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Regional Education Expertise Forum (REEF) RESEARCH BRIEFING Digital Literacy In Schools
Regional Education Expertise Forum (REEF) RESEARCH BRIEFING Digital Literacy In Schools
Regional Education Expertise Forum (REEF) RESEARCH BRIEFING Digital Literacy In Schools
Regional Education Expertise Forum (REEF) RESEARCH BRIEFING Digital Literacy In Schools
Regional Education Expertise Forum (REEF) RESEARCH BRIEFING Digital Literacy In Schools
Regional Education Expertise Forum (REEF) RESEARCH BRIEFING Digital Literacy In Schools
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Regional Education Expertise Forum (REEF) RESEARCH BRIEFING Digital Literacy In Schools

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This research brief on digital literacy in schools was completed by Isabelle Brent of Sheffield Hallam University in Summer 2012 and was commissioned by the Collaboration Sheffield: Leading …

This research brief on digital literacy in schools was completed by Isabelle Brent of Sheffield Hallam University in Summer 2012 and was commissioned by the Collaboration Sheffield: Leading Transformational Change project, funded by HEFCE. If you are interested in finding out more about the project and related activities,
please contact reef@sheffield.ac.uk

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  • 1. Further reading The HEFCE-funded project Leading Transformational Change explored ways to strengthen Regional Education collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University to support theBrumberger, E. (2011). “Visual Literacy and the Digital Native: An Examination of the Millennial business strengths and aspirations of the Sheffield region. Expertise Forum (REEF)Learner.” Journal of Visual Literacy 30(1): 19-46. As part of the project, the Schools of Education at both Universities collaborated on a range of RESEARCH BRIEFINGCarrington, V. (2009). From Wikipedia to the humble classroom Wiki: why we should pay attention activities to support educational development in the City region. This included developing researchto Wikis. Digital Literacies: Social Learning and Classroom Practices. V. Carrington and M. briefs, which aim to provide a summary of key research on a range of educational topics. Digital Literacy In SchoolsRobinson. London, Sage: 65-80.Hague, C. and S. Payton (2010). Digital literacy across the Curriculum. Slough, Futurelab.Hague, C. and B. Williamson (2009). Digital participation, digital literacy, and school subjects: Areview of the policies, literature and evidence, Futurelab.Lee, M., C. McLoughlin, et al. (2008). “Talk the talk: Learner-generated podcasts as catalysts forknowledge creation.” British Journal of Educational Technology 39(3): 501-521.Marsh, J., Brooks, G., Hughes, J., Ritchie, L., & Roberts, S. (2005). Digital beginnings: Youngchildren’s use of popular culture, media and new technologies. Sheffield, U.K.: University ofSheffield. Retrieved from http://www.digitalbeginings.shef.ac.uk/Merchant, G. (2005). “Digikids: cool dudes and the new writing.” E-Learning 2(1): 50-60.Mills, K. (2010). “Shrek meets Vygotsky.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 54(1): 35-45.Rowlands, I., D. Nicholas, et al. (2008). “The Google generation: the information behaviour of theresearcher of the future.” Aslib ….Selwyn, N. (2009). “The digital native – myth and reality.” Aslib Proceedings 61(4).Selwyn, N. (2011). Schools and schooling in the digital age : a critical analysis. London, Routledge.Williamson, B. and C. Hague (2009). “Digital participation, digital literacy, and school subjects:A review of the policies, literature and evidence.” Futurelab (92a254a6-fd08-c7cb-2322-7ca80a834090). Contact informationYan, L. and M. Ranieri (2010). “Are ‘digital natives’ really digitally competent? – A study on Chineseteenagers.” British Journal of Educational Technology 41(6): 1029-1042 This research brief was completed by Isabelle Brent of Sheffield Hallam University in Summer 2012 and was commissioned by the Collaboration Sheffield: Leading Transformational Change project, funded by HEFCE. If you are interested in finding out more about the project and related activities, please contact reef@sheffield.ac.uk Faculty of Development and Society School of Education Sheffield Hallam University University of Sheffield City Campus 388 Glossop Road Howard Street Sheffield S10 2JA Sheffield S1 1WB Phone 0114 222 8177 Fax 0114 222 8105 Phone 0114 225 5555 Email edu-enquiries@sheffield.ac.uk Fax 0114 225 4449 Email fdsenquiries@shu.ac.uk
