The age of discovery: the embodied mind, complex systems and the school library

Two recently published books bring together some important insights with significant implications for education and the school library.

Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance , by Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna, published by Bloomsbury/St Martin’s Press. The Guardian, Society Opinion.

Intelligence in the Flesh: Why Your Mind Needs Your Body Much More than It ThinksBy Guy Claxton Yale University Press. The Times Higher Education review.

Age of Discovery Goldin
Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance.
Guy Claxton draws on advances in neuroscience, experimental psychology and a smattering of philosophy to show us that intelligence is far more complex than the ability of a student to use pen and paper to reproduce facts for an exam. Through comparisons with the Renaissance, Goldin and Kutarna show that there has never been a better time to be alive. We are in a period of new renaissance. An education system that focusses on an accumulation of rote knowledge is therefore terribly insufficient in a connected and complex globalised world where the ability to take all factors into consideration to make perfect decisions is impossible. In the light of these two books, it is clear that a reductionist, simplified understanding of learning is of very limited relevance in such a world. We are living in a time as tumultuous and exciting as the Renaissance at the time of Columbus, Copernicus and Gutenberg. Now is a time when the archaic Cartesian dualistic view of the mind falls tragically short of recognising the beautiful and bewildering complexity at the core of our humanity.

The human mind in no way like that of the computer based on binary information systems.

Intelligence in the Flesh: Why Your Mind Needs Your Body Much More Than It Thinks by Guy Claxton (2015)
Intelligence in the Flesh: Why Your Mind Needs Your Body Much More Than It Thinks by Guy Claxton (2015)
Knowledge, insight, discernment and wisdom are unique features of the impenetrable complexity of the human mind compelling us as educators to raise our eyes from industrial models of teaching to embrace the vast educational opportunities in a diverse and connected world in the throes of a new Renaissance.  In such a world, knowledge does remain important however an education system that focusses on the accumulation of facts is frighteningly insufficient. Facts and knowledge do indeed help guide our attention toward the things that matter and to inform our future information gathering efforts however simply memorising facts without dialogue, without application is irrelevant to a life in the world we and our students find ourselves in. In the context of such a rapidly evolving  world, it is not only impossible to know all the facts or to understand all the components of the most significant challenges we face before we can act, it is not necessary. The “intelligence in the flesh” seething beneath our conscious awareness is capable of immense intuitive cognitive power providing we feed and nourish it adequately. In a connected and fast paced world we don’t need to attain all the knowledge and skills to achieve great things but we do need the motivation and courage to dive into a challenge that may feel like it is beyond us. We need the courage and ability to reach out to connect with the the people, expertise and skills required to orchestrate meaningful solutions. Not to orchestrate actions in a prescriptive sense but to orchestrate in a jazz improvisational sense where, with the right people, in the right setting, with the right connections, trust and combination of abilities, amazing and unexpected solutions can emerge. Clearly, a reductive grade based eduction system is irrelevant for students in a world that demands a far more expansive view of intelligence.

The expanding role of the library

The library has a critical role to play in this context. Publishing trends and sales are showing that despite the rapid expansion of digital information technologies, ebooks are becoming less popular and publishers are scrambling to adjust to this unexpected reality. Publishers had assumed that digital texts would render print irrelevant however the reality is far more nuanced.

Publisher sales down as ebook sales decline

Books are back: printed book sales rise for the first time in four years as ebooks suffer decline

Printed book sales rise

As E-book sales decline, digital fatigue grows

Our world is now hybrid – connected, complex and multimodal. Our world is not entirely defined by our smartphones. Similarly, a view of libraries as being a repository of facts and information is naively simple, inaccurate and inadequate. If this was the case then online resources would have rendered libraries irrelevant and print collections would be unnecessary however this is not the case. Libraries have always embraced the complexities of the embodied mind and the murmurations of a digitally connected world because fundamentally, libraries have always been driven by a mandate to connect to a world of ideas and tap the vastness of human creativity. This is not new for libraries and it is why, despite the dour predictions of futurists, print media and physical libraries remain. Libraries and print media have not remained unchanged however. Even though the idea of the embodied mind may not have been articulated as a rationale for change, libraries have continued to evolve their physical infrastructure and collections in response to the complex needs of people in a changing world.

