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.

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