In this blog post, Sarah Pavey, the CILIP Information Literacy Group Schools’ co-rep, reports back on the second meeting of the BRIDGE Project. Her report from the first meeting is also available to read on the Information Literacy Group’s website.
Stéphane Goldstein (InformAll) and myself (SP4IL) continued our journey with the BRIDGE project (BRIDGE, 2022) with our second transnational meeting held in Corfu at Ionian University.
This Erasmus funded research brings together six nations UK, Greece, Turkey, Finland, Italy and is led by Dora Sales from Jaume I University, Castellón, Spain. The aim is that we will create a transnational cooperation network for the exchange of good practices and resources for the joint promotion of information and digital literacy as a way of underpinning education in equality values in primary schools for children aged 8-11 years old. In November I reported back on progress following our first meeting in Spain (Pavey, 2022).
Between meetings we compiled reports about the current state of information literacy in each country. It was interesting to note that we all face very similar challenges in the provision of qualified staff to run school libraries and that mention of information literacy within the curriculum is minimal. In Greece in 2018, there was a legal requirement for schools to have a library but this only needs to be open for 3 hours a week and can be staffed by any teacher. Finland relies heavily on the support of the public library system. Overall, the emphasis regarding technology tends to focus on hardware and online harms rather than critical thinking and information content. As part of this first phase we conducted a survey among school librarians and teachers but those countries without statutory underpinning have struggled to receive responses. The UK did not come bottom of this Eurovision league but it was a close call! If anyone knows anyone who could help fill out our online questionnaire please pass on the link to them. The survey stays open until the end of May 2023.
The discussion also considered the next phase of the project and how we will select material for the free database we are compiling. Although some of this content will be driven by the suggestions from the survey, we were mindful that we needed to meet specific criteria.
For picture books, the idea is not to select those that are necessarily about information and digital literacy, but to find stories that can be used to support the teaching of these competencies and which encourage critical thinking and discussion. Because of the transnational aspect of the database, we decided to identify a wordless picture book as a model of best practice in how to use the resource we are developing. Finding books that are freely accessible in all countries and which promote the values we are seeking was challenging but will prove to be interesting and worthwhile research. Learning to be aware of other cultures and priorities is partly what BRIDGE is about and it is indeed a wonderful opportunity and privilege to be involved in this initiative.
The construction of a set of websites that are open source also proved a moot point. In the UK we would automatically consider BBC bitesize as a great resource but being in Corfu we soon realised that video content was blocked. Making sure sites found by our European colleagues could be translated effectively was another aspect we needed to investigate. Again, this emphasised the international collaborative stance we needed to take for an outcome with impact.
In compiling our content, we thought about the nature of the training we will provide in order to ensure our product will be used. This phase of the BRIDGE project will be led by Finland. The aim is to provide a free webinar with some interactive and downloadable material showing exemplars of how our selections could be used to further integration of information literacy into the primary school curriculum. We will also be arranging a face-to-face gathering for UK stakeholders to promote our work and giving leaders in primary education and providers a chance to network.
This is such an exciting project and unusually focusses on primary school students, setting out the fundamental principles of information literacy at an early age to grow global citizens. Please do take a look at the BRIDGE website and contact us if you would like to help further. You can follow our progress on Twitter too @BRIDGEinfolit.
BRIDGE (2022) BRIDGE – A bridge to support critical thinking and information and digital literacy at school. Equality values for primary education using children’s literature and transmedia. Available at: https://bridgeinfoliteracy.eu/ (Accessed 20 April 2023).
Pavey, S. (2022) Sun, sea, sangria …and information literacy. Available at: https://infolit.org.uk/sun-sea-sangria-and-information-literacy/ (Accessed 20 April 2023).