For libraries, this has meant stocking diverse and rich print collections that are not fixed but nimble and evolving. It has meant infusing the library with a rich array of magazines that keep a consistent injection of current information into the physical space rather than assuming that digital information is the only place for this. Libraries build a physical infrastructure that fosters serendipity and challenges our thinking. A library culture invites purposeful inquiry. Libraries foster a way of life that incubate discovery and inspire attention, focus and motivation.

From Captain Underpants to Tolstoy to Dickens to PewdiePie to LoL to Dawkins to Trump – the library is physical and virtual place where ideas – the good, the bad, the exciting and the downright frightening – are brought into the light of public discourse, debated, studied & laughed about. Libraries curate a shared academic stage which does not gloss over society but digs deeply into the world around us to find new inspirations & solutions to build a more informed, skilled and meaningful world. Libraries are a physical embodiment of our attempts to recognise and fulfil our human potential.

This is the future of libraries – one that embraces the complexities of the embodied mind trying to make sense and meaning in a connected and vastly complex world in the throes of a new Renaissance. Rather than cowering under challenge and overwhelming complexity with resistance to change, libraries need to lead the way toward empowering our students to take informed action; to have the confidence to take that first step into a challenge with the hope of finding happiness, fulfilment and meaning.

To play our part in this, libraries must provide an inspiring launchpad for ideas, thinking, reflecting and knowing.

This is also a time of Renaissance for libraries.

Practical ideas for school libraries

  • Leverage digital technology to connect students with print.
  • Leverage print to connect students with digital resources.
  • Rotate and vary the magazine subscriptions.
  • Implement a responsive purchasing model to keep our collections vital and relevant.
  • Be vigilant about the culture in the school library. E.g. Foster healthy conflict resolution (conflict is normal part of life but bullying is damaging and destructive).
  • Don’t make the library about the librarian or the importance of the library itself but focus on the creativity of the contributors, the power of ideas, and excitement of discovery.
  • Remove barriers to access both physical, emotional and personal.
  • Ensure the library is a natural part of classroom discussion.
  • Infuse the school with books from the library that are rotated frequently by library users (not the librarian). Make the library books a key part of students and teachers curating their own environments. Make it easy and natural.
  • Fill the library with quirky books.
  • Build the wow factor at the entrance to the library with enticing front facing books that are constantly changing.
  • Have conversations about literature and reading rather than “teaching” at students and parents about nebulous “library skills”.
  • Take an inquiry stance to building a library culture by wondering and asking questions. What books do you buy? How you use digital books? If you could have any magazine in your home, what would it be about?

The embodied library : learning to read

(1800 words)

Everything the school library does is in the service of student learning. Learning is change. For the most part, we are not consciously aware of all the changes that occur in our brain and body when we are learning. We can often describe observable aspects of learning such as an improvements in our accuracy in kicking a ball through the goal posts, the ability to solve a challenging math problem, a new way to fold the worlds best ever paper plane, or a new historical insight but the neurological and physiological changes in our bodies are hidden. These new skills or new knowledge may indicate that learning has occurred however they are far from providing a complete understanding of the change that has taken place. This is where understanding the embodied mind can lead us to a more holistic view of learning. Learning that we can directly observe, test or that we are conscious of is only the very tip of the iceberg. Learning is a process that involves the entire body in a complex system of interdependent subsystems. The brain is a dominant arbiter in the learning process however the brain only functions within the context of the body – as Guy Claxton explains, the “brain and the body function as a single unit” (Claxton, 2015 p 89).

The embodied mind: the brain is nothing like a computer

The brain is in no way anything like a computer (Claxton, 2015 p 89). There is no separate compartment for memories. There are no neat series of processing steps. The brain is not binary. Instead the brain operates within a tangle of electrical networks, a sea of chemical interactions and giant array of physical structures creating one of the most vast complex systems we can imagine. Not only is the brain inseparable from the body, the body is intricately involved in thinking. Learning is therefore not just a brain activity but a whole body process of change. The vast majority of the change that occurs in learning is therefore not observable. The aspects of learning that we can observe are merely patterns of behaviour or consciousness that bubble to the surface from a seething mass of impenetrably complex interactions and dependencies  (Claxton, 2015 p53). The observed behaviours, performances or thoughts we are aware of are only a very small part of the vast and complex changes that are occurring when we or our students are learning.

