EMPATIC report: IL and virtual mobility

In this post on the EMPATIC project seminar on Information Literacy (IL) in the Schools Sector, held in Krakow, Poland I will summarise some points from about virtual mobility, and examining IL and information behaviour in people having a virtual mobility experience.
Monika Krakowska’s (Jagiellonian University, Poland) talk was entitled Information Literacy development in the international environment of virtual mobility. She started by outlining her ideas on IL. Krakowska had started with the model in The ANZIIL framework (where IL is within independent learning and, more broadly, within lifelong learning). She had added to this model by placing it within a wider framework that included the influence of social, political, individual, environmental etc. issues as well as the impact of scientific and technical developments.
Krakowska went on to discuss Virtual Mobility. This starts with the concept of “mobility” which is important in the European Union context (where encouraging physical mobility, to experience different cultures, is the goal of a number of prgammes). Virtual Mobility is supposed to have some of the impact of physical mobility (in exposing people to different cultures, societies, languages and so forth) but with the use of technology. Virtual Mobility can be implemented in school sectors as well as higher education, and in the educational context it can be “a kind of academic pilgrimage”.
Krakowska has been involved in a virtual mobility initiative, TeaCamp (http://www.teacamp.eu/), with partner Higher Education institutions from Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, and Finland, as well as her own university in Poland. There were 14 teachers and 29 students who were studying education or who aimed to work in school libraries (though only 13 students completed the programme). It included modules on learning strategies, cultural models, IL, electronic assessment strategies and others to do with teaching. Krakowska encountered new types of student and student expectation, but the students did not necessarily have good IL skills. She has carried out a case study of this programme, using observation. There was formal communication (including video conferencing and email), and informal communication (including Facebook, Skype and many other channels).
Conclusions included that the students had little awareness of IL except associated with library matters, and did not display many IL skills. They tended to fall back on a few resources, already known to them, and not be so keen on exploring a lot of new ones. This highlights the need for teachers to present new resources. “VLHE module has developed different IL skills (media, digital, library literacy, cultural awareness etc.) that were important for raising IL awareness of teachers, scholars, pedagogy students and LIS students”
Photo by Sheila Webber: Krakow square, June 2011
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