  • 2. IntroductionIn this review we provide an overview of digital literacy in schools. This begins with an overviewof research and related issues in the school sector. This is followed by a discussion of theimplications for policy and practice.SummaryBackgroundDigital technology is now well-embedded in contemporary social life and is increasingly beingused in schools to support learning particularly through the use of computers, interactive whiteboards and mobile technologies. Futurelab defines digital literacy as: Knowing how technology and media affect the ways in which we go about finding things out, communicating with one another, and gaining knowledge and understanding. And it also means understanding how technologies and media can shape and influence the ways in which school subjects can be taught and learnt. (Williamson and Hague 2009: 5)Teachers are routinely expected to combine the development of students’ subject knowledgewith the ability to use technology safely and effectively (Hague and Williamson 2009). The UK What can teachers do to approach these issues in Conclusionsis relatively well provided for in terms of computers per pupil and access to other digital media. schools? To conclude, the widespread use of digital technology amongst children of all ages does notHowever teachers’ use of digital technology is inconsistent and many continue to focus on the mean they have digital skills appropriate for school use. Teachers have a pivotal role to play inpassive delivery of information with PowerPoint or interactive whiteboards (Selwyn 2011). Research Research shows varying degrees of experience and competence with digital technology amongst incorporating digital literacy in their work which enables children to access the curriculum throughinto new Web 2.0 technologies shows innovative use which contributes to digital literacy such children; however, the positive role that teachers can play is clear. International research indicates digital tools and develop a critical appreciation of the digital world.as creative writing in online synchronous communication (Merchant 2005), collaborative wikis that educational experiences may be more important than the availability of technological tools in(Carrington 2009) and podcasting (Lee, McLoughlin et al. 2008). the home (Yan and Ranieri 2010) in predicting high levels of digital competence. Mills (2010) describes the necessity for teachers to provide expert guidance in supporting the Implications for policy and practiceDigital natives? development of digital literacy. She proposes a scaffolding model where teachers structure • Teachers should recognise that children come to school with a variety of experiences and students’ experiences to enable them to eventually work independently. competences with digital technology. It should not be assumed they automatically haveDigital literacy can play an important part in learning for all children – all of whom were bornafter the advent of widespread access to digital technology. Much has been written about this acquired particular skills outside the school setting.generation; they have been variously labelled as ‘digital natives’ and ‘millennials’ and claims have Strategies for engaging children with digital literacy • Children should be encouraged and supported in the development of digital literacy practicesbeen made as to their digital technology skills that are supposed to far surpass those of their that are safe, ethical and advantageous. • Creating educational applications for tools children are already familiar with – forparents and teachers – the so-called ‘digital immigrants’ (Hague and Payton 2010). example, class projects using mobile technology such as iPods and mobile phones. • Schools should have a clear and comprehensive policy on the use of social media and portable devices. Currently there is a great divide between those schools that encourage thisEvidence collected by researchers does not support these claims. Suggestions that the younger • Enabling children to engage with a broader audience – blogs are an ideal way of media and those than ban it.generation are more visually literate than their elders have been refuted (Brumberger 2011;Selwyn encouraging literacy and enable children to share their work and invite responses. • Children’s progress in digital literacy should be monitored and assessed to ensure individual2009). Age is an important consideration when researching children’s experiences: the social, • Facilitating links with local organisations – for example creating QR codes to contribute to progress.cultural and cognitive backgrounds of a seven year old are very different to those of a fifteen year a local museum. • Schools should integrate Open Educational Resources into the curriculum to encourageold (Selwyn 2009). Research by the British Library of students on entry to university suggests that • Encouraging children to create digital artefacts – rather than being passive consumers of openness and to educate children in an awareness of copyright and sharing resources onlinethe academic searching skills of young people has been over estimated (Rowlands, Nicholas educational broadcasting, allowing children to make their own films using simple hardware and software. • Digital tools should also be integrated into opportunities for teachers’ professionalet al. 2008). Nevertheless, there is evidence that many young children acquire a range of skills, development.knowledge and understanding through their engagement in digital technologies outside of school • Integrate digital literacy into children’s research skills – using social-bookmarking sites For further information, including case studies and a full literature review, see Digital Futures inand that this occurs from a young age (Marsh et al., 2005). (such as Diigo) for children to form groups and add their own bookmarks and evaluate those Teacher Education, an open resource on digital literacy for educators, teachers and schools of others on a particular research topic. (www.digitalfutures.org).
