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IST 668: Literacy Through School Libraries

Literacy Ecosystems


Literacy 2.0 and Libraries Shannon DeSantis & Allison Kowalski Overview “Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” (Prensky, 2001). Education has moved from one-sided communication and teacher-centered learning (Literacy 1.0) to a collaborative culture (Literacy 2.0). In this new culture, students now require different resources to learn. These students are called digital natives, and they “are used to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task … They function best when networked” (Prensky, 2001). Literacy 1.0 has minimal collaboration components; Literacy 2.0 takes technical aspects of Literacy 1.0 and adds more participatory elements for students to collaborate with peers and organize information in a digital format. Students become content creators in Literacy 2.0, and no longer accumulate information or knowledge as they did in Literacy 1.0 Most digital natives have access to computers, e-readers, tablets, or mobile devices. With access to these technologies, students are exposed to a wealth of information, social media, and Web 2.0 technologies. Literacy 2.0 strives to teach students informationliteracy and critical-thinking skills using

a tech-focused and participatory atmosphere. Librarians have new challenges, and must create, design, implement, and evaluate innovative ways to create an optimal learning environment. “Today’s [librarians] have to communicate in the language and style of their students. This doesn’t mean changing the meaning of what is important” (Prensky, 2001). The primary message librarians want to students to learn remains similar, but the way information is communicated must be sent in a language students understand. “It is highly unlikely that the Digital Natives will go backwards,” and librarians must overcome obstacles derived from Literacy 2.0 (Prensky, 2001). These obstacles include how to teach information-literacy skills in digital formats, how to conquer the digital divide and how to educate students about netiquette and cyberbullying issues.

Three Issues That Involve Literacy 2.0 Librarians must teach students information-literacy skills for a Literacy 2.0 culture. Students must know to evaluate a website or social network for authority, appropriateness, audience, and relevance ,and recognize main ideas from countless text on a web page. In the 21st century, students use Web 2.0 tools, such Wikipedia, Flickr,


Twitter and YouTube as sources for class projects, but do librarians effectively teach students how to evaluate information on the Internet like they do print sources? (Carpan, 2010). “Do they [students] know how to tell if they can legally reuse an image found on Flickr or a podcast found on iTunes? Have our students thought about how to use social bookmarking sites like Delicious or wikis to share useful Web sites for new projects?” (Carpan, 2010). In addition, another issue is the digital divide between librarians and students who have access to a Literacy 2.0 culture, and those who have the access blocked (Rosenfeld, 2008). When librarians do not have unfiltered access to technology, professional growth is limited. “Preventing teachers from using collaborative tools and social networking sites for their professional development harms their professional growth and slows the adoption of new methodologies” (Rosenfeld, 2008). If librarians are not allowed access to social tools, they cannot properly instruct students about netiquette and how to effectively evaluate information found online. Also, blocking tools like Google Docs or YouTube hinders the learning experience for students. Though students will likely have access to blocked tools outside of school, students should learn these tools in a

safe environment. If filtered sites do not allow students to collaborate with one another, they cannot create new learning experiences that extend beyond the classroom. Students will not be able to fully participate in a Literacy 2.0 culture if they cannot contribute to content creation or communicate in real-time. Lastly, librarians must educate students about netiquette and cyberbullying in a Literacy 2.0 culture because interactions and content creation substantially increase. Because digital natives have access to mobile devices or computers, the chance to be a cyberbully or be cyberbullied increases; so students must learn appropriate netiquette. Students are connected through Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube, among countless other social networks. This connectivity increases the possibility of cyberbullying outside the classroom, especially if parents do not actively monitor students’ Internet activity. Victims of cyberbullying can experience the effects of depression and possible suicide. Individuals can remain anonymous on the Internet, and identifying faces behind screen names or profiles might be challenging. “Retaliation online is much easier than face-to-face contact because of the anonymity of online interactions. Online screen names and bogus email addresses make it difficult to identify


perpetrators� (Draa & Sydney, 2009). Since students experience a Literacy 2.0 culture, librarians must teach students to become responsible users of literacy 2.0 tools and recognizing cyberbullying and where to identify help if they are a victim or witness an event is an increasingly important part of that instruction. Interactive Impact of Literacy 2.0 Literacy 2.0 has a positive impact on digital natives inside and outside the classroom. This literacy incorporates both traditional literacy practices and technology to create an interactive learning experience for students. Literacy 2.0 practices encourage students to individually or collaboratively learn, discover new ideas and foster inquiry in the classroom. When students are engaged in the content, they are more likely to succeed because they are interacting with the material. Specifically, elementary-aged students interact positively with Literacy 2.0 practices because “more than half of the world's population now owns a cell phone and children under 12 constitute one of the fastest-growing segments of mobile technology users in the U.S.� (Wohlwend, 2010). This age group was born with these technologies, and they are heavily connected to them. Literacy 2.0 increases ways for students to enhance reading, writing,

