Metaliteracy and Maker Literacy

We are delighted to share this guest post by Sarah Nagle, Creation and Innovation Services Librarian at Miami University, Oxford Ohio. Sarah explores the maker movement, its tenuous fit with the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy, and what she defines as a strong alignment with metaliteracy.

Metaliteracy as a Bridge Between Maker Literacy and the ACRL Framework

Sarah Nagle, Creation and Innovation Services Librarian

The popularity of makerspaces has soared across the world since the onset of the Maker Movement in the mid-2000s. Makerspaces are collaborative working and learning spaces that often include technology such as 3D printers, sewing machines, laser cutters, and other equipment. While community and public library makerspaces led the charge in the early years of the maker movement, maker-centered learning has blossomed in the realm of education, becoming a popular learning tool in K-12 schools, and more recently in higher education. Often, university makerspaces live in the campus library. University libraries can provide broad access to communal, collaborative spaces for the campus community, making them an ideal location for makerspaces. Maker-centered learning has a strong multidisciplinary, collaborative aspect, and makerspaces traditionally put value on the open sharing of things and ideas, something that is deeply embedded in the spirit of libraries.

As makerspaces have grown in popularity in education, some important projects have arisen to study the benefits and outcomes of maker-centered learning. Agency by Design (AbD) (Clapp et al., 2017) is a multi-year research project that has studied maker-centered learning. Although the project focused mainly on K-12 education, many of the findings can apply to maker-centered learning for any age level. AbD developed a Framework for Maker-Centered Learning, which focuses on maker empowerment and design sensitivity. A prominent framework for maker-centered learning in higher education is the Maker Literacies Project (Wallace, et al., 2018), an IMLS-funded initiative started at the University of Texas Arlington, has developed a list of maker competencies for higher education, in addition to providing a wide range of examples of makerspace course integrations. A common thread for maker-centered learning frameworks is the development of a maker mindset, which places emphasis on empowerment, failure positivity, and critical thinking. Often absent from maker-centered learning frameworks is a strong emphasis on the acquisition of specific skills. In other words, even though students are learning specific tools, technologies, and software, the enduring value that they receive from maker-centered learning experiences is primarily related to mindset development.

The question of how maker-centered learning connects to information literacy instruction remains largely unanswered. Since moving from public to academic library makerspaces in 2018, I have grappled with how to bridge maker-centered learning with my library’s information literacy instructional mission, which focuses heavily on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. Attempting to map maker literacies to the ACRL Framework can be a difficult task; there are many similarities, but there are also many outcomes of maker-centered learning that don’t fit perfectly within the six frames. Then I began reading about metaliteracy and discovered that the concept provides an excellent overarching model for connecting experiential learning competencies like maker literacy to the ACRL Framework.

Metaliteracy places emphasis on learners as active, collaborative, and introspective creators. This perspective on information literacy broadens the scope of library instruction and makes room for new and innovative literacies, such as maker literacy. Below are some of the important ways that metaliteracy encompasses the outcomes of maker-centered learning.

  • Shift from consumer to creator – Goal 3 of the 2018 Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives includes students’ ability to view themselves as producers of information. An important outcome of maker-centered learning focuses on this shift as well. Rooted in the ideals of the maker movement, the shift from consumer to creator fundamentally changes students’ outlook and connects closely with the theme of empowerment. Students are no longer blindly consuming information and things, but rather looking critically at all aspects of the designed world around them, with a confidence in their ability to analyze, tinker with, and design new objects.
  • Empowerment – Learner empowerment is mentioned in the metaliteracy documentation as an outcome of metacognition and metaliterate learning. Empowerment is also a key component of maker-centered learning frameworks. The ultimate outcome of the AbD Framework for Maker-Centered Learning is Maker Empowerment. This is defined as “A sensitivity to the designed dimension of objects and systems, along with the inclination and capacity to shape one’s world through building, tinkering, re/designing, or hacking” (Agency by Design, n.d.). In other words, maker-centered learning helps students critically evaluate the world around them, understand how things work, and gain confidence in their own ability to fix, improve upon, and create things.
  • Civic mindedness – One characteristic of metaliterate learners is their tendency to be civic minded. Civic mindedness is also a byproduct of maker-centered learning. When students experience empowerment through maker-centered learning, this empowerment begins to extend beyond themselves, often resulting in students’ commitment to use their newfound agency to make a difference in the world at large. A hallmark of the maker movement is the propensity of makers to use their skills to give back to their communities. A recent example is the maker community’s response to shortages of PPE and medical devices during the COVID-19 pandemic. When stories began circulating of PPE shortages, makers worldwide immediately stepped up in huge ways to design, develop, and manufacture face masks, shields, and even parts for medical devices such as ventilators. AbD identifies “Community Making” as one of the primary benefits of maker-centered learning, defining it as, “Finding opportunities to make things that are meaningful to one’s community and taking ownership of that process of making, either independently or with others” (Clapp et al., 2017, p. 41).
  • Metacognition – Metacognition is an integral component of metaliteracy, as one of the four domains of metaliterate learning. Although the current literature and frameworks on maker literacy do not explicitly address metacognition in maker-centered learning, the concept is certainly interconnected with the maker learning process. The maker mindset involves critical evaluation of one’s own beliefs and outlooks. In all of my makerspace instruction sessions, I start by introducing students to the maker mindset, which gives students the opportunity to understand and evaluate their own shift in thinking as they develop themselves as makers. Additionally, Wallace et al. (2018) discuss how maker learning activities were more effective when faculty members included self-reflection in the assignment. They describe how the addition of journaling or other self-reflective components to maker assignments increased student growth. This metacognitive step also contributes to maker empowerment, because when students understand the elements of mindset development, they have the ability to control their own learning.

