Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beware online "filter bubbles" - Eli Pariser's TED Talk

Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles" (filmed March 2011)

I hope you will agree that Pariser's TED Talk ties in with this week's topic: TOPIC 5: MEDIA AND NEWS LITERACY 
"Pioneering online organizer Eli Pariser is the author of "The Filter Bubble," talks about how personalized search might be narrowing our worldview. 
Abstract: As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy."
Pariser reminds us that we are seeing a Web based upon 'invisible algorithmic editing' of relevance. Yes, the algorithms are created by humans but the resultant 'personalization' leads to what Pariser calls "filter bubbles". And he calls for a return to the 'civic responsibility' displayed by the human gatekeepers of our past (the role that newspapers and other media provided us). "...We need the new gatekeepers to encode that kind of responsibility into the code that they're writing."

"So if algorithms are going to curate the world for us, if they're going to decide what we get to see and what we don't get to see, then we need to make sure that they're not just keyed to relevance. We need to make sure that they also show us things that are uncomfortable or challenging or important -- this is what TED does -- other points of view."

Points worth considering as we reframe our own information literacy.

The Whole Student: Cognition, Emotion, and Information Literacy - a C&RL preprint of interest

This article, "The Whole Student: Cognition, Emotion, and Information Literacy" by Miriam L. Matteson (Kent State), was accepted for publication in September [but won't actually be published by College and Research Libraries until January, 2015]. Luckily, those of us who are working on a Metaliteracy action agenda can read the preprint.

Information literacy skill acquisition is a form of learning that is influenced by cognitive, emotional, and social processes. This research studied how two emotional constructs (emotional intelligence and dispositional affect) and two cognitive constructs (motivation and coping skills) interacted with students’ information literacy scores. Two studies were carried out with a group of undergraduate students. Correlation and regression analyses revealed that emotional intelligence and motivation significantly predicted students’ information literacy scores. Instruction librarians may consider incorporating greater awareness of the emotional and cognitive aspects of IL skill acquisition in their instructional content and delivery.

Wouldn't you agree that this research is directly related to our agenda?

Friday, October 18, 2013

On the Need for "Due Diligence" in 21st Century Critical Literacy Skills

A post from Catherine Lombardozzi, one of the thought leaders I follow as part of my PLN RSS feed, popped for me and I just had to share it with other members of the MetaliteracyMOOC and readers of my blog.

The blog post, Perils of popular science (October 17, 2013) raises questions about the increased need for 'due diligence' in 21st century research and scholarship.

Since my response to her post is awaiting moderation, I'll share it with you here:

Catherine, this is a great example of why those of us in the library profession make such a big deal about the concept of “information literacy” or ‘Metaliteracy,’ as some are suggesting we call it in the 21st century. With the advent of OERs – with the plethora of curation tools and the ‘noise’ they can generate – with self-publication AND self-promotion being so readily available and accessible, critical literacy becomes increasingly important. Caveat emptor!

Are your ideas about critical evaluation changed or sparked by Lombardozzi's blog post?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Metaliteracy: “Liquidity” and “Fluidity” and the Game of Lifelong Learning

These are the thought-leaders I chose from among the works Prinsloo offered in his presentation

In Prinsloo’s Beta (β), critical literacy (as Freire observed) involves reading both the world and the word in a nonlinear fashion:

Reading is no longer a passive linear act in which we follow the author's lead from page to page, from idea to idea, from topic to topic. The nature of authority is that it dictates the direction of a text. In even the most basic hypertext document, the reader begins to have more control than with the printed book. The reader can make choices about which direction to go, paths to follow, and which to ignore or put off until later. In some hypertexts the reader is encouraged to contribute, to add nodes or comments to the existing text, or even to alter it. In this format, traditional definitions of the author are no longer valid, but must give way to a postmodern sense that text is created in both the writing and the reading. Even more, the acts of reading and writing become intellectually and physically intertwined. (Wahlstrom) [Note: bolding is mine.]

And, to return to Bourdieu’s playing field analogy discussed in my previous post, “The habitus is therefore a generative rather than a fixed system: a basis from which endless improvisations can derive; a 'practical mastery' of skills, routines, aptitudes and assumptions which leave the individual free to make (albeit limited) choices in the encounter with new environments or fields. As in a sport or jazz, in Bourdieu's favoured analogies, mastery of the rules or an instrument gives a 'feel for the game' which enables individuals to improvise in response to the circumstances of the moment.”[i] (Behler) [Note: underlining is mine.][ii]

I couldn’t find any Synonyms for the concept of Nonlinearity
Against this background, Prinsloo tries to make sense of the 21st century: “Our understanding of the scope and function of literacies is influenced by our understanding of the major discourses of the current (and future) age.” (slide 11) He then gives us James Martin’s view of the 21st century as potentially “The New Dark Age” and asks: “How does such a view of the world shape my view of the scope, definition and function of literacy?” (slide 12)

The Liquidity of Discourse: The Relativity of Truth and its Effect/Impact upon the Game

