Projects Underway

Engaging Students in Information Literacy and Digital Literacy through Emerging Technologies

Jessica Clemons

Project Team
  • Stephen P. Weiter, SUNY ESF

Environmental Science and Forestry, College of

2012

Tier One

Project Abstract:

SUNY-ESF has had a credit-bearing information literacy class (ESF 200) since the late 1970’s. This is a required course for several majors and it has been expanded into a graduate level course (ESF 797). ESF is taught by all the librarians who work in F. Franklin Moon Library. Many of the weekly units are closely related to the traditional ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. The class lacks the resources needed to include 21st century digital literacies. Digital literacies are the tools, knowledge, critical thinking and social engagement that are needed to be active members of the scholarly community. We must not assume that our students are competent digital natives.

Campus wide there is a lack of resources for support and limited opportunities for students to engage in scholarly uses of emerging technologies. The program that we are proposing has three main goals. First, we want students to be introduced to emerging technologies. In our project, we focus on mobile technology, innovative software, and could-based technologies. We want to foster confidence in our library users so they may confidently interact with librarians, collections, and library spaces. Finally, we expect that students will be actively engaged with the library and its many services. We hope to be seen as a dynamic, active environment where resources are found to support their academic goals.

Meeting the needs of SUNY

This project ties into the following Power of SUNY Goals:
• SUNY & the Entrepreneurial Century, by teaching new information technologies
• SUNY & the World, by connecting students to a global technology infrastructure
• SUNY Learning Commons, by increasing transliteracy skills across numerous disciplines

The project moves the ESF Moon Library in the direction of the SUNY Libraries Strategic Plan (211-14 ) “One Vision” and Shared Expertise Goals. In particular, we think this project fulfills several SUNY goals, including:
• SUNY libraries will develop and promote SUNYConnect in order to expand access to resources.
• SUNY libraries will develop and nurture inspirational leaders who create an entrepreneurial and versatile workforce that identifies and responds to emerging trends in the knowledge economy.
• SUNY libraries will take a leadership role in ensuring that all students are information literate.
• SUNY libraries will leverage their talents to lead and share innovations in support of teaching and learning and to foster economic development and lifelong learning.
• SUNY libraries will support the expanding roles of librarians.

The project is envisioned as an interactive and creative group activity for students in our information literacy, ESF 200 class. Currently there is a paper-based question sheet with prompts like, “Where is the Quiet Study Room located?” Students are not highly engaged or invested in this basic question and answer set. In lieu of this requirement, we will break the class of around 24 students into groups of two or three students and have them explore the physical library. Using the iPod touch screens they will take photos of the spaces and the people in the library. There are many services in the library, including the writing center and the academic success center. Students will explore them in their own time near the beginning of the course. In addition to this free exploration of the library we will have some guiding questions for students who need some assistance. These guidelines may include some criteria such as talking to a certain person (librarian at the reference desk) or finding a particular spot on the library.

How the Technology will be Used to Enhance Digital Literacies?

The project is envisioned as an interactive and creative group activity for students in our information literacy, ESF 200 class. Currently there is a paper-based question sheet with prompts like, “Where is the Quiet Study Room located?” Students are not highly engaged or invested in this basic question and answer set. In lieu of this requirement, we will break the class of around 24 students into groups of two or three students and have them explore the physical library. Using the iPod touch screens they will take photos of the spaces and the people in the library. There are many services in the library, including the writing center and the academic success center. Students will explore them in their own time near the beginning of the course. In addition to this free exploration of the library we will have some guiding questions for students who need some assistance. These guidelines may include some criteria such as talking to a certain person (librarian at the reference desk) or finding a particular spot on the library.

Once the students have gathered the information they need they will use digital storytelling tools, such as vimeo, animoto, or other freely available software to tell a story about their experience in the library. Students will present these short digital stories (probably 3-5 minutes) to their classmates. The class will vote for the best videos. The winning video will be slightly edited with professional software, like iMovie or GarageBand, by students using software on a Mac laptop. The laptop will be also be necessary to sync and maintain the iPods. The winner’s videos will be uploaded to a SUNY Digital Repositories collection to be shared for as long as the video is relevant.

How will the Technology be Used to Enhance Information Literacies?

The second phase of the iPod digital technologies project will be a competitive scavenger hunt. Using cloud-based applications like Evernote and Dropbox, students will use the wireless in the library to complete a set of tasks, such as locating a print journal article, a book from the circulating collection, and finding a fulltext citation online. Librarians will use iPads to support the students during this activity. The librarian will have the apps running on the iPad to monitor the students during this activity. The larger iPad screens are needed to accurately view all of the different input from the groups. The iPads may also be available to students who have difficulties/disabilities with using the small touch screen interface.

How will the Technology be Used to Enhance Transliteracies?

These are just two examples of how the use of iPads will help students develop proficiencies with emerging technologies. We believe the emerging technologies will serve as gateway to other collaborations. The use of iPods/iPads for information literacy classes should serve as a gateway to more one-shot library sessions for discipline-specific classes. We imagine that the iPods will be lent out so students can create digital projects or presentations for their other classes. Incoming faculty are eager to explore new opportunities with emerging technologies and we anticipate that there will be a demand to use this equipment.

Project Outcome:

All resourcesshared for how the "wayfinding" experience was set up and measured.