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Monday, October 29, 2012

Cognitive Load Theory: Been There, Seen That... Or Have I?

This week I'm digging through a lot of paperwork on Research Guides for my Advanced Reference class and came across one article by Jennifer J. Little, Cognitive Load Theory and Library Research Guides (2010). In this paper, she quotes Lazonder and Rouet " has been recognized that  studying electronic documents can cause feelings of disorientation and cognitive overload" (2008, p. 757).

Is THIS why as a grad student immersed in a completely online program, I can read through 6-8 articles a day--take copious notes and still not remember exactly where I'd read what I read next week? Between my Kindle, my Kindle Fire, my desktop, laptop, cell phone reading materials on Google Drive, D2L, Gmail, Facebook, chat rooms, discussion boards, websites, etc. I am in a constant state of some sort of intellectual... fog.
Image retrieved from:
 Little writes, "cognitive load theory seeks to reduce or manage the working memory load or cognitive load, in order to assist learners in developing meaningful learning experiences". In terms of creating research guides, cognitive load studies help librarians create pedagogically sound research guides. In terms of my academic career... there's actually a term for what I'm suffering!

Cognitive load theory seems based on the idea that cognitive capacity for learning is limited and that learners are often "overwhelmed by the number of information elements and their interactions that need to be processed" (Paas, Renkle, and Sweller, 2004:1)

---TO BE EXPLORED FURTHER LATER: Currently IN one of these cognitive FOGS---

Lazonder, A.W., & Rouet, J.F. (2008). Information problem solving instruction: Some cognitive and metacognitive issues. Computers in Human Behavior. 24. 753-765.

Paas, F., Renkle, A., & Sweller, J. (2004). Cognitive load theory: Instructional implications of the interaction between information structures and cognitive architecture. Instructional Science, 32. 1-8.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Information Literacy: An AMBIGUOUS term for an equally ambiguous group!!

Terms, terms, terms!!! I think I've hit a brick wall.

The more research I do on the topic of information literacy, the more I'm finding out that different people interpret it differently. The most common idea I've discovered is that most people in the Academic Library world view information literacy (IL) as an umbrella term that includes other sorts of literacies: digital literacy, media literacy, critical literacy, etc.

The graphic below seems to match the understanding I'm coming to agree with:

Graphic from
I've got over 12 books on my desk spanning from everything to the Net Geners to Wikinomics to learning pedagogies to video games and learning, I've gone through 2 reams of paper and a brand new laser toner cartridge ($$$)... and I got so far into the forest, I couldn't even see the trees... or vice versa. See? Look at what I'm doing to myself.

Add on top of that, there's a few different terms for the new tech-generation I'm looking at. One person says they're individuals born after 1993--another says they're those who were between the age of 2 and 22 in 2002! Apparently Generation ME, isn't considered the same as Generation MYSpace, but the Millenials encompass the Google Generation and the Net Geners. I think.

I had to ask a professor I know who teaches IL--Michelle Simmons--great resource (I'm going to have to take her class now that I've read everything under the sun now on IL seemingly) and she forwarded her lecture over to me for the start of the term which has some helpful definitions of information literacy. I'll cut & paste them into this blog to keep all my notes in one place:

A few definitions of information literacy:

1. "The ability to locate, evaluate, and use information to become independent life-long learners" - Commission on Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Criteria for Accreditation, Section 5.1.2 [Library and Other Information Resources] Services. 10th ed. Dec. 1996.
2. The set of abilities requiring individuals “to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” -- American Library Association. Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. Final Report. (Chicago: American Library Association, 1989.)
3. “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.” -- "Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education." Association of College and Research Libraries. 2006.
4. “Ultimately information literate people are those who have learned how to learn.” (ALA Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, 1989).

Resources for further reading:

  • ACRLog ( is a blog sponsored by ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) and written by practicing librarians, some of whose names you will be familiar with from our readings for this course (for example, Barb Fister and Scott Walter)
  • AASL Blog ( is a blog sponsored by AASL (Association of School Librarians). This blog is focused on issues related to the K-12 library community.
  • Information Literacy Blog ( is written by Sheila Webber, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, UK. She tends to write with an international perspective on information literacy issues. I enjoy the photos that she includes with almost every post.
  • Hannelore Rader has published annual annotated bibliographies about information literacy from 1975 to 1999 in Reference Services Review. You can find her bibliographies by doing a search for her name in the Library Literature database through SJSU.

