Rethinking disruption:
how students
(re)configure practices
with digital technologies
Lesley Gourlay & Martin Oliver
Insti...
Digital literacies
Considering these points, the DigEuLit project has
developed the following definition of digital litera...
Belshaw‟s Eight Elements of Digital Literacies
Cultural
Cognitive
Constructive
Communicative
Confident
Creative
Critical
C...
“Digital literacy defines those capabilities which fit an
individual for living, learning and working in a digital
society...
Universities and textual
practices
Removing the agency of texts and tools in
formalising movements risks romanticising the...
If you can, with a straight face, maintain that hitting a
nail with and without a hammer, boiling water with
and without a...
Moving on from
taxonomies…
Drawing upon the frameworks outlined above, we
propose as a definition of digital literacies:
t...
…towards
digital
academic
practice
• Academic practices are
overwhelming textual
• These are situated in
social and discip...
Digital Literacies as a
Postgraduate Attribute?
JISC Developing Digital Literacies
Programme
http://diglitpga.jiscinvolve....
Sites of study
BYOD? We always did.
Neither all „institutional‟, nor personal
Office tools (primarily Microsoft, plus Google docs and Pre...
A taxonomic list would be problematic
Time specific (and rapidly dated)
Unfeasibly long
Containing much that‟s irrelevant ...
In my school, I… we had… our staff room was
equipped… one, two, three, four, five, six, seven… seven
computers now we can ...
if I find something that‟s actually very useful and I
want to print, at the IOE you can‟t print double-sided,
so it‟s quit...
So in the library […] if you‟re working at the table
and you want to check your email, you‟ve got to go
and log on – it ta...
17
Conclusions
Digital literacies are not generic, but depend on the people,
things and places that a student can bring toget...
Project blog:
http://diglitpga.jiscinvolve.org/wp/
Project webpage:
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elea
rning/d...
References
Beetham, H. (2011) Developing Digital Literacies: Briefing Paper in support of JISC
Grant Funding 4/11. Availab...
Rethinking disruption: how students (re)configure practices with digital technologies
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Rethinking disruption: how students (re)configure practices with digital technologies

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Students’ study strategies are developing in response to an increasingly digital scholarly environment, and the term ‘digital literacies’ is gaining currency as a means by which to understand and support student engagement. However, 'digital literacies' tend to be positioned as measurable, discrete and ultimately residing in the individual. In this view, the student is seen as a ‘user’ of technologies, suggesting a clear division between the human and machine, action and context, writer/reader and text, and the university and other domains of life.

This conception often reduces debates to questions of ‘skills’, undermining insights from New Literacy Studies (NLS) that ‘skills’ do not exist in a generic, decontextualized form, but are always situated in specific practices (Lea & Street, 1998). However, while NLS emphasises the social rather than the cognitive, it has not placed a great deal of emphasis on the embodied materiality of what students actually do, where they do it and what resources and artefacts they do it with. This paper will argue that Actor Network Theory (Latour, 2005) allows us to develop the insights of NLS by addressing sociomaterial aspects of engagements with texts in more detail.

Drawing on these perspectives, a JISC-funded project was undertaken involving longitudinal, multimodal journaling by a dozen students from four programme areas (PGCE, taught MA, distance MA and doctoral) over a period of nine months. Each was issued with an iPod Touch handheld device and asked to take images and video documenting where and how they studied, and the resources they used. All students were interviewed 3-4 times across this period, with interviews structured around the images and other artefacts provided by the students.

The interviews revealed that what disrupts engagement from these students’ perspective was not the presence of new technologies; instead it was the inability to reconfigure sites of study engagement. Disruption frequently arose from the well-established technologies that the institution provided and expected students to use, rather than from ‘bringing their own devices’ – devices which they were perfectly capable of using successfully in other settings.

https://showtime.gre.ac.uk/index.php/ecentre/apt2013/paper/viewPaper/301

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Rethinking disruption: how students (re)configure practices with digital technologies