As more academic libraries implement makerspaces, academic library maker educators may face pressure to demonstrate how maker literacy fits with the ACRL Framework. Metaliteracy not only expands students’ expertise of information literacy to include rapidly changing digital environments, it also has the potential to be the bridge that connects newly forming innovative literacies, including maker literacy, to the ACRL Framework. By embracing mindset development rather than skill acquisition, information literacy instruction has the potential to help students develop lifelong practices and viewpoints that will continue to serve them long after they graduate.

References

Agency by Design. (n.d.). The Framework for Maker-Centered Learning. http://www.agencybydesign.org/explore-the-framework

Clapp, E. P., Ross, J., Ryan, J. O., & Tishman, S. (2017). Maker-centered learning: empowering young people to shape their worlds. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wallace, M., Trkay, G., Peery, K., Chivers, M, Radniecki, T. (2018, August 3-5). Maker Competencies and the Undergraduate Curriculum. Paper presented at the 2018 International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces, Stanford, CA. Retrieved from https://rc.library.uta.edu/uta-ir/handle/10106/27518

Sarah Nagle is Creation and Innovation Services Librarian at Miami University in Ohio, where she supports transdisciplinary projects and course integrations relating to a variety of maker and innovation topics. Sarah’s scholarly interests include inclusivity in the maker movement and how maker-centered learning can enhance learning both in informal environments and higher education. 

New Book about the ACRL Framework Includes Metaliteracy

The new book edited by Heidi Julien, Melissa Gross, and Don Latham The Information Literacy Framework: Case Studies of Successful Implementation, features a Foreword written by Trudi E. Jacobson and a metaliteracy chapter authored by Tom Mackey. Trudi’s perspective as co-chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) task force that developed the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, informed her Foreword for the book. Trudi noted that: “The chapter authors and editors of this volume have done a great service for librarians and other educators who wold like to expand their understanding of the potential impact and use of the Framework and add to their repertoire of ways for integrating it into their work” (p. xi).

The ACRL Framework was influenced by aspects of metaliteracy and in his chapter entitled “Exploring Metaliterate Learning through the Frames of Information Literacy,” Tom Mackey investigates both models as complementary. In particular, he examines the final project assignment in the metaliteracy MOOC Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World as an example of metaliterate learning from the perspective of the six frames of the ACRL Framework. He also argues that “The metacognitive aspect of metaliteracy has been a driver for these projects and suggests the need for further development of this approach in information literacy as well” (p. 217).

This new book, published by Rowman & Littlefield, includes 18 different case studies from librarians and faculty members who have experience applying the ACRL Framework in practice. Take a look at the range of the chapters–you are certain to find some pertinent to your interests!

Metaliteracy/Information Literacy Workshop at North-West University, South Africa

Jqk%ZkEPSwy73NPk86V0cQ

Trudi Jacobson at NWU

Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey presented a second workshop (see October 3 post for details about and slides for the first, on metaliteracy and open educational practices). This workshop entitled Integrating Metaliteracy and Information Literacy into Teaching and Learning, also held at the Potchefstroom campus of North-West University (NWU), South Africa, occurred on Friday, September 20. Trudi and Tom conducted the workshop at the invitation of Dr. Jako Olivier, UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and OER and Professor in Multimodal Learning at NWU.

The workshop, Integrating Metaliteracy and Information Literacy into Teaching and Learning, was designed to introduce metaliteracy and the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to participants. Of particular note was the unveiling of a new comparison of the metaliteracy learner characteristics and aligning dispositions from the ACRL Framework (slide 22). This figure and the accompanying investigation is the focus of a chapter by Trudi Jacobson, Tom Mackey, and Kelsey O’Brien, “Visualizing the Convergence of Metaliteracy and the Information Literacy Framework,” which will be included in a forthcoming book edited by Jannette Finch, Envisioning the Framework.

