Metaliteracy Launches Reason & Respect Initiative at SUNY Empire

Tom Mackey’s presentation Advancing Metaliteracy to Rebuild Trust launched the Reason & Respect initiative at SUNY Empire State College. This series of online conversations “provides a forum for students, faculty, staff, and our broader communities to explore and discuss topics related to the election and learn about critical issues” (SUNY Empire). Tom’s presentation examines metaliteracy as a pedagogical strategy to address the challenges of misinformation and disinformation during this election cycle and a global pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, the COVID-19 pandemic is also an “infodemic” that is defined by the spread of false and misleading information. The sharing of deceptive and untruthful information during a global pandemic is especially problematic when accurate and reliable communication is essential for saving lives. Misinformation and disinformation are amplified by echo chambers, tribalism, and contentious partisan environments that reinforce mistrust and division. How do we rebuild trust based on reason and respect? How do we engage in difficult conversations about critical issues while reexamining fixed mindsets and understanding multiple perspectives?

During an age of misinformation and well-orchestrated disinformation campaigns, it is especially vital to make informed decisions based on accurate content from reliable and truthful sources. Metaliteracy is a comprehensive model that helps individuals to become both critical consumers and ethical producers of information in participatory environments (Mackey & Jacobson, 2011; Mackey & Jacobson, 2014). Metaliterate learners are reflective, well-informed, and civic-minded contributors to shared communities. They adapt to changing information technologies and work conscientiously to build communities of trust (Mackey, 2019). Metaliterate learners reflect on how they feel about information and the specific contexts of information environments (Jacobson, et. al., 2018). They develop a metaliteracy mindset and examine their own predispositions while consciously seeking information from multiple perspectives and sources (Jacobson, et. al., 2018). Metaliteracy has been applied in many different educational settings, from classrooms and libraries to online virtual environments, showing that it is possible to advance rational and reflective dialogue among engaged participants in shared spaces. This presentation explores how metaliteracy is a lifelong practice for building truthful and trusted communities based on a shared commitment to both empathy and understanding.

References

Jacobson, T., Mackey, T., O’Brien, K., Forte, M., & O’Keeffe, E. (2018).   “Goals and Learning Objectives.” Metaliteracy.org, Retrieved from https://metaliteracy.org/learning-objectives/

Mackey, T.P., “Empowering Metaliterate Learners for the Post-Truth World.” In Mackey and Jacobson (Eds.). Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World. New York: ALA Publishing, Inc., (2019).

Mackey, T. P., & Jacobson, T. E.. (2011). Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy. College & Research Libraries, (January): 62-78.

Mackey, T. P., & Jacobson, T. E. (2014). Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners. Chicago: ALA/Neal-Schuman Publishing.

Managing the COVID-19 infodemic: Promoting healthy behaviours and mitigating the harm from misinformation and disinformation. World Health Organization. (2020, September 23). https://www.who.int/news/item/23-09-2020-managing-the-covid-19-infodemic-promoting-healthy-behaviours-and-mitigating-the-harm-from-misinformation-and-disinformation.

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