Today I woke up to find Digital literacy and democracy
— Helen Beetham (@helenbeetham) February 22, 2017
I wish my hastily-made blog posts could be this good. Democracy and civilization need an informed citizenry. Efforts at mis- and disinformation then, are uncivilized and antidemocratic. And immoral in their casual disregard for honesty, ethics and truth. It’s not enough to call these things out though. That may not even be productive. What matters is that people be empowered to ask questions and to access and use information. It’s also important to challenge our assumptions, or to have our assumptions challenged, to self-reflect and self-evaluate. This is basic information literacy as I see it, as well as basic learning and growth.
This week in OpenLearning17 we’re looking at digital literacy in general, and the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in particular. Some see information literacy as an element of digital literacy, like JISC. I take a more expansive view. Information comes in many forms and flows through many channels. Information literacy then is an umbrella term, and things like media literacy, visual literacy and digital literacy delve into the forms and channels. A problem with that view is that information literacy becomes too big to know, as Belshaw pointed out.
I find it interesting that very little of the discussion around the Framework seems to tie to open education. I see a deep and long term connection between the two, and have been harping on it for a while.
It makes me wonder if this is just so obvious that it’s not worth talking about, or if I’m seeing a mirage. But I think it’s a matter of two movements on parallel tracks, not really connecting with each other. I’m sure the terminological issues play no small part in that disconnect. The Framework is ambitious and aspirational though, and as a framework, offers opportunity for connections. It won’t solve the problems of the world, but we can use it to find a path forward.