“What players can do, and where they can go during the game, depends on their field position. The actual physical condition of the field (whether it is wet, dry, well grassed or full of potholes), also has an effect on what players can do and this how the game is played” (Thompson, 2012, p. 66). (slide 18)

Pablo Picasso Girl Before a Mirror 1932 Oil on canvas

Relativity, a lithograph print by the Dutch artist M. C. Escher, first printed in December 1953
Being of a philosophical bent, I asked Paul to what extent one’s ‘location’ affected one’s perspective or perception – in other words, whether the Thompson quote alluded to “the relativity of truth”.[iii] In responding, Prinsloo admitted that there ARE some universal truths (like the Laws of Physics, which we can’t argue since they hold true from any perspective we might view them).

To further ‘muddy the field’ [and I know this is a terrible pun], Prinsloo introduced us to Bauman’s concept of liquid modernity.[iv] This was used by Area and Pessoa as the foundation for “a model for developing new literacies of citizenship in the digital society…. we contrast the 'solid' culture of the 19th and 20th centuries to the ‘liquid’ information culture of the 21st century in which Web 2.0 plays a fundamental role and affects many aspects of our culture.” (p.13)

Area and Pessoa review the main features of Web 2.0, which they see as having six major dimensions: as a universal library, global market, as a giant hypertext jigsaw puzzle, a public space for social communities, a territory for multimedia and audiovisual expression, and as a space for multiple virtual interactive environments. [include web 2.0 dimensions pic here] I love the way the authors refer to the overabundance of the universal library of the Web as “infoxication”![v]

Prinsloo attempts to align the competencies these dimensions require with those proposed by Mackey and Jacobson
and expands their Metaliteracy Wheel to include the competencies required in a Metaliterate environment.
My takeaway from Prinsloo’s presentation: Knowledge is no longer a ‘production line’, where each individual expands upon (or refines) the original concept; knowledge in the 21st century is developing into a canvas where ideas can be taken and transformed (by the cultural, philosophical, intellectual, and creative perspectives of the player [be s/he reader, listener, participant or ‘player’) into an array of thoughts, shared by the individual with whomever cares to ‘taste’ them and re-use, revise, or re-invent them into new artifacts that can, in turn, be sampled by others and re-used, revised, or re-invented in a vast array of formats and etc. 

So Lifelong Learning is a “Make (rather than Choose) Your Own Adventure”! And I, for one, am enjoying the adventure immensely!
You never can tell where your metaliterate adventure might lead!


Bauman, Zygmunt. "Education in Liquid Modernity." Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies 27.4 (2005): 303-317. Education Source. Web. 9 Oct. 2013.

Behler, Constantin. "Habitus." CB's Glossary for Students. N.p., 27 Oct. 2001. Web. 11 Oct. 2013. <>

Freire, Paulo and Donaldo Macedo. 1987. Literacy: Reading the Word and the World. South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey

"Linear." Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Philip Lief Group 2009. Web. 15 Oct. 2013. <>.

Martin, James. The Meaning of The 21st Century: A Vital Blueprint for Ensuring Our Future. London, UK: Transworld Publishers, 2007. Print

Prinsloo, Paul. "Metaliteracy in beta: A Personal View from the South." SlideShare. 23 p., 7 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Oct. 2013. <>.

Thompson, Pat. "Field." Pierre Bourdieu: Key Concepts. Ed. Michael Grenfell. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing, 2012. 65-82. Print.

Wahlstrom, Ralph. "Approaching The Paideia: an Advanced Composition Model - The Triad; The Paideia." N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2013. <>.

[i] This leads me to wonder: At what point does our improvisation actually create a new game and/or playing field?

[ii] Our chat discussion looked at ideas of:
·         empowerment (or embodiment or encouragement),
·         the ability of Web 2.0 to give a voice to those who might NOT otherwise have a platform to express their ideas or opinions,
·         the lack of Internet access that still exists in places around the globe that keeps some people from being able to participate
·         the neutrality of the platform/hardware (but maybe not of the hosts) of the Web as a platform

[iii] Nazik Roufaiel commented: “I am not sure about reading the world! From which perspective, culture, economic, social, technology and infrastructure... Also how do we interpret what we read, do we do it from OUR perspective, or the writer’s perspective, or background?” I noted “It is philosophical and ties in with content creation by individual users and the evaluation of same by the 'reader'/'viewer' as well as the manipulation by re-posting”; to which Joyce McKnight responded “Key is to keep in mind that nothing is ever neutral.” Tor Loney added “Understanding what we are NOT seeing is also a key part of critical consciousness - both in the sense of knowing one's own personal blocks and also actual existing blocks or absences.” And David Brown summarized “I think understanding that everything is biased really brings ultimate understanding.”

