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Practical Metaliteracy Tips: Part 2

by Ben DeBiasio on 2024-04-15T10:56:06-05:00 in Library and Information Science | 0 Comments

This is part 2 of a series on Practical Metaliteracy Tips for Library Instruction Programs. Please see my previous post where I introduced the metaliteracy model and began discussing practical ways that instruction programs can begin incorporating the principles of metaliteracy into their programs.


Metaliteracy and Source Evaluation

Evaluating online information is an essential skill for anyone who uses a cell phone to interact with the world. Librarians - and teachers of all ages - assume that because the majority of college students are digital natives, they have the skills and dispositions to be savvy internet users. As Kirschner and De Bruyckere (2017) remind us, teachers must "avoid the pitfall of assuming that their students possess talents and abilities that they do not actually have" (p.137).  Add to this assumption the fact that many library instruction programs rely on dated information evaluation techniques and frameworks (Ziv & Bene, 2022). This has created a situation where students are given analog tools for a digital world. Caulfield and Wineburg (2023, p.8) note that "print-based conceptions of critical thinking don't cut it. Skillfully navigating the internet requires conceptions of critical thinking tailored to a digital environment." The key here is metacognition and the context of the self.

Metacognition is an essential part of what separates metaliteracy from information literacy or technology literacy. "While metacognitive reflection is included in the ACRL Framework, it is not as pronounced or integral to that model as it is in metaliteracy" (Mackey & Jacobson, 2022, p. 36). A more nuanced understanding of the information environment requires students to not only consider their thoughts and feelings as they interact with information but also see themselves as active producers of knowledge. Caulfield & Wineburg (2023) emphasize this in their S.I.F.T. Model for online verification - they acknowledge this metacognitive self-awareness to be an essential first step in evaluating online information (p.12). This brings us to our Practical Metaliteracy Tip for Library Instruction Programs....


Super Practical Metaliteracy Tip you can start using tomorrow:

Encourage students to consider the three contexts of online information: the context of self, the context of the source, and the context of the claim. As students are required to think about the limits of their own expertise, as well as acknowledge their own emotional/physiological reactions to new/unknow information, they will begin developing metacognitive skills that are essential for navigating the digital world. Mackey (2022) reiterates that this "self-directed approach to the synthesis, evaluation and assessment of learning is integral to the metaliteracy model," and an essential component of creating metaliterate learners and citizens. Giving students time to reflect on their own reactions/feelings to sources, while also teaching them to note these reactions is an important part of modern source evaluation can be very useful. Students need to understand that they are an integral part of the information environment - and need to be able to think metacognitively about the research/evaluation process.


Works Cited: 

Caulfield, M., & Wineburg, S. S. (2023). Verified: How to think straight, get duped less, and make better decisions about what to believe online. The University of Chicago Press.

Kirschner, P. A., & De Bruyckere, P. (2017). The myths of the digital native and the multitasker. Teaching and Teacher Education, 67, 135–142.

Mackey, T. P. (2022). Metaliteracy in a connected world: Developing learners as producers. ALA Neal-Schuman.

SIFT (The Four Moves). (2019, June 19). Hapgood.

Ziv, N., & Bene, E. (2022). Preparing College Students for a Digital Age: A Survey of Instructional Approaches to Spotting Misinformation | Ziv | College & Research Libraries.


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