Reflections on digital literacy

During these 2 weeks I have learnt a lot about digital literacy. Yes, what is it? :-). In our group we decided to dig a bit deeper with respect to i) the student and teacher perspective, e.g. how to get all students onboard given different initial capacities? and to ii) the organizational perspective, e.g. what is needed to implement ICT in education? We found many things and we are currently producing a presentation of our findings.

Before these 2 weeks I had spent very limited time thinking about digital literacy (diglit). I noticed that definitions vary: The American Library Association (ALA) defines digital literacy as “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” The JISC guide from 2014 on ‘Developing digital literacies’ states that “Digital literacies are those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society” (http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/digital-literacies/), and also emphasizes that digital literacy is something that evolves al the time given that technologies develop. Beetham and Sharpe’s pyramid framework (2010) illustrates the multidimensional of digital literacy as four levels are identified starting with the fundamental condition ‘Access’ (internet and technologies are available) followed by Skills’ (able to use technologies and interact). The third level ‘Practices’ refer to the students choice of how they use technologies and interact and the final fourth level deals with the attitude and identity in relation to their learning.

So diglit is technology skills, it is capability to interact and communicate, it is thinking critical, it is functioning in the current society – it is a lot! I think my own first thoughts about ‘diglit’ was mainly focusing on the technical aspects. When I have now deepened my knowledge about diglit I see it is much more to it and several aspect to take into account, particularly when meeting students in education (e.g. how do I meet students being at different maturity with respect to diglit?) and collaborators in the digital world. Also, it made me very aware that I as a teacher cannot stop learning, I am also a learner, and surely this area will evolve constantly.

Implementing ICT in education can be made with several approaches but what we found were that fundaments were strong visions and leadership and also to anchor the knew way to work by having as having continuous conversations among all stakeholders, where stakeholders then include all involved, leaders, teachers, students, parents etc. And of course, infrastructure, educated teachers and preparation of students are necessary. http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/digital-literacies/, https://tech.ed.gov/files/2017/01/NETP17.pdf, https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Digital-Strategy-for-Schools-2015-2020.pdf

I think that at many organizations the strong leadership and the efforts made to anchor the new work way are not always fully implemented, but the main focus is on having the technologies available (infrastructure). I can recognize that from my own organisation.


My own digital literacy

When listening to the webinar on ‘Digital literacies’ with David White and Jörg Pareigis I started to think about and learnt a lot about my own diglit. I also during this hour acknowledged new definitions like digital natives and immigrants, visitor and resident, digital maps and much more. I thought the mapping was very interesting and started to do a map before the resident/visitor and private/public aspect were introduced and this is what it looked like, a little childish, BUT, a lot of usage and interactions ?

I did do another map with the resident/visitor and private/public aspects included, but I think I would need to do second one since my understanding of visitor and resident has changed over the week. However, I think it will take some time before I am “fluent” wrt diglit; I am typically used to many things digitally and not afraid of computers and technical solutions, but when it comes to the levels of interacting and communicating I have much to learn. The tweet chat was a first step. But I am enjoying!

Topic 1: Online participation and digital literacies (ONL192)