Friday, October 18, 2013

My Evolving Thinking on Educating about Information in Social Media

Today I had the opportunity to present another talk about Twitter in Education. The Plano-Richardson Library Expo proved to be an excellent place to give such a talk because of the perfectly topical Keynote address by Lee Raine of the Pew Internet Research Center.

Mr. Raine expressed one of the central ideas of my talk so-well, calling Information "another skin,"
that is that information one gathers and disseminates online is part of a social identity for many people, particularly teens. This very deep idea is one I have wrestled with recently and I have tried to use the concept to design Information Literacy instruction. Some of those ideas, in their infant/idea stage are presented here in this slideshow.

Since my last presentation on Information Literacy with Easy Bib, I have had the benefit of teaching classes, trying out some new lessons, addressing conspiracy theories, information bubbles and confirmation bias. The goal is to challenge students to own up to their biases and fight against the universal human tendency to discover and present information that conforms to one's pre-existing beliefs and/or social identity.

Challenging students this way without judging their identities and beliefs is the main difference of my new approach. Previously, I may have come across as too judgmental towards people that present conspiracy theories. I believe librarians must adapt to teaching students this way instead of simply demanding that students use databases and peer-reviewed sources. The messaging is much more complicated and the investment in lesson planning much greater, but I truly believe it to be the better way developing the vital life skill of sorting out good information from bad information.