In a second metaliteracy presentation, Prof. Tom Mackey collaborated with Prof. Sheila Marie Aird on Collaborating to Teach Global Digital Storytelling Online. Tom and Sheila’s presentation explores how they applied metaliteracy to the design of a Digital Storytelling course they co-teach at SUNY Empire State College as a fully online international experience. Their slideshow is available via their Global Digital Stories blog.
“Anyone could make edits, and anyone could challenge those edits…This helped me feel less like an outsider trying to fit into a conversation and more like one of a million voices that were working together towards a shared goal of information creation and consumption.”
It is not only illuminating, but also vital to hear from learners about the impact of their encounters with metaliteracy. Asking them to write reflective pieces is one way to find out how components of metaliteracy may have had an effect on their learning. A recent Wiki Edu blog post by Corrin Baker, a graduating senior at The University at Albany, provides such insight. Corrin expanded a wonderfully written course reflection for this post about a course taught by Prof. Trudi Jacobson.
In describing metaliteracy’s producer role, Ms. Baker wrote:
The shared roles of producer and consumer were present in every step of the course. I was fully engaged in locating and evaluating sources, and then finding ways to make that information both understandable and accessible. I felt a great sense of responsibility to the audience and to the authors whose work I was using. I was also far more aware of diversity in a global audience, especially as I found myself struggling to find non-male authors to cite.
The course, which lasts just seven weeks, is challenging for students, but aims to have a lasting effect on their understanding of information and their roles in producing and sharing it. Corrin’s reflection testifies to the incredible impact that the blend of metaliteracy, information literacy, and the wonderful Wiki Education program can have.
The new metaliteracy book written by Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson will be published by ALA/Neal Schuman in summer 2021!
The fourth metaliteracy book in a series is entitled Metaliteracy in a Connected World: Developing Learners as Producers and will focus specifically on the metaliterate learner as informed and ethical producer of information in collaborative social settings. The Foreword to this book will be written by Jako Olivier, UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning, and OER Professor in Multimodal Learning, North-West University, South Africa.
In this newest book in their series, the authors carefully examine the central role of learners as producers of information, a foundational idea for the metaliteracy framework and one that’s more important than ever in our current media and information environment. They emphasize the active role today’s learners play as individual and collaborative metaliterate producers of information in various forms, including writing, digital stories, digital artifacts, and multimedia productions. The authors explore a range of connected social settings from online courses to social media to open learning environments.
SUNY Online has just published their schedule of events for 2021’s Open Education Week.There are a number of presentations from Monday, March 1 to Friday March 5, several of which fit in well with the very metaliterate idea of learner as producer.
On Tuesday, March 2 at 10:00 ET, Trudi will be presenting “Enhancing Student Engagement Through Scaffolded Non-Disposable Assignments,” in which metaliteracy will be playing a starring role! At least one of her current students plans to participate, providing his views as a counterpoint.
Perhaps you will be able to attend one or more of the sessions. The registration link is available on the schedule of events page.
There are a number of components in Wikipedia that align with the Framework, suggesting that an analysis of Wikipedia might serve as a contained but rich case study of how the Framework can serve as a construct whose utility extends beyond individuals’ information literacy understanding and progress. Individual frames shed light on this resource, and metaliteracy, which influenced the Framework, highlights additional elements of Wikipedia, particularly as an immersive teaching tool.
This descriptive analysis of the Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World MOOC shows how metaliteracy is embedded in the course to prepare learners as informed consumers and ethical producers of information. Participants gain insights about their affective responses to information by reflecting on their preconceptions and conducting research to create a digital artifact. The course-specific learning outcomes in each module are based on the metaliteracy goals and learning objectives and associated components such as the learner roles, learning domains, and characteristics.
(Mackey, p. 357)
We welcome your feedback about these new metaliteracy articles and look forward to being in dialogue with you in 2021!
Trudi Jacobson, Distinguished Librarian at the University at Albany, SUNY taught a first year experience (FYE) course this fall, one which concentrated on introducing students to topics such as selecting a major, time planning, study skills, financial literacy, and of course metaliteracy. Students worked through the SUNY OER Services’ iSucceed College Success course which includes a robust metaliteracy module (another version of Lumen Learning’s College Success doesn’t contain the metaliteracy module). In order to give students an opportunity to put what they were learning into practice, Trudi asked them to work on creating helpful content for other first-year students. This information would be added to a website that can be shared with other first year students. Groups of three students tackled an FAQ and a number of zines providing tips for this particular population. Extra credit assignments yielded two more helpful resources, one in audio and one in video format. Five examples of a course infographic project were also added to the site. A student took photos for the header for each page. Students not only had become information producers, but also teachers as well.