Some additional readings she also suggested I take a look at:

  • Booth, C. (2011). Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning: Instructional Literacy for Library Educators. American Library Association Editions. 
  • Barbara Fister: librarian at Gustavus Alopjus College in MN and a total rock star in the IL world. 
  • Pew Research Studies about Info Seeking and different age groups. 
  • U of Wash's Project Information Literacy: great research on the ways of different groups of people finding and using information.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Scratch Pad - Search Terms

This is a scratchpad that I plan on updating with more search terms and ideas/questions/problems... I thought it'd be best to have it all located in one place so I know where to come back. We'll call this post a home-base for my list-making-tendencies!

Definition of Information Literacy from Wikipedia
The National Forum on Information Literacy defines information literacy as “...the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand.” [1][2] This is the most common definition; however, others do exist. For example, another conception defines it in terms of a set of competencies that an informed citizen of an information society ought to possess to participate intelligently and actively in that society.
A number of efforts have been made to better define the concept and its relationship to other skills and forms of literacy. Although other educational goals, including traditional literacy, computer literacy, library skills, and critical thinking skills, are related to information literacy and important foundations for its development, information literacy itself is emerging as a distinct skill set and a necessary key to one's social and economic well-being in an increasingly complex information society.[3]

What's my Question?
Is the Google Generation the real deal or a flash in the pan? If their mode of learning really is different from their forebears is it worth considering a revamping in the educational system to make it so or are we making a mountain out of a mole-hill, so-to-speak? 

To answer this question I need to look at the following threads:
WHO is the Google Generation?
WHY are they different? (psychologically? educationally? attention span? goals?)
WHAT can we do to encourage them to be MORE?

Search Terms
  • "Google Generation" and "Information Literacy" and "Instruction"
  • "Millenials"/"Net Generation"/"Net Geners"/"digital native"/"digital immigrant"/"Generation ME"/"Generation MySpace"
  • "Information Literacy"/"Literacy"/"digital literacy"/"computer literacy"

Definitions: Who does this new generation encompass?

  • Google Generation - Born after 1993
  • Net-Geners (Tapscott) Age range 2-22 in 2002
  • Today's Generation (Prensky) Kindergarten through College (Don't Bother Me Mom--I'm Learning)

Inherent Problems

  • Who am I searching for actually? 
  • Does anyone have a concrete term for these tech-kids?!
  • What exactly IS information literacy? is digital literacy the same thing only strictly focused on using tech to teach? 
    • So many different ideas of information literacy... this could be a real problem since I'm trying to define it within research. :( 

  • Who is the Google Generation?
  • Is the Google Generation really "smarter" than their forebears?
  • Superficial intelligence or hope for the future? Or both?
  • What makes them different? ARE they different? PROOF!
  • How are they learning differently? PROOF
  • How do they SHOW they're learning and processing information for differently? PROOF
  • Is this a permanent "condition" or is this merely a flash in the pan? Shooting Star?
  • Does the education system seem prepared to handle this new type of learner?

Reading to Sort Through

Tapscott, Prensky, Net Gens--Oh My!

I've had some time to really sink my teeth into the big thinkers regarding the Net-Generation (or Google Generation, Millenials, "Digital Natives") and you just get around the presence of Marc Prensky and Don Tapscott's work in all circles regarding this new generation of tech-savvy digicoms. :)

I picked up a few of their books (below).

Mr. Tapscott is an internationally sought authority, consultant and speaker on business strategy and organizational transformation. His clients include top executives of many of the world’s largest corporations and government leaders from many countries. The Washington Technology Report says he is one of the most influential media authorities since Marshall McLuhan.

Tapscott, D. (1998). Growing up digital: The rise of the net generation. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.


 Tapscott found inspiration for this book from the N-Geners themselves--the Growing Up Digital Kids which was published as a result of findings from a research team led by Kate Baggott. Her team led discussions on the Net with about 300 youngsters between the ages of 4 and 20 over a one-year period. This book won the first Bestseller Award in the summer of 1998. It has been "recommended for all libraries" by the Library Journal. Time Magazine Senior Editor, Joshua Cooper Ramo, describes GROWING UP DIGITAL as a "compellingly written look at the generation that will make it all happen." It has been translated into 14 languages and was released in paperback in May, 1999.

Tapscott, D. (2009). Grown up digital: How the net generation is changing your world. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. 