  • 3. IntroductionIn this review we provide an overview of digital literacy in schools. This begins with an overviewof research and related issues in the school sector. This is followed by a discussion of theimplications for policy and practice.SummaryBackgroundDigital technology is now well-embedded in contemporary social life and is increasingly beingused in schools to support learning particularly through the use of computers, interactive whiteboards and mobile technologies. Futurelab defines digital literacy as: Knowing how technology and media affect the ways in which we go about finding things out, communicating with one another, and gaining knowledge and understanding. And it also means understanding how technologies and media can shape and influence the ways in which school subjects can be taught and learnt. (Williamson and Hague 2009: 5)Teachers are routinely expected to combine the development of students’ subject knowledgewith the ability to use technology safely and effectively (Hague and Williamson 2009). The UK What can teachers do to approach these issues in Conclusionsis relatively well provided for in terms of computers per pupil and access to other digital media. schools? To conclude, the widespread use of digital technology amongst children of all ages does notHowever teachers’ use of digital technology is inconsistent and many continue to focus on the mean they have digital skills appropriate for school use. Teachers have a pivotal role to play inpassive delivery of information with PowerPoint or interactive whiteboards (Selwyn 2011). Research Research shows varying degrees of experience and competence with digital technology amongst incorporating digital literacy in their work which enables children to access the curriculum throughinto new Web 2.0 technologies shows innovative use which contributes to digital literacy such children; however, the positive role that teachers can play is clear. International research indicates digital tools and develop a critical appreciation of the digital world.as creative writing in online synchronous communication (Merchant 2005), collaborative wikis that educational experiences may be more important than the availability of technological tools in(Carrington 2009) and podcasting (Lee, McLoughlin et al. 2008). the home (Yan and Ranieri 2010) in predicting high levels of digital competence. Mills (2010) describes the necessity for teachers to provide expert guidance in supporting the Implications for policy and practiceDigital natives? development of digital literacy. She proposes a scaffolding model where teachers structure • Teachers should recognise that children come to school with a variety of experiences and students’ experiences to enable them to eventually work independently. competences with digital technology. It should not be assumed they automatically haveDigital literacy can play an important part in learning for all children – all of whom were bornafter the advent of widespread access to digital technology. Much has been written about this acquired particular skills outside the school setting.generation; they have been variously labelled as ‘digital natives’ and ‘millennials’ and claims have Strategies for engaging children with digital literacy • Children should be encouraged and supported in the development of digital literacy practicesbeen made as to their digital technology skills that are supposed to far surpass those of their that are safe, ethical and advantageous. • Creating educational applications for tools children are already familiar with – forparents and teachers – the so-called ‘digital immigrants’ (Hague and Payton 2010). example, class projects using mobile technology such as iPods and mobile phones. • Schools should have a clear and comprehensive policy on the use of social media and portable devices. Currently there is a great divide between those schools that encourage thisEvidence collected by researchers does not support these claims. Suggestions that the younger • Enabling children to engage with a broader audience – blogs are an ideal way of media and those than ban it.generation are more visually literate than their elders have been refuted (Brumberger 2011;Selwyn encouraging literacy and enable children to share their work and invite responses. • Children’s progress in digital literacy should be monitored and assessed to ensure individual2009). Age is an important consideration when researching children’s experiences: the social, • Facilitating links with local organisations – for example creating QR codes to contribute to progress.cultural and cognitive backgrounds of a seven year old are