The site is being promoted through social media, and soon will be shared with other instructors in the program as well as students in the University at Albany’s Writing and Critical Inquiry Program (another first-year course). Most of the advice on the site is not specific to UAlbany, so please feel free to share it with others who might be interested. Take a look!
This guest blog post is by Dr. Valerie Hill, Director of the Community Virtual Library (a library in virtual learning environments) and researcher of changing literacy in digital culture. Valerie believes metaliteracy aligns well to our philosophical era which many are beginning to call “metamodernism”.
Her recent book, Metamodernism and Changing Literacy: Emerging Research and Opportunities, focuses on metaliteracy for all age groups through an exploration of our metamodern moment. In the Foreword to this book, Thomas Mackey states, “Hill provides a fascinating exploration of metamodernism through the perspective of metaliteracy. This intersection between both theories is vital to our understanding of the relationship between digital culture and literacy.”
Certainly, over the past few months instructors and learners have been challenged by the need to plunge into virtual learning environments (like it or not!) due to Covid 19. Many educators have scrambled to learn new tech tools connecting to students through ZOOM and other apps. Obviously, lecturing online through a web camera has obstacles and limitations as there is little chance for interactive hands-on learning without a “shared space”. Entering virtual platforms for learning requires metaliteracy and the ability to reflect on information in multiple formats as we participate in digital spaces both consuming and producing information. We are surrounded by evidence that metaliteracy is essential, realizing that literacy is no longer defined as the ability to read and write. Options for online learning continue to evolve and a look at our philosophical era in relation to literacy helps us understand how deep learning can occur today and in the future.
The End of Postmodernism
Metaliteracy, as defined by Mackey and Jacobson (2014), is a term developed to better understand the need for digital citizens to reflect on their own literacy in globally networked culture through four domains: behavioral, cognitive, affective, and metacognitive. The ongoing process of learning through these domains takes place again and again over time. This need for metaliteracy was a perfect match to the changing era of postmodernism and the rise of networked culture; however, it is even more critical as we move beyond postmodernism. Several new concepts are emerging, such as: post-postmodernism, post-millennialism, trans-postmodernism, and the term used in this writing, metamodernism.
One of the hallmarks of postmodernism was deconstructionism and the tearing down of grand narratives and established belief systems. Postmodernism emphasized irony, engendered an abundance of dystopian literary works, and promoted a sense of the “death of history”. Metamodernism, in contrast, allows room for hope. Vermeulen and van den Akker (2010, p. 2) suggest, “History, it seems, is moving rapidly beyond its all too hastily proclaimed end.” Understanding changes in literacy may be better understood by exploring metamodernism and embracing metaliteracy.
Metaliteracy in Virtual Spaces
Literacy, we all know, has been revolutionized by digital culture bringing opportunities to access, create and curate content through a plethora of apps and digital platforms. Rapidly expanding digital tools have disrupted education, leading to the need for new nomenclature and a new look at literacy. As information landscapes continue to evolve, metaliteracy addresses goals and learning objectives for digital citizens which include 1) Evaluation of content and bias; 2) Advocating respect for intellectual property; 3) Producing and sharing through collaboration; and 4) Adapting to change through lifelong personal and professional goals.
While innovative learning spaces can be new and exciting, the metamodern individual seeks a balance of innovation with respect for history and tradition. Much can be gained by studying the past and reflecting on the learning journey of those who lived before us. These oscillations between the past and the present, between the physical and the virtual (or digital), and between numerous opposing concepts (the concrete and the abstract) surround us in our metamodern world and impact literacy as we juggle and swing between them in our minds. This juggling between modes of literacy and thinking influences our behavior, our knowledge and understanding, our feelings toward information, and our reflection on how we learn (notice the four domains of metaliteracy).
Choosing the best learning environment is challenging for educators and for learners as online classroom management platforms compete to provide educational applications and virtual spaces (even VR headsets) continue to rapidly expand. Many online spaces offer little interaction beyond observation through a webcam or interactive chat. Evaluating the criteria necessary for specific learning objectives is critical and a shared sense of place and presence can be of tremendous value.
3D virtual environments may play a greater role in simulating a shared learning experience using avatars, a simulated space across distance with the ability to learn in collaboration in a persistent environment (a space that remains over time rather than a one-time disposable experience). Research has documented the potential for high quality educational simulations for over fifteen years. Virtual worlds, such as Second Life or Kitely, offer learners tools to build alone or in collaboration with others. These virtual learning spaces require metaliteracy as users employ various new skills such as embedding online media, coding and scripting, using voice or text, collaborative building, applying the laws of physics, or back channeling through other platforms to communicate.