[iv] Bauman discusses the impact of liquid modernity:..” society is being transformed by the passage from the ‘solid’ to the ‘liquid’ phases of modernity, in which all social forms melt faster than the new ones can be cast. They are not given enough time to solidify and cannot serve as the frame of reference for human actions and long-term life-strategies because their allegedly short life expectation undermines efforts to develop a strategy that would require the consistent fulfillment of a ‘life-project.’” (p.303)

[v] Since I am an avowed “informavore” (AKA ‘consumer of information’), do I, therefore, run the risk of becoming “infoxicated”? Maybe I already AM too ‘infoxicated’ to recognize the signs!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Metaliteracy: Learning How to Play the Field

I hope the other participants in Dr. Paul Prinsloo’s Metaliteracy MOOC talk: “Metaliteracy in Beta” (7 October) came away as excited by his webinar’s insights/perspectives as I was.[i] The title of Prinsloo’s presentation is significant - I agree with his use of the concept Beta (β), a term implying prototype rather than final product. Many computer programs are released in beta and are modified based upon user experiences. So, too, with Metaliteracy, which is continuously evolving as technologies are introduced/modified and as user skills develop or as her information needs/environments change.

Life in Perpetual Beta[ii]

Discourse: Playing the game[iii]

According to Prinsloo, Metaliteracy deals with discourses not just static information. The discourses take place on a field “with different players, and different agendas, rules, power-relations, inclusion and exclusion… In order to be literate/ a player in the 21st century I need to understand the field, the game, and my position, and my skills… How does the field in which I find myself in, shape me? What/who shapes the field? Who are the (other) players in the field: Who are they? How come they are shapers? What are the rules? Who are the referees?”

On the playing field:

  • Players have set/ predetermined positions
  • Rules are predetermined
  • Players have different skills
  • What players can do is determined by their position on the field
  • The physical condition of the field impacts play
Although the image I’d have chosen doesn’t delineate the size of the field, it DOES show the initial placement of the members of both teams. And a most important person on the field: the referee!

[During the webinar, several of the participants engaged in a chat on the playing field metaphor and other aspects of the game that this metaphor brought to our minds.][iv]

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Did you miss me?...I’ve been MOOCing…and more

David Hopkins

In conjunction with trying to actively participate in this Metaliteracy MOOC, I joined the Leadership forReal MOOC, two weeks into its start. This joint experience has provided additional insights into the skills required of a Metaliterate individual. [Or should I say Metaliterate learner, since, if we are not learning, we are not living?]

I’m a great ‘juggler’ (or multitasker) – it was one of the requirements of my various librarian positions. However, a successful ‘juggling’ act requires time management (or project management) skills. [And I must admit that I’m not the world’s greatest time manager! I compensate by starting early in the morning, by staying at work until I complete the task, or by taking work home with me and doing it on my own personal time, thus putting off some of the things I should have been doing in terms of personal responsibilities. “Do as I say, NOT as I do.”]

Among the week’s activities were webinars for both MOOCs on Wednesday (10-2), a webinar on Social Networking, and one on Instructional Design on Thursday (10-3) [these are personal research interests]; numerous discussion posts to read (and possibly respond to); and a host of RSS feeds and aggregator emails to investigate [from sites I’m monitoring/following as part of my PKN].

EVERNOTE: Bookmarking? Downloading/Saving? Finding it Again!

I’ve just started using Evernote and have 15 folders and 193 notes created since downloading this tool to my laptop on 19 September! I’m overawed by the plethora of tools that the 21st century offers us. But I definitely recommend Evernote if you’re looking for a way to save and tag emails, webpages, and even ‘to do’ lists in one consolidated format. Rather than bookmarking, this tool allows me to include an image prompt (taken from the image on the blog page or website) in addition to ‘tagging’ items. Since I’m an ‘informavore’ (consumer of information), you should not take this recommendation lightly!


It’s all about ‘Professional Development’. [And for those of you who are still in school, it’s never too early to initiate your PD plan. I found a great set of goals on a blog post by CatherineLombardozzi (a ‎Learning and Development Consultant and founder of Learning 4 Learning Professionals). I’m trying to follow her recommendations:

  • Declare your intentions. [Identify what you want to learn.]
  • Follow the leaders. [Identify them then look for their blogs, tweets, online presentations, journal articles, and conference appearances.]
  • Make friends. [Classmates, colleagues, mentors, or role models can help accelerate your learning.]
  • Read. [Books, if you can afford to buy them or have the time to find them in your library, professional journals, blogs, or articles that ‘pop’ from your RSS feeds or aggregators.]
  • Write it down. [Blog your insights... “capture electronic articles and your comments on them on a bookmarking site…” For some ideas, look at Steve Wheeler’s “Blogging asConversation”.
  • Take a vacation. [I’ll be going to Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving and to Israel at the end of the year.]


Lombardozzi, Catherine. "13 Resolutions for Professional Development in 2013." Learning Journal: The Learning 4 Learning Professionals Blog. N.p., 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 6 Oct. 2013. <>.

Wheeler, Steve. "Blogging as conversation." Learning with 'e's. N.p., 14 Sept. 2013. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <>.