The GeSTE windows is a way of seeing information literacy as Generic, Situated, Transformative and Expressive. The GeSTE windows form a hierarchy of increasing complexity with the Generic window at the base (i.e. simplistic) and the Transformative and Expressive windows as a parallel top level (i.e. complex). In my previous posts I have explained the Generic, Situated and Transformative windows.
The Expressive window incorporates the Generic and Situated windows, however it does not incorporate the Transformative window, rather, it sits along side it. The Expressive window is distinct from the Generic, Situated and Transformative windows as it is based on empirical findings rather than theoretical and conceptual constructs.The empirical findings come from my research into music students’ experiences of using information to compose and tango dancers’ use of information on the social dance floor (Lupton 2008, Lupton 2014).
The Expressive window has a completely different flavour to the Generic, Situated and Transformative windows. The Expressive window is deeply personal. The aim of the Expressive window is to build identity, express and understand oneself. Information is internal, subjective and transformative. Information sources include thoughts, ideas, opinions, beliefs, feelings, imaginings, intuitions, life experiences and sensory experiences. Information is evaluated by considering feelings, expression, identity and aesthetics.
I have coined the phrase ‘information nourishment’ to explain the focus of the Expressive window. For me, information nourishment is a way of critically analysing how I spend my time and attention. In my daily life I make a number of choices: I choose food that nourishes my body, I choose to spend time with people who enhance my sense of well being and belonging. I choose experiences that are inspiring, relaxing, fun, playful, joyful, insightful, challenging. I seek natural environments that are calming. I seek urban environments that are exciting. I choose work projects that are interesting and motivating and that give me a sense of purpose. This principle is underpinned by Greg McKeown’s concept of ‘essentialism‘.
Actively choosing, based on the principles of nourishment and essentialism, can be difficult. In many ways it is easier to slip into a passive existence, where we let ourselves be acted upon. In his book ‘Net Smart’ Howard Rhiengold describes how he actively works with his university students using principles of mindfulness to improve their ‘infotention’ so that they can become agents of their own attention. This concept is also seen in the idea of ‘digital distraction‘ and ‘deep work‘, although some people who espouse these concepts have framed them within a workplace productivity agenda, which is not the focus of the Expressive window!
Image by author. Click image to enlarge.
Information nourishment includes affect, aesthetics, self expression and identity. Below I have listed a number of questions to use when critically evaluating sources. It should be noted that the term ‘source’ can refer to a codified source or an experience, however the questions below are orientated towards codified sources, created by the student or by others. This is because my intention behind creating the GeSTE windows model has been to expand the ways we work with students to evaluate information in formal education environments such as schools and universities.
- How does this source make me feel? What sort of emotions does it evoke?
- Does this source nourish, enrich, excite, inspire me?
- Does it challenge me to think, or to re-think?
- Is this information worth my attention?
Aesthetics (Sword 2012):
- Does the source have style, beauty, elegance, flair, originality, quirkiness, humour, wit, vibrancy, liveliness?
- Does the creator have a distinctive voice?
- Is this creation an expression of me?
- Is my voice distinctive?
- Will people know this is me?
- Is my contribution to social media valuable in contributing to the crowd/collective intelligence?
- How can I develop a positive digital footprint?
The Expressive window can be also seen the following question rubric used to evaluate the design and architecture of learning spaces. The rubric demonstrates the incorporation of both the Transformative and Expressive windows. The questions in green take a Transformative perspective, while the questions in purple take a Expressive perspective:
The catalyst for my creation of the Expressive window was the lack of acknowledgement of subjective, internal, sensory, creative and aesthetic experiences from information literacy frameworks in K-12 and higher education. For me, the Expressive and Transformative windows are the most important, as they encourage students to be active in making meaning through creating, expressing, reflecting and critiquing.