thinking and creative skills. When traditional literacy skills combine with Web 2.0 tools, students gain interactive and collaborative experiences. These experiences allow students to immerse themselves in the content and learn from each other. Students engage in literacy 2.0 when they communicate on social networks like Facebook or Twitter, collaborate on projects with wikis, publish stories on fanfiction.net, play multiplayer online games, and contribute to music- and video-sharing sites, like YouTube. When students publish blogs or upload videos, they become content creators that design an interactive learning experience. Content creation helps students synthesize new ideas and share them with other Web 2.0 users. Literacy 2.0 involves participation and collaboration as well as the distribution of expertise and intelligence as well as access to all kinds of resources. School librarians need to design lesson plans that highlight inquiry-based learning and collaborative projects that create a participatory learning environment for digital natives (Knobel & Wilber, 2009). Students can blog about a country for a social-studies class, and gather information from peers across the world through comments on the blog. Also, students can produce book trailers through Animoto or post a book review on Goodreads for an English-class


assignment. The interactive impact of Literacy 2.0 allows students to be successful when librarians incorporate technology and literacy practices into instruction. Literacy 2.0 helps students by engaging them with content using technology they are familiar with and developing critical thinking, writing, and social skills. Short Story Ms. Lee is a first-year librarian at Centerville Junior High School. After sitting in department meetings, Ms. Lee discovers a collaboration opportunity. The social-studies department plans to teach an immigration unit and wants to explore creative ways to showcase research. Ms. Lee has ideas for the social-studies department and offers to present some Web 2.0 options. However, some teachers have never used Web 2.0 tools for research projects, and they are unsure about the tools. Ms. Lee knows some Web 2.0 tools that can work well for the project, and allows students to effectively collaborate together. She pulls together links for Glogster, VoiceThread and EduBlogs. The school has subscriptions to these tools, but the previous librarian never utilized these for student projects. Ms. Lee shows the teachers how students can make online posters on Glogster that link to videos, websites and images; VoiceThread allows

students to create online slide presentations, with a recorded voiceover and text; and students can use EduBlogs to blog about information and perspectives gathered from research. Ms. Lee also suggests students can blog as an immigrant for part of the project. Ms. Lee explains how these tools will allow students to collaborate together on the immigration project. After listening to Ms. Lee’s presentation, the socialstudies teachers decide to pursue this collaborative project and use Web 2.0 tools to showcase students’ research. In the meeting, the teachers work with Ms. Lee to develop a unit plan. The teachers plan to teach the content, while Ms. Lee plans to teach mini-lessons on the information-literacy skills needed for the project. Skills students will learn include how to gather and evaluate information for research, cite sources and create a blog. The teachers and Ms. Lee work together to develop criteria for the finished product: a series of blog posts depicting a fictional character’s immigration using facts found in research to support and build their story. The next week, students travel to the library and Ms. Lee showcases a sample blog to illustrate a polished finished product. She demonstrates how to start their research; demonstrating how students evaluate and gather information from websites,


reference books, and databases. The next day, students return to the library to learn how to cite sources using the school’s word-processing program’s citation tool. After the students have researched their immigration topics, Ms. Lee guides them in creating their first blog post synthesizing ideas from their research to discuss their characters’ journey from their homelands. The students present their blog posts to their classmates. After the presentations are done, Ms. Lee distributes a survey for students and teachers. She discovers that, overall, students like the blogs as an innovative way to show research; the socialstudies teachers are excited to use blogs for future projects, and they are enthusiastic to incorporate more Web 2.0 tools for future projects. References Carpan, C. (2010). Introducing information literacy 2.0. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 17(1), 106-113.

Draa, V., & Sydney, T. D. (2009). Cyberbullying: challenges and actions. Journal Of Family And Consumer Sciences, 101(4), 40-46. Knobel, M., & Wilber, D. (2009). Let's talk 2.0. Educational Leadership, 66(6), 20-24. Presnsky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1. On The Horizon, 9(5), 16. Rosenfeld, E. (2008). Blocking web 2.0 tools in schools: Creating a new digital divide. Teacher Librarian, 35(3), 6. Wohlwend, K. (2010). A Is for avatar: young children in literacy. Language Arts, 88(2), 144-152.

Literacy 2 0  

Shannon DeSantis and Allison Kowalski

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