After a brief overview of the two frameworks, it was time for the participants to start applying concepts and ideas to their own teaching. Working in small groups, attendees identified an information literacy goal they have for their students, and determined how metaliteracy and existing metaliteracy OER might help to achieve this goal.

Metaliteracy Keynotes Featured at ICIL in South Africa

North-West University, South Africa, host of the 2019 ICIL

Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson have been invited to South Africa as keynote speakers at the International Conference on Information Literacy (ICIL), being held this year at North-West University in Vanderbijlpark. The conference theme is Information Literacy in All Spheres of Life, and will take place September 23-26. 

Tom’s keynote, to take place on September 24, is titled Building Communities of Trust: Metaliterate Learning for a Post-Truth Society. Trudi is presenting on September 26 on Creating Shareable Knowledge: Exploring the Synergy between Metaliteracy and Open Pedagogy. The other international and national keynote speakers at the conference include Serap Kurbanoglu of the Department of Information Management at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, Irina Zhilavskaya, Chair of Media Education, Moscow Pedagogical State University, Bosire Onyancha of the Department of Information Science at the University of South Africa, Karin de Jager, University of Cape Town, Ina Fourie, Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria, and Jako Olivier, professor of Multimodal Learning in the School of Professional Studies in Education at North-West University.

Trudi and Tom have also been invited by Dr. Olivier to give a prestige lecture and two workshops at the Potchefstroom campus of North-West University the week prior to the conference. The collaborative lecture is Exploring the Foundation of Metaliteracy in Theory and Practice, and the workshops are Applying Open Educational Practices to Develop Active Metaliterate Learners and Integrating Metaliteracy and Information Literacy into Teaching and Learning.

Look to Metaliteracy.org for future posts that feature slides from both keynotes, the collaborative prestige lecture, and the shared workshops.

New Metaliteracy Paper Presented at Conference in Frankfurt, Germany

IMG_3499

Trudi Jacobson, Karin Lach and Tom Mackey

At the recent Conference on Learning Information Literacy across the Globe in Frankfurt, Germany, Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey presented a new metaliteracy paper entitled “Developing Metaliterate Citizens: Designing and Delivering Enhanced Global Learning Opportunities.” This peer-reviewed essay was one of eight full-papers accepted to the conference and was co-authored with Kelsey O’Brien, Information Literacy Librarian, from the University at Albany. The slideshow for the presentation featured the metaliteracy model, a discussion of open pedagogy’s relationship to metaliteracy, and related metaliteracy projects, including the digital badging system and the Open edX MOOC Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, which is now available in a self-paced mode. The conference was hosted and organized by the DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education and was the final part of the Erasmus+ Project Information Literacy Online, a European project to improve students’ competencies.

Shown in the photo with Trudi and Tom is Karin Lach, Universitätsbibliothek, Fachbereichsbibliothek Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Wien (University Library, English and American Studies Library, Vienna), who is kindly working on a German translation of the metaliteracy goals and learning objectives.

 

Metaliteracy/Information Literacy Course Emphasizes Open Pedagogy

A course taught this spring at the University at Albany blended an opportunity to learn about metaliteracy and information literacy with a very public-facing assignment: writing for Wikipedia. The course, Information Literacy for the Humanities and Fine Arts, participated in the Wiki Education program. Students had the opportunity to put many of the metaliteracy learning objectives and information literacy frames into practice in a way that brought them alive. More detailed information, including student reactions, can be found in a  post on the Wiki Education blog.

Tea for Teaching Podcast Features Metaliteracy

Tea1In the latest Tea for Teaching podcast produced by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at the State University of New York at Oswego, Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson participate in a conversation about metaliteracy with John Kane, an economist, and Rebecca Mushtare, a graphic designer.  John and Rebecca run the Center and produce the Tea for Teaching series. As part of this podcast, Trudi and Tom define what metaliteracy is, provide illustrative examples of metaliteracy in practice, and explore the connection to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. This conversation also goes into detail about the latest SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant (IITG) awarded to the Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative to support a new metaliteracy MOOC Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, currently under development in the Open EdX platform for a March 2019 launch. Tom and Trudi talk about their forthcoming book for ALA Publishing Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World and Trudi provides updates on the Metaliteracy Digital Badging System. As part of the podcast, a full transcript of the discussion is provided, along with related references. Get ready for this Tea for Teaching podcast with your favorite tea and then listen for the latest ideas about metaliteracy that will support your own teaching and learning!

Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World to be Published this Fall!

metaliterateLearning_fullsize_RGB

Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World

The forthcoming metaliteracy book Metalierate Learning for the Post-Truth World, edited by Thomas Mackey and Trudi Jacobson will be published in spring 2019. Metaliteracy is a pedagogical model for ensuring that learners successfully participate in collaborative information environments, including social media and online communities. Today’s post-truth world requires learners to ethically produce and share information while checking their own biases, and critically evaluating the proliferation of false or misleading information, unfiltered content, and outright denialism of facts. Indeed, it is clearly evident that the competencies, knowledge, and attributes of metaliterate individuals are critical for grappling with the post-truth era. Metaliteracy supports reflective learning through metacognitive thinking, the ethical production of new knowledge, the critical consumption of information, and the responsible sharing of verifiable content across media platforms. Through metaliteracy, learners are envisioned as teachers in collaborative social spaces. This book examines the newest version of the Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives, including the four domains of metaliterate learning. Several chapter authors explore the relationship between metaliteracy and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

This new metaliteracy book includes a Foreword written by Troy Swanson, MLIS, Ph.D., Department Chair Library Services, Moraine Valley Community College and features persuasive contributions from information literacy instructors, librarians, and disciplinary faculty. All of the chapter authors present effective methods for advancing metaliterate learning in the post-truth world, exploring such relevant topics as:

Theory

  • Strategies for empowering metaliterate learners through the newly developed metaliterate learner characteristics and revised Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives in the framing chapter by Thomas P. Mackey, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Arts and Media at SUNY Empire State College
  • Documentation as an expanded dimension of the metaliteracy model to reinforce ethical and responsible information practices examined by Marc Kosciejew, M.L.I.S., Ph.D., Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences in the Department of Library, Information, and Archive Sciences, University of Malta
  • Inoculation theory as a way to build resistance to influence in the post-truth world theorized by Josh Compton, Ph.D., from the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at Dartmouth College
  • Scientific literacy enhanced as a holistic learning strategy through metaliteracy examined by Allison B. Brungard, M.L.I.S., from Slippery Rock University and Kristin M. Klucevsek, Ph.D., from Duquesne University
  • The synergistic relationship between text and image in photojournalism analyzed by Thomas Palmer, M.S., Digital Media Lecturer from the University at Albany, SUNY, and Editorial Design Director / News Editor at the Times Union newspaper

Practice

  • The role of LIS professionals in supporting metaliterate learning and the ACRL Framework in a chapter co-authored by Nicole A. Cooke, Ph.D., M.Ed., M.L.S., and Rachel Magee, Ph.D., M.A., from the University of Illinois
  • Teaching students to be wrong through lessons designed with metaliteracy and the ACRL Framework in a freshman seminar developed and taught by Allison Hosier, M.S.I.S., Information Literacy Librarian, at the University at Albany, SUNY
  • Developing metaliterate learners as analytical readers and writers through genre analysis and fictionality in first-year writing instruction as described by Jaclyn Partyka, Ph.D., in the English Department at Temple University.
  • Incorporating Poetic Ethnograpy and digital storytelling based on poetic narratives from neighborhoods in Philadelphia in the closing chapter by Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Theater at Temple University

Metaliteracy is an empowering pedagogical model for preparing learners to be ethical and responsible participants in today’s divisive information environment. This new book showcases several teaching and learning theories and practices that have already proven effective and are certain to inspire new ideas. Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World builds on the two previous metaliteracy books Metaliteracy in Practice (2016) and Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (2014).

Recording of Metaliteracy Presentation at LSU Now Available Online

The recent presentation by Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey at LSU entitled Teaching Metaliteracy in a Post-Truth World is now available online via YouTube. If you have any follow-up questions or comments be sure to contact us.

Thanks to Dr. Carol L. Barry, Director of the School of Library & Information Science, and everyone at LSU, for welcoming us to campus as part of the College of Human Sciences and Education’s Quality of Life Lecture Series. Special thanks to Dr. Edward Benoit III, Assistant Professor from the School of Library & Information Science, for working with his team on producing the video.

Metaliteracy Presentation at LSU

IMG_3809

Trudi Jacobson, Carol Barry and Tom Mackey

Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey presented Teaching Metaliteracy To Empower Learners in a Post-Truth World at Louisiana State University (LSU) on April 13. The School of Library and Information Science in association with the College of Human Sciences & Education at LSU sponsored the talk as part of the Quality of Life Lecture Series. Dr. Carol Barry, Director of the School of Library and Information Science at LSU, invited Trudi and Tom to discuss metaliteracy as a pedagogical response to fake news and the post-truth world. Trudi and Tom included research from their forthcoming book Metaliterate Learning in the Post-Truth World for ALA Publishing (to be published in fall 2018) and introduced the draft revision of the updated Metaliteracy Learning Goals and Objectives.