1.1 Exploring your information landscape
To see what someone’s information landscape might look like in practice, let’s hear from Manuela, Michael and John.
Activity 2 Mapping your information landscape
Listen to the audio recordings of Manuela, Michael and John talking about the sources of information they regularly use.
Make some notes in your Digital plan about the kinds of areas their information landscape covers.
Now reflect on your own information landscape – what are your most important sources, and how has this changed for you over the last six months?
Use your Digital plan to note key features of your information landscape:
- six months ago
Select ‘Reveal feedback’ when you are ready
Transcript: Manuela’s sources of information
I have two children, so I’m always on the school website to find out dates of parents’ evenings or to get important announcements.
I use Facebook and blogs a lot to keep up with motorsport events and get the latest news. I now add my own comments.
I’m also hoping to take up studying so I’ve been spending some time on the OU website researching courses. In fact, that’s how I found out about this course. I also look at what adult education courses are on offer through my local council. And I have visited my local library for digital skills classes. The library also has quite a lot of other free activities you can join in, like book groups and craft workshops.
Transcript: Michael’s sources of information
I like keeping up with the sports news and finding out the latest footy scores, which I get from the BBC Sports website, but I’m more likely to watch it on the TV.
I want to be a trainer so I’ve been looking at what free courses are available online, and James has been helping me. And we found some really interesting short courses that are just the right level for me. It’s all free as well.
Transcript: John’s sources of information
I’m training to be a chef, so the BBC Food website is one of the sites I use a lot. I’ve started following them on Facebook and Pinterest. I mean, there are always new recipes to try out, and advice on cooking techniques if I’m not sure about anything. I add recipes to my favourites so I can go back and find them easily whenever I want to use them.
I also look at websites and blogs from different chefs. There’s a few that have really, really inspired me, and made me feel like I can reach my dream of opening that restaurant one day.
Other than that, I keep up with sports news and music. There’s a few sites I use to find out what gigs are coming up for bands I like. And some of my mates have put their music on Bandcamp and SoundCloud, so I can go there too. I often find some great new stuff that I can download, free of charge.
Manuela’s information landscape is fairly focused on the local community, though she does get involved in the wider world through her interest in Formula One. She uses her local public library, her children’s school website and her local further education college website. So far her digital information landscape does not include much that’s relevant to work or formal education. That is changing as she works through this course and explores options for further study.
John’s landscape is also a mixture of local (what gigs are on in my town) and national/international (BBC Food, chef blogs, Bandcamp and Soundcloud).
So far, he has not considered work or study as part of his information landscape, but the self-study he does of recipes, cooking techniques and the work of other chefs, is taking him in that direction.
Michael doesn’t feel he has an information landscape – it’s more of a backyard really. Apart from following the sports news (which his son shows him on his smartphone), his sources of information are mainly personal. For example, he has one or two colleagues he turns to when he needs to get the low-down on new procedures at work. However, his desire to change career has prompted him to venture into new places, including an online course. He’s not very confident he has the skills to keep up with an online course – it all looks a bit daunting – and hopes this course will help.
How did your own information landscape compare to those of Manuela, Michael and John? You may have found it includes similar elements, however, it will also be unique to you. You might have found some overlap between different areas of your landscape, for example, your own experience of a particular issue (say, parenting) is reflected in an online community you belong to that is open to people nationally and internationally. You may also have noticed some changes in your information landscape over the last six months. This might reflect changes in your life (for example, starting a new job or course of study), or it could be that other people have introduced you to new sources of information that you find useful.