Learning is a complex and emergent property of the embodied mind

Understanding the emergent nature of learning is of great importance to our attempts at crafting optimal learning engagements and environments for students. All we have to go on to gain feedback about whether we have enabled learning to occur is the data we gather and the observations we make, however in reality, these are only signposts or alerts to a vast and complex underlying process of change that cannot be directly observed.

Using data

Tests, exams, observations and other data we collate in schools are valuable systems of feedback about the effectiveness of our teaching however our response to this data should rarely be to attempt to directly address these surface features of student learning by hammering home content with more didactic worksheets and drills to repeat a skill over and over until all passion for learning is extinguished. Our response should be to go deeper, far deeper, to recognise the vast complexity and depth of the process of learning. This requires faith in the process. Didactic teaching of specific skills can have it’s place in teaching however if this is the dominant pedagogy, then we are treating students like computers with slow processors where our main task is to reprogram their circuits and cram their memory chips with the information we think they need. This is very shallow, non-transferable and unsustainable learning. “The predominant association of intelligence with thinking and reasoning isn’t fact; it is a cultural belief … that misdirects us” (Claxton, 2015 p3). Learning goes way beyond what can be captured in a test so to go deeper, our pedagogy must engage all aspects of the embodied mind.

Engaging the embodied mind : Reading

Recent research in the neurosciences has revealed much about the many subsystems of the brain and the body and recent education research has provided key insights into what is effective and what is not for learning. The challenge for us is to learn to trust these insights and engage the deeper and often unobservable subsystems of the embodied mind. For example, we know for certain that there is an undeniable and consistently demonstrated correlation between reading for pleasure (that is students choosing what, when and where they read) and the academic achievement. One of the most powerful predictors of success in adult life is a child’s pleasure in reading. Direct teaching of reading skills has its place but as adults we naturally tend toward the forms of direct pedagogy we feel we can control yet fostering reading for pleasure is by definition, not controllable.  Just because we can control a method of teaching and measure a direct outcome does not mean it is a better teaching method and it definitely does not mean it is the best way for students to learn. For example, in trying to improve student coordination, we can teach and drill the skills of juggling in lesson after lesson until all students can juggle three balls thereby demonstrating our teaching effectiveness. imageThe problem is that this is an isolated, specific, non-essential skill and it is highly questionable whether it is of such importance that it warrants hours of teaching to accomplish. Similarly direct teaching of phonics is not useless but considering the time involved in phonics programs, the problem is that it hones in on a very specific component of reading. Phonics is very important in language acquisition and literacy luring us into thinking that direct and explicit phonics programs are the most obvious way for students to learn these skills especially when data for these programs can be so readily gathered. The problem is that just because we can teach it directly and measure outcome directly does not mean this is the way students best learn phonics or indeed if it yields the sustainable literacy outcomes we are looking for. In fact, intensive reading programmes can have the effect of reducing student pleasure in reading, the exact reverse of what we are trying to achieve.

Understanding the embodied mind draws us to a much more holistic and comprehensive view of learning to read. Learning to read is not about refining our Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software (there are excellent apps for that). We know that learning to read involves building positive experiences around text, fostering conversation about story, finding the right nook that helps us become absorbed in a story, connecting with like minds, sharing perspectives, responding with creative action, pausing in shock at what we have just read, anticipating the next instalment in a series, discovering a new author, arguing with a friend about the motivations of a character, having our deepest held beliefs challenged by a great thinker, taking great pleasure in creative passion of an illustrator, discovering something new about the natural world – this is reading, this is the experience of reading, this is what draws us back to life long reading.

Notice that many of these aspects of reading involve our position in space – where we are sitting, who we are with, the location that reading takes place is often defined by when it takes place. Notice how many of these aspects of reading involve the when – the anticipation, the events that lead up to a new discovery, whether it is late in the dark of the night or in a corner of a busy school library, when we have time to stare endlessly at a beautifully crafted illustration. Notice how many of these reading experiences involve interactions with others – sharing, arguing, discovering, in shared attention, in side-by-side company. Movement and physical responses are not a disruption or subversion to learning to read, they literally embody reading. As Claxton points out, “complete stillness is incompatible with life: it is anathema” (p36). The embodied mind helps us to understanding that reading is not about decoding text, my iPad has great OCR software that can recognise words but my iPad is not able to read anything. Siri can convert any text to audio but Siri is not reading. The development of AI is therefore showing us that we are nothing like computers, reading is an experience of the embodied mind that requires high level cognitive skills that are inseparably embedded within a bodily experience that extends even beyond our skin.

