Reflecting on Our Sheffield workshop

Today’s workshop was the first time the two former Fellows and the two current Fellows came together to run a workshop on our new curriculum. It was a chance to recognise and thank the University of Sheffield as four of our experts who took part in the expert consultation are based here. Sheffield have always been proactive and leaders in the information literacy field, partly due to the work of the University library but also because of the iSchool and Centre for Information Literacy Research. We invited a group from across the University to hear about our work but also to give the current fellows feedback on how the curriculum might work in practice at their institution. They had to consider who the stakeholders were, who might stand in the way of a more joined up approach and what other resources might be needed. It was a lively discussion following our presentation with some specific issues related to where learning development sits at Sheffield. It seems a real shame that CILASS, which has done such great work on information literacy and inquiry based learning has been disbanded. Perhaps today’s workshop might start a ball rolling to addressing this? I got an insight into who might champion the curriculum at LSE, who might stand in the way. I ended up concluding that a grass roots movement has a lot of merit, compared to a top down approach which without local support might soon fail. I also intend to do an audit to look at which aspects of the curriculum are covered in our undergraduate programmed and by whom. LSE100 clearly is intended to cover many of the skills, but the audit toolkit that Katy is developing should help me pin this down.

Travelling on the train I listened to an LSE podcast from Sherry Turkle at MIT on the concept of a digital dieting, privacy and new technologies. Aside from this being a great lecture I was struck by the realisation that despite working in new technology this was the first time I’d listened to an LSE podcast lecture on my iPad and what a wonderful thing this is. I fully intend to download many more lectures as I am discovering that I actually seem to learn better by listening (and talking of course!) than I do by just reading. I have become addicted to radio since being in Cambridge too. However I was struck by a lot of what Sherry said about the need to have time away from devices, such as meal times or when out walking. I wonder if actually this ‘digital diet’ is all part of information literacy too and where it fits in the new curriculum? It’s partly about managing information more broadly but also about the ethics too perhaps? Or am I stretching the definition too far now? I certainly took her point that kids needed to learn about acceptable behaviour with technology from their parents. So not texting while eating, or sending emails from the sofa when you are having a conversation. With that in mind I am going off line for a few days!

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