very different to those of a fifteen year a local museum. • Schools should integrate Open Educational Resources into the curriculum to encourageold (Selwyn 2009). Research by the British Library of students on entry to university suggests that • Encouraging children to create digital artefacts – rather than being passive consumers of openness and to educate children in an awareness of copyright and sharing resources onlinethe academic searching skills of young people has been over estimated (Rowlands, Nicholas educational broadcasting, allowing children to make their own films using simple hardware and software. • Digital tools should also be integrated into opportunities for teachers’ professionalet al. 2008). Nevertheless, there is evidence that many young children acquire a range of skills, development.knowledge and understanding through their engagement in digital technologies outside of school • Integrate digital literacy into children’s research skills – using social-bookmarking sites For further information, including case studies and a full literature review, see Digital Futures inand that this occurs from a young age (Marsh et al., 2005). (such as Diigo) for children to form groups and add their own bookmarks and evaluate those Teacher Education, an open resource on digital literacy for educators, teachers and schools of others on a particular research topic. (www.digitalfutures.org).
  • 4. IntroductionIn this review we provide an overview of digital literacy in schools. This begins with an overviewof research and related issues in the school sector. This is followed by a discussion of theimplications for policy and practice.SummaryBackgroundDigital technology is now well-embedded in contemporary social life and is increasingly beingused in schools to support learning particularly through the use of computers, interactive whiteboards and mobile technologies. Futurelab defines digital literacy as: Knowing how technology and media affect the ways in which we go about finding things out, communicating with one another, and gaining knowledge and understanding. And it also means understanding how technologies and media can shape and influence the ways in which school subjects can be taught and learnt. (Williamson and Hague 2009: 5)Teachers are routinely expected to combine the development of students’ subject knowledgewith the ability to use technology safely and effectively (Hague and Williamson 2009). The UK What can teachers do to approach these issues in Conclusionsis relatively well provided for in terms of computers per pupil and access to other digital media. schools? To conclude, the widespread use of digital technology amongst children of all ages does notHowever teachers’ use of digital technology is inconsistent and many continue to focus on the mean they have digital skills appropriate for school use. Teachers have a pivotal role to play inpassive delivery of information with PowerPoint or interactive whiteboards (Selwyn 2011). Research Research shows varying degrees of experience and competence with digital technology amongst incorporating digital literacy in their work which enables children to access the curriculum throughinto new Web 2.0 technologies shows innovative use which contributes to digital literacy such children; however, the positive role that teachers can play is clear. International research indicates digital tools and develop a critical appreciation of the digital world.as creative writing in online synchronous communication (Merchant 2005), collaborative wikis that educational experiences may be more important than the availability of technological tools in(Carrington 2009) and podcasting (Lee, McLoughlin et al. 2008). the home (Yan and Ranieri 2010) in predicting high levels of digital competence. Mills (2010) describes the necessity for teachers to provide expert guidance in supporting the Implications for policy and practiceDigital natives? development of digital literacy. She proposes a scaffolding model where teachers structure • Teachers should recognise that children come to school with a variety of experiences and students’ experiences to enable them to eventually work independently. competences with digital technology. It should not be assumed they automatically haveDigital literacy can play an important part in learning for all children – all of whom were bornafter the advent of widespread access to digital technology. Much has been written about this acquired particular skills outside the school setting.generation; they have been variously labelled as ‘digital natives’ and ‘millennials’ and claims have Strategies for engaging children