All this considered, it is clearly a very incomplete reading pedagogy that is focused on narrow aspects of reading such as phonics and decoding. To provide a comprehensive reading pedagogy we need to provide a learning environment and process that sees reading as embodied. The library must be embodied. To do this we must play the long game. Focusing on short-term interventions can at times be effective in pushing over a hump in a learning journey but the big changes in learning occur over long periods of time. A love of reading that we know sustains a life time of reading and learning is not something we can teach. It is a spark that emerges from within each student and it is a spark that we cannot create. This is hard for parents, teachers and librarians to accept. We desperately want to light that spark, to be the ones to ignite a passion for learning and reading but we cannot. What we can do is create every opportunity for that spark, when it comes, to survive and grow. We do this by building positive experiences around literature, maximising access to high quality compelling literature, fostering deep conversation around literature, watching for signs of interest in a genre or subject and feeding that interest, leveraging technology to connect students into ideas and inspiration. And yes, sometimes it does require sounding out a word but as long as it is in a context and at a time that is directly relevant to honouring student led inquiry. As a stand alone it is like teaching a student to juggle – of some benefit but very limited.

The embodied library is a library that participates in the embodied mind of each student. Practices, procedures, and rules that do not contribute to a holistic experience for students need to be stripped away. The focus must be on understanding the student and how our pedagogy and practices encompass the embodied mind. The embodied mind is a complex system compelling us to avoid reductionist theories and open our minds to deeper learning experiences for students.

Further reading

Claxton, Guy. Intelligence in the Flesh: Why Your Mind Needs Your Body Much More than It Thinks. New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2015. EBL. Web. 15 May 2016.

@GuyClaxton on Twitter

Rowlands, Mark. The New Science of the Mind: From Extended Mind to Embodied Phenomenology. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010. Print.


Rebranding libraries 2 : in with new, in with the old.

Social media and new digital channels ensure that our connected world is always evolving. Branding in the commercial environment is no longer about projecting a message to an audience, it is about connections between people. This is where the traditionally commercial role of branding and the role of libraries converge. Libraries are still about books, knowledge and ideas but both the format, the medium and the modes libraries work across have expanded exponentially. imageEmbedded in this expansion are the ways in which the library connects with people and more importantly, the ways the library connects people-to-people, ideas-to-ideas, needs-to-needs. Advertising agencies are no longer isolated in silos working to a brief provided by a company CEO, they are getting into the shoes of a company and into the shoes of the customers, connecting networking, working across platforms, focusing their message, and co-creating with their clients.
This is where libraries have always been and where they are ideally placed to meet the needs of patrons in a connected world. For libraries, branding is an important piece to this puzzle and is an often neglected one. Branding a library is not about projecting a new modern face and it is not about sending the right message. The message is what libraries do. In this context, branding is about making connections between what people do and what libraries do. imageLibraries do things in society that no other organisation or system does. Libraries offer an experience, a collaborative space, an inspiration, and a story that no other physical or virtual space offers. Leveraging branding and marketing strategies offers useful insights into how libraries can make more authentic and meaningful connections within the community.


Some lessons from the world of marketing

1. Research

Continue reading Rebranding libraries 2 : in with new, in with the old.

Student Agency : revisiting “Choice Words” by Peter Johnston

Building a sense of learner agency in the library begins now.

(1700 words)

Whenever I consider the concept of student agency I am always drawn back to Choice words : how our language affects children’s learning” by Peter H. Johnston, 2004. In particular, chapter 4 “Agency and becoming strategic”, in a very concise & practical way clarifies what student agency is, what it looks like and how we can have a powerful impact on learning.

“Children should leave school with a sense that if they act, and act strategically, they can accomplish their goals. I call this feeling a sense of agency.”

“The spark of agency is simply the perception that the environment is responsive to our actions, and many researchers argue that agency is a fundamental human desire.”

Choice Words : How our language affects children's learning
“Choice Words : How our language affects children’s learning” by Peter Johnston

“This desire for agency persists throughout life and is so powerful, that when people feel there is no relationship between what they do and what happens, they become depressed and helpless.”

“Teachers’ conversations with children help the children build the bridges between action and consequence that develop their sense of agency. They show children how, by acting strategically, they accomplish things, and at the same time, that they are the kind of person who accomplishes things.”

