Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Footprint of Instructional Design

An instructional designer is like a footprint in the snow because:

they are effective communicators - leaving an impression

they are expert designers - leaving a boot tread design and pattern in the snow

they are excellent researchers and evaluators - knowing how to judge and navigate the various kinds of snow and whether the wind quickly erodes the impression

they are leaders and innovators - leaving the first impression and setting the path for others to follow

they are excellent collaborators - walking in unison with two feet

Highlighted instructional design competencies (Roberts et. al., 2001)
Competency #1 - "Communicate effectively in visual, oral and written form"

Instructional designers are effective communicators who are able to create messages that apply to a learner's background and knowledge gap content using engaging materials

Competency #2 - "Develop instructional materials"

Instructional designers are able to create subject matter using various technologies to meet learners needed in well designed formats

Competency #3 - "Conducts a needs assessment" and "evaluates and assesses instruction and its impact"

Instructional designers should be able to determine when an instructional intervention is needed and how to evaluate its effectiveness

Competency #4 - "Plan and manage instructional design projects"

Instructional designers must be good managers and leaders spearheading the learning process

Competency #5 - "Promote collaboration, partnership and relationships among the participants in a design project"

Instructional designers should be able to seamlessly collaborate between the content expert and their client

Richey, R.C., Fields, D.C., Foxon, M. (2001). Instructional Design Competencies: The Standards (3rd edition). ERIC Clearinghouse (ED document #453803).
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Discourse of Critique" harbored in information literacy

This week I would like to focus attention on how the information literacy standards help learners be more critically engaged in their interpretation of information. The standard from ACRL states how information literate student should be able to "Evaluate information and its sources critically", which amount to recognizing bias of information and being able to critique the source.

This information literacy standard reflects on my personal view of education within the notion of critical pedagogy. Briefly stated, critical pedagogy is a constructivist learning perspective that engages learners through an education of critical discourse on politics and ethics through analysis of culture, power, and knowledge (Giroux, 2006).

Within Giroux's definition of the critical pedagogy framework is the notion of education as a 'discourse of critique', which involves a "pluaralizing notion of literacy" to harness the new digital technology tools (p. 4).

Giroux, H. (2006). America on the Edge: Henry Giroux on Politics, Culture, and Education. Palgrave: New York.

Information literacy promotes this notion of critique not only through the outcome of being able to detect information bias, but also how to produce media as a critical voice to the various information ideologies learners are bombarded with. Giroux writes about the 'second media age' which combines notions of power, technology and human relations in new ways allowing for learners to contextualize and reconfigure media into a self created identity as social exchange.

As lofty as this might sound, consider how digital natives learn to use technologies to create and share their perspectives and identities within social networking platforms, or even easy to use self publishing websites such as to create and share their identity reflections.

My issue with identity creation, and a point that critical education theorist like Giroux stipulate is that even through digital natives have access and capability to manipulate media for their needs, how well are they able to critically critique the cultural influences on their life?

More specifically,
Is a hiphop music fan just embracing the culture with its negative connotations, or critiquing the commercialization of violence some hiphop images portray?

A postive response comes from how some people used Facebook during the recent Presidental election. It seems that plenty of these digital natives advocated their political views, thus demonstrating their heterogeneous and perhaps critical perspectives through a discourse of critique.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My posting this week is a little late. The end of the semester is fast approaching, meaning other projects are taking up more of my time. I still have not abandoed my blogging duties, only put them off.

One of the information literacy standards involves consideration of ethical use of proprietary software. As fun as it might be to download mp3s and software, according to the law it is illegal. I think that if I developed something or wrote a song and someone took it from my without compensation or even credit, I would be a little upset.
Does the digital native designation consider ethical issues? To put it another way, do young people still buy CDs or just download music from somewhere? Do they even consider it a crime?

Here is a slideshow titled "The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education" which discusses this issue.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Information Literacy Assessment Strategies

The ACRL 6 information literacy standards mentioned in the previous posting are meant to be instructional design guidelines. Each standard has several performance indicators and outcomes.

Here is a summary of the first standard:

An information literacy learner can determine the type and depth of information needed

Performance indicator


1. Learner knows their need for information

a) Communicates with classmates to identify research information need

b) Creates a thesis statement and questions based on information need

c) Becomes familiar with topic through general information sources

d) Modifies information need into manageable content

e) Identifies key search words

f) Synthesizes existing information to produce new information

2. Learner can identify various information types and formats as sources

a) Knows the formal and informal types of information organization

b) Knows the disciplines of information organization

c) Knows the value and differences of various media formats

d) Distinguishes audience of resources (popular vs. scholarly)

e) Knows the difference between primary and secondary sources

f) Realizes the need to at times construct information from raw data

3. Leaner knows cost and benefits of finding information

a) Can broaden search beyond local sources (e.g., interlibrary loan)

b) Considers the realistic time involved in finding information

4. Learner can reevaluate the nature and extent of information

a) Revises and refines initial information need

b) Articulates how information gathering decisions were made

One of the questions in researching about information literacy that I have had involves determining how to best assess these standards within instruction. In practice, the group project that I am involved in with the IDE 611 class is using information literacy standards to help guide our instructional design. However, a challenge we are facing is how to assess that a learner is indeed, for instance, ‘identifying key search words’. Through this process I am hoping to look at assessment as a way to best design instruction.

Perhaps a checklist such as this one could help with the process:

Communicates with classmates to identify research information need

Does the learner share with classmates and teacher the challenges faced in finding what information is needed?

Creates a thesis statement and questions based on information need

Does the learner’s information need influence research thesis and questions?

Becomes familiar with topic through general information sources

Is the learner exploring general information sources?

(e.g., wiki, blog, newspapers)

Modifies information need into manageable content

Is the learner modifying search topics into manageable forms?

(e.g., narrowing down search terms and using Boolean operators)

Identifies key search words

Is the learner using appropriate keyword searches?

By using the standards as guidelines, an instructional designer can create ideal learning situations and assess them in a meaningful way. Perhaps then, its not so much a matter of determining who is better at using the technology (digital natives or digital immigrants) but HOW they use the technology.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This week I would like to highlight a couple of videos someone forwarded to me, which relates to the DI/DN debate and its impact on defining why digital literacy is so important.

Michael Wesch, an anthropology professor at Kansas State University made these videos to communicate to educators how things have changed and are changing in the way we access, organize and use information. My interest in developing this awareness, is to argue that no matter if a person considers themselves DI, DN, or somewhere inbetween, the distinction is a mute point within the need for digital literacy. After watching these videos, consider the context of the Information Literacy Standards (digital literacy) listed below.

Information Literacy Standards (2000) from the American Library Association
"An information literate individual is able to:
  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally"
Now our job is to figure out ways to design instruction that engages learners in these standards.