Great potential for learning and creating in virtual environments is evident; yet, so too is the need for a balance between the virtual world and the physical world. Metamodernism calls for a balance of both worlds and an appreciation of both. The process of becoming metaliterate is lifelong and the metamodern individual must be aware of the personal responsibilities we each hold as digital citizens. As XR (Extended Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality) continue to evolve, metaliteracy will become essential to education and daily life. Certainly, the unprecedented shutdowns caused by Covid 19 have brought a new appreciation of our physical world and our social interactions. A deep appreciation for the physical world alongside multiple “realities” is a metamodern concept.
Metaliteracy for all Age Groups in Digital Culture
From infancy through old age, we are all called upon to become digital citizens in today’s globally connected culture. Tiny tots see digital devices around them from birth and elderly people are often expected to utilize digital modes of communication from email and online shopping to texting and social media. Much of our online interaction takes place through social media and networked communities. “Metaliteracy promotes critical thinking and collaboration in a digital age, providing a comprehensive framework to effectively participate in social media and online communities” (Mackey and Jacobson, 2011, p. 62).
Becoming metaliterate is a process that begins at birth with the modeling of literacy (print books preferred for infants and toddlers!) imperative to development. Parents, children, educators, students, and lifelong learners are challenged to develop a personal awareness of metaliteracy and to “apply metaliterate learning as a lifelong value and practice” (Metaliteracy Goal 4:9) (Jacobson, et. al., 2019).
Hill, V. J. (2020). Metamodernism and Changing Literacy: Emerging Research and Opportunities. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
An English translation of the metaliteracy interview for the RSG Radio Program has been prepared by Jako Olivier, UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and OER at North West University (NWU), South Africa.
Trudi Jacobson Tom Mackey and Jako Olivier (pictured to the right in 2019 at NWU in South Africa) discuss metaliteracy on Sunday August 2, 2020 at 9:30am EST (15:30 South African time).
Download the English translation of the interview here:
The discussion is moderated by Johannes Van Lill, for the RSG radio show, Ons en die onderwys (‘We and Education’). While Tom’s and Trudi’s responses are in English, the program is in Afrikaans. Jako’s translation of the program will allow you to read along with the initial interview on Sunday at http://www.rsg.co.za/ or if you download the podcast after the event at https://lnkd.in/d-hCeDN.
Our first blog post about the interview featured two audio previews, and here are two additional responses from Tom and Trudi based on the questions posed by Johannes Van Lill:
Which characteristics should a metaliterate learner have?
What implications does metaliteracy have for teachers and parents in the school context?
We hope that you join us for this opportunity to engage with an international audience about metaliteracy and welcome any feedback and insights you have based on the conversation!
Jako Olivier, UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and OER invited Trudi Jacobson, Distinguished Librarian and Head of the Information Literacy Department at the University at Albany, SUNY and Tom Mackey, Professor of Arts and Media at SUNY Empire State College to participate in a discussion about metaliteracy on the RSG radio show, Ons en die onderwys (‘We and Education’) on Sunday August 2, 2020 at 9:30am EST (15:30 South African time). Johannes Van Lill, Director of Wordwise Media & VJC, RSG Presenter, journalist and communication specialist will lead the discussion and interview Jako, Trudi, and Tom as part of the program. While Tom and Trudi’s portions will be in English, the rest of the discussion will be in Afrikaans.
Listen live to the interview with Tom, Jako, and Trudi (pictured to the left at last year’s ICIL conference in South Africa) at http://www.rsg.co.za/ (click on the red button marked ‘LUISTER NOU’) or download the podcast afterwards at https://lnkd.in/d-hCeDN.
RSG has over 1.3 million listeners who might tune into their radios, and the Sunday afternoon programs in particular are the most widely listened and together with the online listeners and podcast downloads the total listener number might be closer to 2 million people. RSG is broadcast all over South Africa and because it is the most popular and main national Afrikaans-speaking radio station it covers a very wide demographic. RSG also has many listeners from the country of Namibia (where Afrikaans is also spoken widely) as well as online with local and Afrikaans-speaking expatriates.
Here’s an audio preview of two of the responses from Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson as part of the interview:
What is Metaliteracy?
Why is metaliteracy relevant for education today?
Listen in on Sunday, August 2 at 9:30am EST for the full interview with Jako Olivier and Johannes Van Lill!
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.
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.