with digital literacy • Children should be encouraged and supported in the development of digital literacy practicesbeen made as to their digital technology skills that are supposed to far surpass those of their that are safe, ethical and advantageous. • Creating educational applications for tools children are already familiar with – forparents and teachers – the so-called ‘digital immigrants’ (Hague and Payton 2010). example, class projects using mobile technology such as iPods and mobile phones. • Schools should have a clear and comprehensive policy on the use of social media and portable devices. Currently there is a great divide between those schools that encourage thisEvidence collected by researchers does not support these claims. Suggestions that the younger • Enabling children to engage with a broader audience – blogs are an ideal way of media and those than ban it.generation are more visually literate than their elders have been refuted (Brumberger 2011;Selwyn encouraging literacy and enable children to share their work and invite responses. • Children’s progress in digital literacy should be monitored and assessed to ensure individual2009). Age is an important consideration when researching children’s experiences: the social, • Facilitating links with local organisations – for example creating QR codes to contribute to progress.cultural and cognitive backgrounds of a seven year old are very different to those of a fifteen year a local museum. • Schools should integrate Open Educational Resources into the curriculum to encourageold (Selwyn 2009). Research by the British Library of students on entry to university suggests that • Encouraging children to create digital artefacts – rather than being passive consumers of openness and to educate children in an awareness of copyright and sharing resources onlinethe academic searching skills of young people has been over estimated (Rowlands, Nicholas educational broadcasting, allowing children to make their own films using simple hardware and software. • Digital tools should also be integrated into opportunities for teachers’ professionalet al. 2008). Nevertheless, there is evidence that many young children acquire a range of skills, development.knowledge and understanding through their engagement in digital technologies outside of school • Integrate digital literacy into children’s research skills – using social-bookmarking sites For further information, including case studies and a full literature review, see Digital Futures inand that this occurs from a young age (Marsh et al., 2005). (such as Diigo) for children to form groups and add their own bookmarks and evaluate those Teacher Education, an open resource on digital literacy for educators, teachers and schools of others on a particular research topic. (www.digitalfutures.org).
  • 5. Further reading The HEFCE-funded project Leading Transformational Change explored ways to strengthen Regional Education collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University to support theBrumberger, E. (2011). “Visual Literacy and the Digital Native: An Examination of the Millennial business strengths and aspirations of the Sheffield region. Expertise Forum (REEF)Learner.” Journal of Visual Literacy 30(1): 19-46. As part of the project, the Schools of Education at both Universities collaborated on a range of RESEARCH BRIEFINGCarrington, V. (2009). From Wikipedia to the humble classroom Wiki: why we should pay attention activities to support educational development in the City region. This included developing researchto Wikis. Digital Literacies: Social Learning and Classroom Practices. V. Carrington and M. briefs, which aim to provide a summary of key research on a range of educational topics. Digital Literacy In SchoolsRobinson. London, Sage: 65-80.Hague, C. and S. Payton (2010). Digital literacy across the Curriculum. Slough, Futurelab.Hague, C. and B. Williamson (2009). Digital participation, digital literacy, and school subjects: Areview of the policies, literature and evidence, Futurelab.Lee, M., C. McLoughlin, et al. (2008). “Talk the talk: Learner-generated podcasts as catalysts forknowledge creation.” British Journal of Educational Technology 39(3): 501-521.Marsh, J., Brooks, G., Hughes, J., Ritchie, L., & Roberts, S. (2005). Digital beginnings: Youngchildren’s use of popular culture, media and new technologies. Sheffield, U.K.: University ofSheffield. Retrieved from http://www.digitalbeginings.shef.ac.uk/Merchant, G. (2005). “Digikids: cool dudes and the new writing.” E-Learning 2(1): 50-60.Mills, K. (2010). “Shrek meets Vygotsky.