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Friday, 18 November 2016

Part 3: Transliteracy palettes: developing capabilities for “moving across”

By Suzana Sukovic

A definition and conceptual model of transliteracy was proposed in the previous post in this series titled What exactly is transliteracy? (also LARK post What is transliteracy?). In short, transliteracy was described as a fluidity of movement across a range of technologies, media and contexts. The conceptual model of transliteracy was presented as an overarching concept encompassing information and ICT capabilities, communication and collaboration, and creativity and critical thinking. All these capabilities are already recognised as crucial for successful living in contemporary society. The key question concerns their co-ordinated development to enable skill and knowledge transfer in an unknown future.

A model of transliteracy palettes (above) is proposed as a tool to aid the development of transliteracy in teaching and learning. Transliteracy palettes describe what people have at their disposal to shape their transliterate practice and understanding. Two main parts of the transliteracy palettes consist of an information palette and a form palette. In order to develop the ability to move across a range of contexts, media and technologies, it is essential to practice “mixing and matching” palettes in novel combinations.

Information palette

Information and ICT capabilities have been identified as a critical part of transliteracy. These capabilities are also integrated in the well-established information literacy framework. The understanding of the information process presented in the information palette draws upon Foster’s comparison of the information process with an artist’s palette on which activities remain available during information-seeking (Foster, 2004). 

The titles of the components on the information palette capture essential information qualities and practices, especially in relation to transliteracy.
DEFINE question, information needed and main sources relates to the conscious understanding, which takes a person in a particular direction in the information process. It is based on identifying an information need. 
FIND AND ACCESS sources and relevant information captures the search process in which relevant information may be found in a range of sources. Finding the sources and relevant information is a part of the process, but so is an ability to access them. Access has been clearly identified here as it relates to the findings of my transliteracy study pointing to the significance of access conditions and understanding of social contexts surrounding information access.
EVALUATE-SELECT refers to evaluation as a well-recognised aspect of the process, but it also brings to the fore selection. Valuable information may or may not be selected for a number of reasons, which may be related to considerations other than the quality of information. Selection decisions need to be a distinct part of a holistic understanding of the process and conscious information strategy. 
MANAGE is about organising information based on content, technical and any other relevant characteristics. The word 'manage' has been chosen instead of 'organise' as it better captures potential complexity of working with information.
CREATE-PRESENT-ACT is about various forms of information use to create new information, understanding and knowledge; combine existing information for presentation purposes; and the use of information to inform decisions and action.
REFLECT is part of the process in which individuals and groups reflect on the process, ethics, norms and personal meanings. Reflection comes at the beginning of the process as people think and realise an information need, throughout the process as they decide about the next step, and at the end of the process to evaluate and understand recent experience. In educational contexts, it is important to embed reflection as a formal part of the process.
HOLISTIC UNDERSTANDING of the process ¬is indicated by the idea of the palette rather than individual colours. It emphasises the importance of understanding the information process and its components as a whole.

Form palette 

This palette captures ‘forms’ that shape interactions with information. 
EXPERIENCE is about opportunities to act, sense and think through a range of different experiences such as writing a story, performing, reading and working visually.
MEDIA relates to the use of different media formats (for example, book, video, database).
COMMUNICATION is about using different forms of communication through different channels in a variety of genres, languages and for different audiences.
COLLABORATION is about working with others formally and informally face-to-face, online and in blended environments. 
CITIZENSHIP refers to understanding of a range of social issues, which determine successful participation in information environments. It includes legal, normative, cultural and ethical issues. Copyright, plagiarism and appropriate online behaviour as they are commonly taught in educational settings are part of this 'form'.

The transliteracy palette consists of both information and form palettes, and an ability to mix them in many different combinations. Learning to apply different colours to many different forms in a range of different situations is a way to develop transliteracy. 

FOSTER, A. 2004. A nonlinear model of information-seeking behavior. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55, 228-237.

These explanations of the transliteracy palette are taken from the chapter Transliteracy in practice in the book Transliteracy in complex information environments. The chapter is available for free download, providing further discussions about implementation transliteracy in the practice of teaching and learning.

Previous posts are available from Elsevier SciTech Connect and LARK blog:
Part 1. Transliteracy: the art and craft of moving across 
Part 2. What is transliteracy? 

This article was first published by SciTech Connect

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