively new; only 33.9% of the population has access to it (Internet World Stats 2014)
Association of College and Research Libraries has defined IL as
“Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.”
Neelie Kroes, former vice president of European Union said that the internet is a utility like electricity and everyone must have access to and yet according to ITUNewsBlog about 4.3 billion people are not online yet. The reasons why these people are getting left behind is elderly people cannot cope with the technology, poor people do not have internet connections at home, less educated people do not find the relevance and the disabled people lack the required skills and expertise (The internet is important to everyone).
The week-7 Twitter Chat was about IL and DL, there were 7 Twitter Champs but we were joined by our peers and guest participants, @kathleensme and @libridol and of course our course coordinator @katiedavis. We deliberated on the 4 questions @katiedavis designed for us and we had 1 more question thrown at us by @kathleensme, so there were in total 5 questions to discuss.
At the onset we discussed the importance of information and digital literacy programs. According to Christine Bruce information literacy is essential for the 21st century living, it is seen as a catalyst to achieving personal empowerment and economic development. The World Wide Web (WWW) is overloaded with information therefore IL and DL skills are required to be able to access, interpret and evaluate the information. @staceySarasvati and @MysliwyL tweeted stating that IL&DL programs are needed for participating in the digital life and to enable people engage and collaborate with the online world respectively. Interestingly, @kathleensme chirped in and justified IL&DL as social justice. She argues that
“Information is a right, not a privilege, if you can’t access information you miss out socially and economically”
The importance of the programs were further fueled by other fellow Twitter Champions; they said it is important to address the issue of digital divide, employment, to enable people to make informed decision and to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich.
What does it mean to be information and technology literate? Christine Bruce put forth the difference as being able to interpret and critically analyze information (information literate) and possessing technological skills required to deliver the information (technology literate). However, fellow twitter champs felt that technology literate is a vague term because it does not state the level of technological expertise required by a person to be called so. @RobynneKay put it simply as the ability to recognize information need, locate, evaluate and use information effectively. Another interesting definition was supplied by @WillBWood who said tech literate is to be able to utilize technology as a vehicle for information access, storage, management and dissemination.
Next we discussed the skills and knowledge required by the library staff to support customer’s use of technology. It was agreed that library staff need to possess basic level of tech skills but opinions were varied with respect to this topic. Even Christine Bruce relented that it is not easy to determine the level of IT infrastructure required for the task mainly because it is dependent on the users.
On being asked about the programs, products and services libraries should offer to support IL and DL, the Twitter champs suggested many programs and products. For instance, @xKirstyJade said iPad skills for the senior citizens. Others suggested libraries should run classes for using Centrelink online portal, coding classes for high school children and technology training for small businesses and so on. Still it may be reasonable to argue that libraries should study the need of their community and run the programs and services that will contribute to the IL and DL. On that note @libridol tweeted that technology is a burden if you don’t understand the point of learning it.
The last question was extra thrown in by our guest @kathleensme, she asked the group how to help people manage if the government services went online by 2017. Many voted for having Centrelink website familiarization training. Interestingly, @katiedavis stated,
“I routinely use centrelink website as an example of why information design is so important. Big problem if all services going online”
@libridol wrapped up the chat on a very interesting note, he said it all boils down to empathy in the end. IL and DL is not only understanding user’s need but also user’s fears.
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