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 54(1): 35-45.Rowlands, I., D. Nicholas, et al. (2008). “The Google generation: the information behaviour of theresearcher of the future.” Aslib ….Selwyn, N. (2009). “The digital native – myth and reality.” Aslib Proceedings 61(4).Selwyn, N. (2011). Schools and schooling in the digital age : a critical analysis. London, Routledge.Williamson, B. and C. Hague (2009). “Digital participation, digital literacy, and school subjects:A review of the policies, literature and evidence.” Futurelab (92a254a6-fd08-c7cb-2322-7ca80a834090). Contact informationYan, L. and M. Ranieri (2010). “Are ‘digital natives’ really digitally competent? – A study on Chineseteenagers.” British Journal of Educational Technology 41(6): 1029-1042 This research brief was completed by Isabelle Brent of Sheffield Hallam University in Summer 2012 and was commissioned by the Collaboration Sheffield: Leading Transformational Change project, funded by HEFCE. If you are interested in finding out more about the project and related activities, please contact reef@sheffield.ac.uk Faculty of Development and Society School of Education Sheffield Hallam University University of Sheffield City Campus 388 Glossop Road Howard Street Sheffield S10 2JA Sheffield S1 1WB Phone 0114 222 8177 Fax 0114 222 8105 Phone 0114 225 5555 Email edu-enquiries@sheffield.ac.uk Fax 0114 225 4449 Email fdsenquiries@shu.ac.uk
  • 6. Further reading The HEFCE-funded project Leading Transformational Change explored ways to strengthen Regional Education collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University to support theBrumberger, E. (2011). “Visual Literacy and the Digital Native: An Examination of the Millennial business strengths and aspirations of the Sheffield region. Expertise Forum (REEF)Learner.” Journal of Visual Literacy 30(1): 19-46. As part of the project, the Schools of Education at both Universities collaborated on a range of RESEARCH BRIEFINGCarrington, V. (2009). From Wikipedia to the humble classroom Wiki: why we should pay attention activities to support educational development in the City region. This included developing researchto Wikis. Digital Literacies: Social Learning and Classroom Practices. V. Carrington and M. briefs, which aim to provide a summary of key research on a range of educational topics. Digital Literacy In SchoolsRobinson. London, Sage: 65-80.Hague, C. and S. Payton (2010). Digital literacy across the Curriculum. Slough, Futurelab.Hague, C. and B. Williamson (2009). Digital participation, digital literacy, and school subjects: Areview of the policies, literature and evidence, Futurelab.Lee, M., C. McLoughlin, et al. (2008). “Talk the talk: Learner-generated podcasts as catalysts forknowledge creation.” British Journal of Educational Technology 39(3): 501-521.Marsh, J., Brooks, G., Hughes, J., Ritchie, L., & Roberts, S. (2005). Digital beginnings: Youngchildren’s use of popular culture, media and new technologies. Sheffield, U.K.: University ofSheffield. Retrieved from http://www.digitalbeginings.shef.ac.uk/Merchant, G. (2005). “Digikids: cool dudes and the new writing.” E-Learning 2(1): 50-60.Mills, K. (2010). “Shrek meets Vygotsky.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 54(1): 35-45.Rowlands, I., D. Nicholas, et al. (2008). “The Google generation: the information behaviour of theresearcher of the future.” Aslib ….Selwyn, N. (2009). “The digital native – myth and reality.” Aslib Proceedings 61(4).Selwyn, N. (2011). Schools and schooling in the digital age : a critical analysis. London, Routledge.Williamson, B. and C. Hague (2009). “Digital participation, digital literacy, and school subjects:A review of the policies, literature and evidence.” Futurelab (92a254a6-fd08-c7cb-2322-7ca80a834090). Contact informationYan, L. and M. Ranieri (2010). “Are ‘digital natives’ really digitally competent? – A study on Chineseteenagers.” British Journal of Educational Technology 41(6): 1029-1042 This research brief was completed by Isabelle Brent of Sheffield Hallam University in Summer 2012 and was commissioned by the Collaboration Sheffield: Leading Transformational Change project, funded by HEFCE. If you are interested in finding out more about the project and related activities, please contact reef@sheffield.ac.uk Faculty of Development and Society School of Education Sheffield Hallam University University of Sheffield City Campus 388 Glossop Road Howard Street Sheffield S10 2JA Sheffield S1 1WB Phone 0114 222 8177 Fax 0114 222 8105 Phone 0114 225 5555 Email edu-enquiries@sheffield.ac.uk Fax 0114 225 4449 Email fdsenquiries@shu.ac.uk

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