#ocTEL #diglit Week 2 Themes in learner needs: thoughts and resources

I chose to look further into digital literacy, as I already have an interest in this theme.

ocTEL suggested resource 1: Rheingold talk (2009) on 21st century literacies

Key points (my thoughts in brackets):

  • Need to get beyond skills into attributes, also limited unless collaborative (socio-constructivist view point)
  • Critical consumption of internet resources – looking at who the author is, others linked to them, sources used – detective skills.  This skill evolves over time so doing 1 session on it won’t work – need to keep revisiting
  • Attention – even good students do multitasking and this reduces attention on teacher – multitasking not necessarily bad but have not learned how to manage it yet
  • Critical thinking – misunderstood?  Schools fear it as it may lead students to criticise authority?  He is pessimistic re capacity of schools for change – but also concerned about learning outside school and whether this will evolve student attributes (not clear what he does suggest!)
  • Collaboration – linked to collective action, social capital (getting things done without official channels) (what if students don’t want to do this?  Why does he link collaboration with activism – what about collaboration in educational activities, which he doesn’t discuss?)
  • Network awareness – different types of networks have similar characteristics – refers to pre-digital-age sociology literature to help understand what happens on line.  Reference to personal learning networks
  • Using Twitter – don’t necessarily follow all who follow you and vice versa, be selective about who you allow to ‘take up your mindspace’, ‘sample the flow’ ie don’t necessarily have to read everything (unlike email)
  • Teacher’s role – linking digital and non-digital literacies (is this a false division, I wonder, but I like the idea of being signpost/guide/foundation builder)
  • Technologies and literacies co-development (seems pretty obvious!)

Some interesting ideas, but thinking critically, I have the following points:

  • Conflation of political activism with collaborative activities – he was using collective action, examples of protests organised on social media as an example, but I think this confuses the picture.  This is not an educational use of technology – unless in say politics!  I find the conflation of the two unhelpful- and it oversteps the boundaries of education in my view
  • Some of the pedagogies he showed in his class – e.g. moving chairs into a circle are pretty obvious – nothing exactly earth-shattering here, so I think there is some ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ here…
  • Not clear (as above) where he thinks these attributes should be developed – he did not discuss the fact that if it is left until students enter HE, it may be too late as they may be too ‘fixed’ in their digital strategies and preferences.  I felt this thread was left hanging
  • However, notwithstanding these concerns, I do think there is some useful material in his Educause article (2010) about the attributes.

ocTEL suggested resource 2: JISC digital literacies project website

So much stuff on here, that I have just taken a quick tour and bookmarked for later.  However, Helen Beetham also linked to this project in the week 2 webinar.  I found the page by theme helpful in orientating myself in the vast range of resources available.

I am interested in discipline-specific digital literacies, as the iPads pilot I am coordinating at work is grounded in our discipline.  Therefore, I had a look the Professionalism in the digital environment – prIDE project hosted by the University of Bath, part of which has constructed digital literacy frameworks for each faculty – accounting sits within the School of Management at Bath so I looked at that one.  These use Beetham’s pyramid developmental model (as shown in the webinar slides or here) with tailoring for the discipline.  However, the one for management I found a bit underdeveloped – some good basics here but lack of linkage, synthesis and higher-order skills in my view.  I wonder if a good output from our project might be to do a more evolved map with more synthesis, for accounting and finance?!!?

Other resources on this theme

  • Digital literacy and information framework – the Open University.  Quite keen on this and it’sfamiliar from my studies with the OU!
  • Skills@Library from the University of Leeds – http://library.leeds.ac.uk/skills.  My favourite resource so far is the sources evaluation checklist – not purely based on digital, but I think could be tweaked using some of the Rheingold material.   I’ve used this quite successfully in class this semester.  There is a student and lecturer page on learning in a digital age.

2 thoughts on “#ocTEL #diglit Week 2 Themes in learner needs: thoughts and resources

  1. Pingback: Understanding Learners’ Needs – Week 2 Wrap-up | OCTEL

  2. Pingback: Understanding Learners’ Needs – Week 2 Wrap-up | OCTEL

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