The Scottish Information Literacy Project’s third Open meeting took place on Wednesday 16th September 2009 at Glasgow Caledonian University and about 45 people attended. It was a genuinely cross sectoral event with people attending from all library sectors, educational agencies, government organisations including the Scottish Government and academia. Inevitably a few people dropped out at the last moment through illness or other commitments. Unfortunately this included our keynote speaker, Professor David Smith, who had to pull out through illness.
The theme of the day was information literacy as part of the wider skills agenda as one of the Project’s successes has been locating information literacy (IL) within this agenda. I began the day by giving an overview and update of the Project including some of the initial findings of the evaluation which we have done of the excellent employability skills courses which Inverclyde Libraries run. This drew attention to health as an employability issue and the difficulty in disentangling personal from vocational motivations. This provoked a lively audience discussion during which it emerged that people from different library and educational sectors had shared concerns. Next Jenny Foreman, the Scottish Government’s Information Literacy Librarian spoke about the Scottish Government’s Information Literacy Strategy. This was very much a policy level presentation explaining the need for a strategy and the issues likely to be encountered in developing it. Jenny also described how the policy is turned into practical training. Her colleague, Lesley Thomson, Knowledge Management Officer at the Scottish Centre for Regeneration then described the Information Literacy Community of Practice which she and Jenny are launching and will host and lead. She explained the principles behind a community of practice and how the website will operate. All are welcome to join and contribute. For further details contact either Lesley.Thomson2@scotland.gsi.gov.uk or Jenny.Foreman@scotland.gsi.gov.uk who will gladly sign you up.
After lunch Christine Irving, the Project Officer on the Scottish Information Literacy Project, spoke about the restructuring of the Scottish Information Literacy Framework which is being restructured to make it a genuine lifelong learning document incorporating early years, the workplace, employability and lifelong learning. It is being physically restructured as a weblog so that postings of current activities and developments can be added. It is also interactive and comments and postings can be made. It includes exemplars of good practice from all educational sectors. There is, as yet, less on the workplace and lifelong learning but the work we are doing on the workplace and employability is helping to enrich it. It can be found at http://www.caledonianblogs.net/nilfs/ and through the project website http://www.gcal.ac.uk/ils/framework.html .
Next Lou McGill, an elearning and Information Management Consultant reported on a JISC funded study Learning Literacies for the Digital Age (LLiDA) – http://prezi.com/vv_ynswlwwkv/ see also Project website http://www.academy.gcal.ac.uk/llida/ . LLiDA is a study of academic, ICT and information literacies across a range of HE institutions including Glasgow Caledonian and takes the form of institutional audits with overall analyses and best practice exemplars drawn from participating institutions. She found that IL people were further ahead in their thinking than other learning literacies areas. Flexible education will be needed as it is impossible to predict future employer needs. She feels that there are still to many ‘silos’ in HE each with its own language. Academic teaching is slow to change and there is resistance to a holistic agenda.
The last speaker was Ian McCracken, Learning Resources Manager at Govan High School – Connections between Information Skills and wider skills: the Future Skills Project where he and his colleagues have developed a Future Skills System of 71 skills which pupils can acquire which includes IL. The Future Skills System is matched to Standard Grades, local and national business requirements, curricular and extra curricular work and the Curriculum for Excellence. Ian also mentioned the problem of a common language as Lou had. The Framework has been in existence long enough for Ian to be able to identify the most used skills throughout Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes as ‘Analytical Skills’, ‘ICT E-Lit’ and ‘Gathering facts’ which have pretty obvious IL implications.
All in all it was a most useful day and a great deal of information was exchanged in informal discussions as well as the formal sessions. Similar issues were identified across a range of sectors and practical difficulties round employability and linking vocational skill training and personal development were reviewed. The PPTs and accompanying documents will appear shortly on Slideshare as we are running out of space on allocated space with the university and will be linked to the project web event page http://www.caledonian.ac.uk/ils/events.html. All the presentations were excellent and represent a great deal of work by those who gave them and I would like to thank all who contributed.