I have added this forum post to my blog so that it may be referenced for my current INF532 assignment.

Based on your reading of Floridi, and Brown & Duguid, identify three (3) challenges regarding the nature of information that are of particular concern to you as a member of our information society. How do you propose to address these?

I found Floridi’s discussion of the shift from material to abstract an interesting concept. I think I am immersed as an information user and had not really considered the philosophical and sociological perspectives so much, so it was interesting food for thought. I pondered the nature of digital interaction, considering the more tangible connection to others in a potentially broad geographical context that web 2.0 enables and whether it is actually that abstract when humans are connected by a two way dialogue. From my perspective, the interaction connects the “physis” and “techne” quite well.

In terms of challenges, the sheer volume and omnipotence of information (the good, bad and ugly) is an important one for me to address both for myself and for my students. Whilst I know how to discern the value of information, where I do struggle is managing its documentation. “Where did I see that” is a familiar headspace and trawling the breadth of my history on multiple devices to go back and source useful information can be a big challenge.

A second challenge is the evolution of my information practice. Over the past few years, I have used various methods of documenting, saving and storing. For example, I have been using Evernote for my last three units of study and for INF532 have set up Onenote instead as it aligns with my workplace practice; however, switching platforms may break down my information continuum.  I have at various points experimented with the array of social bookmarking applications – Pinterest, Diigo, Pocket, Pearltrees as well as trying to maintain a relevant RSS feed. The breadth of my exploration may dilute my management of information making it seriously difficult to go back and find resources down the track. It can be even harder to keep up and maintain previous content if an application fails or folds, or is superseded by an improved alternative.

My third significant challenge would be helping students learn to use information resources skilfully. I found the Thomas and Brown analogy of  ‘cultivation’ very useful in visualising the role of teachers for guided information management. It does need to be explicitly taught, guided, modelled and reiterated for students to  improve their own information management processes. What we teach might also allow some choice, as each person will have different preferences for their information management.

To combat these challenges, I am doing the following (but will also welcome the ideas of my fellow learners):

  • Using Onenote to take notes and to save resources. Here I am able to gather information in one space, clearly categorise information and share when approriate.
  • Carefully investigating and comparing tools for information management; using a limited range and sticking with them.
  • Modelling and facilitating learning experiences for students to improve their information skills – a good example is discussed here, using a quick strategy to consolidate important information and learning from a given lesson.