Archive of ‘INF532’ category

Network Literacy

Image from Pixabay CC0

In 1994 I was a young graduate who worked in a university library, full of books, microfiche and CD-ROMs. I taught Information and research skills classes but network literacy was unheard of. In my spare time I went to the cinema to see Four Weddings and a Funeral, bought compact discs from JB Hi Fi and anticipated new episodes of Friends on the television. I did not have a mobile telephone and although a new web browser, Mosaic was launched that year, I was yet to experience the world wide web.

This is the same year Charles McClure wrote about network literacy. He could see that the the new “network of networks” would require new skills to use electronic information effectively (1994). He was concerned that individuals who were network illiterate would be disadvantaged and become second class citizens. He proposed that people should understand how networked information occurs, know how to access it, manipulate it and analyse it for personal and professional life.

Fast forward seventeen years and Howard Rheingold is using YouTube to talk about network literacy. Like McClure, Rheingold believes people need to understand network architecture and how they work technically. The rest of Rheingold’s views on network literacy differ from McClure’s because of the growth of the internet and the impact social networks have had. Rheingold emphasises the socially networked world that involves collaboration and sharing. Network literacy allows people to form groups, participate and innovate (2011).

Though McClure and Rheingold’s definitions differ due to the evolution of networks, both agree that network literacy involves knowledge and skills that are essential for twenty-first century literacy. Without network literacy, individuals risk being excluded from society and unable to benefit from social capital through online social networking (Pegrum, 2010).

As I have grown as an adult, so have the networks that I use. Although my library training was in the pre-internet era, it instilled in me skills that have helped me adapt and be open to new network experiences.


McClure, C. R. (1994). Network literacy: A role for libraries? Information Technology and Libraries, 13(2), 115-125. Retrieved from

Pegrum, M. (2010). ‘I Link, Therefore I Am’: Network literacy as a core digital literacy. In E-Learning and Digital Media, 7(4), 346-354.

Rheingold, H. (2011, February 13). Network literacy part 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Rheingold, H. (2011, February 13). Network literacy part 2[Video file]. Retrieved from


Connected Educator Reflection

Cooperation or collaboration

Cooperative learning and collaborative learning are not interchangeable terms.

I can only think of one example where I have moved beyond cooperation to collaboration in my learning and practice. Last session in ETL523 I was part of a team of four that produced a wiki. Initially we considered dividing up the tasks but soon realised that would have resulted in a less cohesive outcome so we changed our strategy to one that typifies collaboration. We identified our strengths, communicated ideas and content and provided each other with feedback. The collaborative learning was done in ways that would not have been possible before the advent of networks and web 2.0 tools.  21st century learners have access to a vast range of tools for collaboration but they need to know how to use them effectively.


Now that I have completed five subjects for Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation, I am not surprised by the literacies identified by Nussbaum-Beach and Hall (2012). On a “multiliteracies scale” of one to ten I would place myself at seven. I am comfortable switching between print and digital for personal and professional purposes, I communicate via social media and I am a novice creator of digital artefacts. Rapidly changing technology means continual learning. The least challenging literacy is modeling digital-age work and learning because I can learn to use the tools and digital learning environment by being a self-directed learner. The most challenging literacy is the design of digital age learning experiences and assessments because this involves getting other people on board and accomodating school policies.

Connected Educator

To be a connected educator, I have to be a self-directed learner as well as an educator.


I agree that this involves being open-minded, reflective, willing to take risks and to share with others. Nussbaum-Beach and Hall (2012) have given me a new perspective on the level of participation required to be a connected educator. Reading blogs and following people on social media is a start but communicating and conversing builds relationships and opportunities for collaboration.


Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Ritter Hall, L. (2011). Classroom Strategies : The Connected Educator : Learning and Leading in a Digital Age (1). Bloomington, US: Solution Tree Press.

Graphics: Created in Canva by K. Malbon using CC0 Public Domain image

New Models of Information Production

After reading De Saulles (2012) and viewing the slideshare below I think the defining characteristics of the internet that have stimulated new models of information production are:

  • Access to free or low cost information from local and global sources
  • Web 2.0 tools for the consumption and creation of information and knowledge
  • Network capabilities for communication and collaboration

New Models of Information Production, Distribution, Consumption from Martin De Saulles

Vast amounts of information are now produced, distributed and consumed using blogs, wikis, search engines, social networking and podcasting. Organisations have the ability to collect and use data that we leave behind while we search, consume and create using the internet (De Saulles, 2012).

flickr photo shared by kleem9 under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

These new and emerging models present challenges for educators and information professionals in areas such as:

  • Information literacy
  • Digital literacy/fluency
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Filtering and curating information

I am sure we will be exploring these areas and many more as we progress through the modules of INF532.


De Saulles, M. (2012). Information 2.0: new models of information production, distribution and consumption. Facet Publishing.

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