Information Literacy as a Pedagogy of Multiliteracies

ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards are finally in the process of being updated to reflect today’s information environment. You can read the recommendations here.

I think the most significant change is in the recognition of information literacy as a set of multiple literacies. This means that information literacy will need to redefined (and it was ill-defined to begin with). It also means that the pedagogy of information literacy will have to change. It will become a pedagogy of multiliteracies.

The good news is that a pedagogy of multiliteracies already exists. In fact, it’s been around for a long time. The New London Group first presented their ideas about a pedagogy for the new literacies back in 1996.

The multiliteracies framework is a bit broader than the metaliteracy framework that Mackey and Jacobson proposed (which is very specific to information literacy). The pedagogy of multiliteracies is cross-curricular and encompasses the literacies needed for all types of texts (e.g. print, digital, live). It also looks at literacy through a social, cultural, historical and institutional lens.

Luke and Freebody’s Four Resource Model is central to the multiliteracies pedagogy and serves as a great model for the multiple literacies of information literacy. The four resources are as follows: (taken directly from the New London Group site)

1. Break the code of texts

Recognizing and using features such as alphabet, sounds, spelling, conventions and patterns of the text.

2. Participate in the meanings of text

Understanding and composing meaningful written, visual and spoken texts from within particular cultures, institutions, families, communities, nation-states etc. Drawing on existing schemas.

3. Use texts functionally

Knowing about and acting on the different cultural and social functions that various texts perform both inside and outside of school. Knowing that these function shapes the ways texts are constructed, their tone, their degree of formality and their sequence of components. Using texts for purpose.

4. Critically analyze and transform texts

Understanding and acting on the knowledge that texts are not neutral. Texts represent particular views, silence others, influence people’s ideas. Text designs & discourses can be critiqued and redesigned in novel and hybrid ways.

For a practical understanding of how the Four Resource Model applies to information literacy, read Angela Maiers’ take on it as a tool for 21st century learning.

 

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