Continue reading Student Agency : revisiting “Choice Words” by Peter Johnston

Proxemics and The Embodied Mind: The hidden dimension of learning.

(1500 words)

img_6512There are two fields of study that I would like to bring together to create a deep but accessible framework to examine the impact of the environment on student learning. Of particular interest to me is the impact of the presence books on learning in combination with other technologies however this framework could be applied to many other aspects of the learning environment.

  1. Proxemics
  2. The Embodied Mind.


The field of proxemics is based on the work by Edward Hall in the 1960’s. In his book, “The Hidden Dimension” (1966) he states that “man and his environment participate in molding each other” (p5) and “in creating this world he [she] is actually determining what kind of an organism he [she] will be” (p5). The language that Hall enlists in talking about the spaces we inhabit emphasises with rich clarity the complex role our environment plays in shaping who we are. He talks about “the language of space” (p91), “the dynamism of space” (p114) and situational personalities (p115) and in describing Japanese gardens (pp153-154) he states that “the study of Japanese spaces illustrates their habit of leading the individual to a spot where he can discover something for himself”. image 14While much of his work has been enlisted in the study of social interactions (see his descriptions of the “intimate” 20cm, “personal” 120cm, “social” 365cm and “public space” 365cm+ spaces), “The Hidden Dimension” compels the reader to go further in considering human environments as very real expressions of humanity as well as exerting a powerful influence on our humanity. Greenberg et al have taken this further by analysing the role of technology in human spatial engagements. As people move through physical spaces through various levels of proximity, connectivity mediated by technology now strongly influences our interactions as never before. Peterson et al. has considered the relationship between proxemics and human-computer interactions by taking the Hall definitions of personal space and applying a situational space model to examine and analyse interactions and mediators in a given situation. Proxemics therefore continues to provide a basis for examining human-human and human-technology interactions using a range of proxemic notation systems  (Hall 1963, Pederson et al. 2012) that in a modified form could be used to examine learning environments.

The Embodied Mind

The hypothesis of the embodied mind poses the question: is consciousness and subconscious cognition only a function of the brain (known as the Cartesian Cognitive Science) or do cognitive processes extend beyond the brain, beyond the skin and beyond what we can sense (Non-cartesian cognitive science)? (Rowlands 2010). Cartesian cognitive science is based on the idea that mental processes – such as perceiving, remembering, thinking and reasoning – only exist in the brain. By contrast, the embodied mind draws us to consider mental processes as, in part, including the environment that lies outside the brain. image 44The embodied mind thesis goes further than just recognising that cognition is influenced by the environment but poses that cognition is inextricably linked to the human body as a whole, the context of the body and beyond (the “extended mind”). This means that the how we move, manipulate and interact with our environment, to some extent, actually constitutes fundamental functions of cognition. While watching young children, adolescents and adults in the library, it actually becomes difficult to imagine a form of thinking that does not involve interacting with the environment and manipulating objects (such as books) as an intrinsic component of thought. If the thesis of the embodied mind is accepted, the concept of the environment as the third teacher (Cannon Design, Capacity Building Series Ontario)  is of even greater significance than may have been originally thought.

Bringing Proxemics and the Embodied Mind together

Everyday I observe students interacting with spaces, with each other and with objects (such as books a range of other technologies) in a very complex social and spatial dance. The interplay between the environment and the students has a profound impact on their interactions and actions. This is not a one-way interplay since they also exert their own influence on the environment around them. These interactions seem so tightly bound to their states of mind and their processes of thinking that the thesis of the embodied mind seems intuitively obvious. The way students physically manipulate books and other technology in the library appears to form a scaffold for their thinking to such an extent that it is like watching their cognition itself. For example, anecdotal observations in the library indicate that given a variety of technologies (books, pencils, paper and iPads), the students will move fluidly between them all, switching and engaging with their environment and each other in a flow of play that is so much a representation of their cognition that it appears to actually constitute a core component of their cognition. While in other spaces in the school where laptops and static desk arrangements dominate the room, students will converge on habitual stereotypical behaviours such as primarily using laptops for research on the Internet with minimal collaboration or consideration for other research methods. My hypothesis is that if we fill these classrooms and the library with a rich variety of appropriate technologies, invite students to bring their own and provide support with classroom configurations that foster a wide variety of research strategies (e.g. observations, data gathering, interviews, collaboration, visual note-taking, reading etc), then student behaviour will become far more diverse, differentiated and student led. The result will be differentiated, deeper, diversified and engaged thinking.