Tapscott continues his work with how he believes the net generation is changing the world as we know it. His material for this book was inspired by a $4 million research project, "The Net Generation: a Strategic Investigation" which was funded by large companies under the parent company New Paradigm, founded by Tapscott in 1993. Tapscott's group interviewed close to 9,442 people (including the Net Generation, baby boomers (aged 42 to 61), and Gen Xers (aged 30-41) composed of randomly selected internet users, stratified to avoid any gender or socioeconomic biases. Interviews were done through an online questionnaire and what he essentially argues is that the net-geners simply, "have different brains" due to the way they learn from the age of 8-18 in a time which he calls, "extended adolescence". Unlike the generations prior who've passively sat back and accepted to be simply broadcast to, this new generation has been participating in collaborative environments made possible by the rise of technology over the years. His book talks about who the net-geners are, how they're transforming institutions, and how they're transforming society. 

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon. 9(5). 1-6. doi:10.1108/10748120110424816

Marc Prensky is an internationally acclaimed speaker, writer, consultant, and designer

in the critical areas of education and learning. His original paper referenced above has come up in citations of other later papers throughout much of my research on the “Digital Natives”. The first part of his article, highlights how students today think and process information fundamentally different from their predecessors as a result of being constantly immersed by new technology.

On the Horizon is a self-proclaimed “strategic planning resource for education professionals”. Lesson planning for the digital native is such a hot topic because we’re getting into the generational gap between digital natives (those born after 1980) who are students technologically surpassing their teachers (digital immigrants – pre 1980) in an increasingly technological world. This is probably one of the older reference works I’m including in my term paper, but Prensky seemed to influential in many other peer-reviewed articles, I had to pay him some homage and quote the original sources of information from the other papers I’ve come across.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants part 2: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon. 9(6). 1-6. doi:10.1108/10748120110424843.

In this second part of Marc Prensky’s paper exploring the differences between “digital natives” and “digital immigrants”, he presents evidence to support these differences from neurology, social psychology and from studies done on children using games for learning.

Prensky makes his living speaking and writing about the digital generation, but at the end of the day, he does primarily sell learning software for educational gaming. His viewpoints in both of the referenced articles discuss why video gaming is good for this new generation of learners and I’m not really focusing my paper on how digital natives learn, but really what attributes they imbue in terms of learning, education and research in that they’re different from their predecessors. That Prensky is attempting to back up his claims with science is interesting to me and I will use his research in terms of supporting my claims that this new digital generation learns differently from their teachers. Prensky claims that the difference between the digital native student and his digital immigrant teacher is the root of a great many of today’s educational problems.  

Prensky, M. (2006). Don't bother me mom--I'm learning! St. Paul, MN: Paragon House

I still have yet to read the above referenced book because I'm nose deep in my Tapscott's books but I'm getting around to it and will update when I finally have a summary on it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I learn, You Learn, We Learn... Right?

I'm fascinated by the research I'm digging up on the Google Generation. I'm going to use this term interchangeably with the terms: Millenials, N-Geners, and Digital Natives. We're looking at an age range of those born after 1993 or, according to Don Tapscott "people who were between the age of 2 and 22 in 2002".

That age range would include me.

What I'm basically uncovering is that many researchers in the field consider my generation of tech-infused youngsters to be mere skimmers of information. Before I endanger myself of over-generalizing, I'm going to have to ask: "Is this true of myself?" If it is, I don't know if I really like what I'm hearing and reading.

One of the key themes I'll have to discuss in my research paper is going to have to be:

Who makes up the Google Generation?
What are their characteristics?
How is technology involved in this trend?
So what's the problem?
Google Generation: Hope for the Future or Shooting Stars?
Is a reformation in the educational system needed?

In my research, I came across a quote by John Dewey, Educator & Philosopher: "If we teach today like we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow". I'm going to have to print this out and hang it over my desk while I consider how the Google Generation fits into our society.

Are they really expressing learning preferences for which traditional education is unprepared? Are they really different from their predecessors? Do we need to change the way we teach them or the way we perceive the skill sets the Google Generation does bring to all aspects of our world as we know it? I keep hearing McLuhan's "The Medium is the Message" ideas sounding off in my head even more now that I'm looking at ways in which the Web has really changed the way we access information and subsequently how we internalize information and turn it into knowledge. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Google Generation & digital literacy

The argument: The technological nature of this new generation requires a reformation in the traditional educational system.

Pro: Generation Google (aka, Millenials, Generation MySpace, Generation Media) is a new breed of researcher. Intellectuals have wonderfully flexible minds; absorb information quickly, adapt to changes and are adept at pulling from multiple sources. NEW HOPE FOR OUR INTELLECTUAL FUTURE.

