Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World: outreach with Maggie Philbin

The CILIP Information Literacy Group and InformAll submitted a joint response to the July 2014 UK Digital Skills Task Force’s interim report, Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World, which was authored by Maggie Philbin.

The joint response argued that information literacy (IL) provides a vital underpinning to the acquisition of digital skills, and to the reduction in digital inclusion issues, that are envisaged in the report.

Following on from this, Jane Secker (representing the CILIP Information Literacy Group) and Stéphane Goldstein (representing InformAll) were able to arrange a meeting with Maggie Philbin to discuss issues further. The Digital Skills Task Force is specifically looking to target young people whose parents are not online and they have conclusive data on 12-13 year olds from around 5,000 students. They asked young people who their trusted sources are, and found that they don’t make careers choices based on using the internet; instead, they relied on their parents and, if these parents were not online, they may be passing on incorrect information.

Maggie is also interested in IL in the workplace and is concerned about small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), half of which were found not to have a website; this means that their main competitor in a local area could in fact be based in Australia or anywhere in the world.

The meeting then turned to TeenTech, of which Maggie is Founder and CEO.
TeenTech is a bottom-up project, looking to provide support for young people’s ideas. There are 500 schools involved in project – they have to apply and register, and the projects make links between schools, Higher Education and businesses.

Jane and Stéphane then talked about how you measure learning when information literacy is about the process, not the outcome. Maggie felt it would be really useful to produce a ‘How to do research’ guide for teachers to use with young people when they are searching for information as part of these projects. The CILIP IL Group is now working on a ‘How to do research’ guide for various topic areas, and is hoping to sponsor a new Teen Tech Research and Information Literacy award from September 2015, so that IL is embedded in the judging criteria for the participating projects.

We are very excited by these initiatives and have invited Maggie to LILAC 2015 – she was particularly interested in finding out more about the Go Digital project that the CILIP IL Group has funded in Newcastle, a paper on which is being presented at the conference.

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