A more specific example

Anecdotal observations in the library have indicated that given a wide variety of spatial and technological resources (including books, magazines, comics, iPads, tables, lap-tables, couches, beanbags, floor cushions, pencils, scissors, and paper as well as resources the students may bring into the library) the students will access all of these in a flow of play and interaction. Sometimes utilising all of these resources at the same time or, more often, in a tidal ebb and flow as fads come and go. b3516-philips2bimageStudents will sometimes converge on a particular collection of books, or a favourite Youtuber, or an origami club or a stage performance with costumes brought with them from the classroom. Everyday we tidy and arrange furniture, technology and books in slightly different ways to invite students to engage with the library in different ways. As a result, different interactions occur, diverse uses of the spaces emerge and different ways of thinking happen. The result is learning.

Teenagers and technology preferences

I wonder, do teenagers choose digital technologies in the classroom because:

  1. they are expected to by the teacher (a confirmation bias based on the assumption that teenagers do in fact prefer digital technologies for learning)?
  2. It is the technology that is within arms reach or close by. The time of going to interview someone or visit the library requires purposeful decision of the teacher to “allow” this level of mobility.
  3. School virtual and physical structures strongly imply certain student products such as only electronic submission of summative assessments (in the form of Microsoft Word or PDF documents).

Therefore, opening up and extending the classroom so students are encouraged to move within the room and beyond it may similarly open and extend thinking. Do such environmental changes fundamentally alter their cognitive processes and therefore their learning?

Possible Framework


Utilise the metrics and frameworks of proxemics to observe, gather data and analyse the spacial parameters of students in a particular location.

Embodied Mind

Observe, gather data and analyse the impact of altering various components of space on student thinking.

The consideration of the environment as the third teacher with a powerful impact on student learning is not new however using the metrics and frameworks of proxemics to examine the impact on student cognitive function that involves the science of the embodied mind offers some significant opportunities for action research in learning environments.


Hall, Edward T. “A System for the Notation of Proxemic Behavior”. American Anthropologist 65 (5): 1003–1026 (October 1963). doi:10.1525/aa.1963.65.5.02a00020
Henriksen, Danah, Jon Good, and Punya Mishra. “Embodied Thinking as a Trans-disciplinary Habit of Mind.” TechTrends 59.1 (2015): 6-11.Proquest. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.
Pfeifer, Rolf, Josh Bongard, and Simon Grand. How the Body Shapes the Way We Think: A New View of Intelligence. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007. PDF.
Rowlands, Mark. The New Science of the Mind: From Extended Mind to Embodied Phenomenology. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010. Print.





Academic Honesty lessons using a complex systems approach

(3500 Words)

Complex systems thinking provides a holistic framework for discussing Academic Honesty with students. Complex systems thinking leads us away from hierarchical structures of power and authority toward an emphasis on connections, dialogue and individual autonomy. Complex systems thinking embraces individual identity and diversity where students construct their own meaning through respectful and meaningful interactions with their peers. Rather than attempting to homogenise student understandings of academic honesty, a complex systems approach provides a rich context for individual and shared understandings to emerge by fostering interactions, collaboration and iterative feedback.

The imperative from the class teachers: “We are concerned that academic misconduct may be on the rise and while teachers have discussed this with students having someone different to lead some sessions with this grade level may help them to understand academic honesty better and understand the importance of academic honesty with the hope that their behaviour will improve”. So the librarian was invited to take two sessions with this grade level which included 29 students.

Purpose of the lessons:

Continue reading Academic Honesty lessons using a complex systems approach

There is no Information Literacy if there is no Dialogue 

(2200 words)

Information literacy is dehumanising if it is not dialogic. In the same way that a fluency in a language is gauged through dialogue, information literacy has meaning when it is participatory, connected, responsive and dynamic. Fluency with information is demonstrated through participation in civic dialogue where individuals connect and knowledge is shared, refined and remoulded into new meaning for each participant. This is not merely an expansion of the term information literacy by definition but it is an expansion through action.

Dialogue encompasses many forms of connection and interaction between individuals and groups for the creation of meaning.

Continue reading There is no Information Literacy if there is no Dialogue 

[ Never underestimate the library element ] by Philip Williams, Librarian


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