Prensky: "Digital Native" vs. "Digital Immigrant"

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon. 9(5). 1-6. doi:10.1108/10748120110424816

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants part 2: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon. 9(6). 1-6. doi:10.1108/10748120110424843.
Tappscott: Growing up digital: The Rise of the Net-Generation (300 interviews of "N-Geners" who participated in online chat groups such as Freezone to identify the characteristics and learning styles of this group of techies. TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM.

Con: Google The human mind can only attempt to focus on one thing or another so with the gift of being more technologically adept... what has to suffer to make room for that? Generation suffers from internet-induced attention deficit disorder and lacks reflective awareness. Qualify of information is suffering in place of quantity of information. Term: information overload. SUPERFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.

Rowlands et al. (2008): "claims that although the generation demonstrates an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information they find on the web"

Rolands, I., Nicholas, D., Williams, P., Huntington, P., Fieldhouse, M., Gunter, B.,… Tenopir, C. (2008). The Google generation: the information behavior of the researcher of the future. Aslib Proceedings, 60(4), 290-310. doi:10.1108/00012530810887953

Shear: (2005) Studies law students: "Google Generation doesn't know about controlled vocabulary, hierarchy of information, or even the difference between a table of contents and an index"; take for granted that it isn't all out there electronically. They don't know how to research.

Shear, J. (2005, June). Elevating form above substance. AALL Spectrum. 10-15. Retrieved from 9/pub_sp0506/pub-sp0506-elevating.pdf
Obrien: (2008) Times article: "technology makes it easy for them to collage information, but not to analyze and understand it" SUPERFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.


Buckingham: You can't generalize by saying there's a new generation out there who's taking information by storm. Technology is an outcome or function of other social processes; but it suggests that it needs to be seen in the context of other social, economic and political developments. Be careful characterizing the discussion of children and technology.

Published in David Buckingham and Rebekah Willett (eds.) Digital Generations: Children, Young People and New Media (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2006)

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Okay, it's been a few weeks since I've done any writing, but I've done a lot of reading and the more I look into the Google Generation, the more interested I'm becoming in my topic on digital literacy. Apparently, there seems to be a debate underway that a generation of students with sophisticated technical skills are entering the education system and expressing learning preferences for which traditional education is unprepared.

I'm interested in identifying who this generation is, what their research and educational characteristics are and how they differ from the generations prior. Is this Google Generation the real deal? Are they the new hope for the future or a flash in the pan of lasting informational brilliance?

What is this going to mean for our information literacy? Is a reformation of the educational, library and information organizations systems in order? Say we spend the time and money to make the changes--what does this mean for the instructors who are used to teaching in the traditional way? Not only are we going to have to change the way we teach information to our students, we'll have to change our whole approach so the students learn and retain the information we pass on.

There is so much talk out there right now and I only wish I could read fast enough! Get ready, I'm super pumped to start putting out some serious posts on this topic.

The Google Generation: Individuals born after 1993.

So far, I've found these two big thinkers on the discussion of the new techies coming through the educational system:

Marc Prensky: coined the terms "digital natives" and "digital immigrants" to distinguish between those who have grown up with technology and those who have adapted to it.

  • Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon. 9(5). 1-6. doi:10.1108/10748120110424816
  • Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants part 2: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon. 9(6). 1-6. doi:10.1108/10748120110424843.
The Emerging Online Life of the Digital Native: What they do differently because of technology,and how they do it

  • communicating differently: email, chat, IM
  • sharing differently: blogs, webcams, camera phones
  • buying and selling differently: eBay, schoolwork
  • exchanging differently: music, movies, humor
  • creating differently: sites, avatars, mods
  • meeting differently: 3D chat rooms, dating
  • collecting differently: mp3, censor data, video
  • coordinating differently: projects, workgroups, MMORPGs
  • evaluating differently: Reputation systems–Epinions, Amazon, Slashdot
  • gaming differently: “versus,” small & large groups
  • learning differently: about stuff that interests them
  • searching differently: info, connections, people
  • analyzing differently: SETI, drug molecules
  • reporting differently: Moblogs, digital photos
  • programming differently: Open systems, mods, search
  • socializing differently: Learning social behavior, influence
  • evolving differently: Peripheral, emergent behaviors
  • growing up differently: Exploring, transgressing

Marshall McLuhan: "The Medium is the Message" in "Understanding Media and the Extensions of Man" (1964)--> how data is transferred changes the system of beliefs in society.
  • McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: Signet.
We need to update the way we offer information in order to keep up in the virtual research and information communities.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

ePortfolio with Michelle Simmons

Michelle Holschuh Simmons is one of my most favorite professors in the program. If you're one of the students in my 203 section, or if you haven't had the pleasure to take one of her courses yet, read on to find out why.

Michelle teaches LIBR210 Reference and Information Services, LIBR228 Advanced Resources and Services, LIBR287 Information Literacy, and is one of SLIS' many fine ePort advisors for LIBR289 Advanced Topics in Library and Information Science headed by Dr. Linda Main. Out of class, you can find her doling out advise as an active academic advisor when she's not serving on SLIS' Curriculum Committee and on top of all of that, she also happens to be a mom to 4 young boys (the youngest a set of twins)! As busy as she is, she is one of the most approachable people in the program. If you're following the reviews on the SJSU MLIS Yahoo Group board and database or even the numerous Facebook groups online you'll see I'm not the only one who really enjoys her classes.  

Last night, Michelle hosted a collaborate session as a sort of generalized overview of the ePortfolio process. She does this at least once a year and invites all of her academic advisees, her students from all classes and encourages us to kindly invite other interested students as well. At the invitation of my own peer mentor from last year, Stacey Nordlund, I attended last year but remember feeling a little more overwhelmed than excited about our culminating experience here at SLIS. This year, I'm a year older, wiser and having heard a little more about ePort from the professors and students in between then and now, I left the session feeling excited to start organizing my competencies!

So again, in case you missed this recording and I missed inviting you to the session, I'm re-posting the link here to share as a sort of home base to add in to the rest of my treasure trove of treasures I'm taking away from my school experience.


Other useful links*:

SJSU SLIS D2L ePortfolio Tutorials
This area contains Web page tutorials taking you through the various tasks associated with building, maintaining, and sharing an ePortfolio in D2L.

289 ePortfolio Handbook
The goal of the e-Portfolio is to provide a program-based assessment to ensure that each student demonstrates mastery of all student learning outcomes (core competencies) for the degree before graduation. For a list of the core competencies, see: Core Compentencies. Students selecting the e-Portfolio option as opposed to the thesis option should register for LIBR 289: Advanced Topics in Library and Information Science. LIBR 289 is a 3-unit formal graduate course; students should thus expect to devote a minimum of 135 hours to developing and refining their e-Portfolios. The three credits for this course count toward the total of 42 (or 43) units required for the MLIS degree. Successful completion of the course will result in a Credit grade being given for LIBR 289.

*Links and text cut directly from SLISweb

Researching Digital Literacy

            Information Literacy as a term by itself has changed over the years as society is becoming more technologically advanced.  With information being so readily available via the internet and social media channels, instructors, librarians and other information professionals are finding the need to educate our students and youth with the proper tools and skills they’ll need to be savvy fact-finding researchers. How are we as information professionals using digital initiatives and emerging technology to teach information literacy to our students and younger generations? Are we keeping up with the needs of our more tech-conscious generation by exploring new methodologies and pedagogies brought to us by the sweeping tide of technology? 

            In researching what it means to teach information literacy to the tech-savvy youth of our generation, I came up on so many really interesting articles, which I'll list below for you to check out at your own leisure, but one of the most interesting discoveries this week was my discovery of Doug Belshaw's work on Digital Literacy.  

Doug Belshaw's 8 Elements of Digital Literacies
Two years ago, Doug published a post The 8 C's of Digital Literacy where he lists the 8 C's as "elements" of digital literacy. I am reproducing these below.
  • Cultural [Cu]
  • Cognitive [Cg]
  • Constructive [Cn]
  • Communication [Co]
  • Confidence [Cf]
  • Creative [Cr]
  • Critical [Ct]
  • Civic [Ci]

The Image below links to a slideshare where he shares his ideas (which he admits were born from spontaneous brain waves related to his Thesis brainstorming at the time) and offers up interesting concepts folks in the fields of Information Science can take to build their own curricula in terms of teaching information literacy. 
As I traced responses to Belshaw's ideas back through his readership, one teacher, Kevin McLaughlin, writes back in response to Belshaw's work how influential the "8 C's" were to his attempts towards teaching digital literacy in the primary classroom.

I'm curious now to see how these ideas translate into a primary classroom, especially as my topic is centered on  youth information literacy instruction on a digital scale! I'll be following McLaughlin's blog and hopefully he keeps it updated with progress.