  1. 1. Rethinking disruption: how students (re)configure practices with digital technologies Lesley Gourlay & Martin Oliver Institute of Education, University of London l.gourlay@ioe.ac.uk http://diglitpga.jiscinvolve.org
  2. 2. Digital literacies Considering these points, the DigEuLit project has developed the following definition of digital literacy: Digital Literacy is the awareness, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools and facilities to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, analyse and synthesize digital resources, construct new knowledge, create media expressions, and communicate with others, in the context of specific life situations, in order to enable constructive social action; and to reflect upon this process. (Digital competence; digital usage; digital transformation) (Martin & Grudziecki, 2006)
  3. 3. Belshaw‟s Eight Elements of Digital Literacies Cultural Cognitive Constructive Communicative Confident Creative Critical Civic
  4. 4. “Digital literacy defines those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society.” (Beetham, 2011) Four-tier framework: Access Skills Social practices Identity
  5. 5. Universities and textual practices Removing the agency of texts and tools in formalising movements risks romanticising the practices as well as the humans in them; focusing uniquely on the texts and tools lapses into naïve formalism or techno-centrism. Leander and Lovvorn (2006:301), quoted in Fenwick et al (p104)
  6. 6. If you can, with a straight face, maintain that hitting a nail with and without a hammer, boiling water with and without a kettle...are exactly the same activities, that the introduction of these mundane implements change 'nothing important' to the realisation of tasks, then you are ready to transmigrate to the Far Land of the Social and disappear from this lowly one. (Latour 2005: 71)
  7. 7. Moving on from taxonomies… Drawing upon the frameworks outlined above, we propose as a definition of digital literacies: the constantly changing practices through which people make traceable meanings using digital technologies. Within this broad definition, specific aspects of digital literacies can be investigated and explored further, understood as in many ways offering a continuity to our understandings of literacies in general as social practice. (Gillen & Barton, 2010)
  8. 8. …towards digital academic practice • Academic practices are overwhelming textual • These are situated in social and disciplinary contexts • Textual practices are increasingly digitally mediated • These practices take place across a range of domains • Students create complex assemblages enrolling a range of digital, material, spatial and temporal resources
  9. 9. Digital Literacies as a Postgraduate Attribute? JISC Developing Digital Literacies Programme http://diglitpga.jiscinvolve.org/ Institute of Education, University of London iGraduate survey / Focus groups / multimodal journalling in year 1 Case studies across four areas in year 2: Academic Writing Centre Learning Technologies Unit Library
  10. 10. Sites of study
  11. 11. BYOD? We always did. Neither all „institutional‟, nor personal Office tools (primarily Microsoft, plus Google docs and Prezi) Institutional VLEs (Moodle and Blackboard) Email (institutional, personal and work-based) Synchronous conferencing services (Skype, Elluminate) Calendars (iCal, Google) Search engines and databases (including Google, Google Scholar, library databases, professional databases such as Medline, etc), Social networking sites (Facebook, Academia.edu, LinkedIn) and services (Twitter) Image editing software (photoshop, lightbox) Endnote Reference works (Wikipedia, online dictionaries and social bookmarking sites such as Mendeley) GPS services Devices (PCs at the institution and at home, laptops including MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, Blackberries and E-book readers).
  12. 12. A taxonomic list would be problematic Time specific (and rapidly dated) Unfeasibly long Containing much that‟s irrelevant for individuals Digital literacy as a kind of coping Personal and situated, not monolithic and general
  13. 13. In my school, I… we had… our staff room was equipped… one, two, three, four, five, six, seven… seven computers now we can use and only one of them attached with a printer. So, actually we‟ve got six PGC students over there, so it‟s, kind of, everybody wants to get to that computer where you can use the printer. Yes, so in the end I found actually I can also use the printer from the library in the school. So, six student teachers tried to use other computer. So, it, kind of, sometimes feels a bit crowded. And when the school staff want to use it, well, okay, it seems like we are the invaders, intruders? (Faith)
  14. 14. if I find something that‟s actually very useful and I want to print, at the IOE you can‟t print double-sided, so it‟s quite… it‟s more expensive. So I go to [another college] and use my girlfriend‟s password on the computers there and print. And so I then have to change, so I spend quite a… more time going between libraries if I want to print something. (Juan)
  15. 15. So in the library […] if you‟re working at the table and you want to check your email, you‟ve got to go and log on – it takes 20 minutes to log on and that kind of thing – so whereas this one, you can check the email right there. So even though you‟re not… I‟m not using [my iPod] for studying, it does free up time. (Juan)
  16. 16. 17
  17. 17. Conclusions Digital literacies are not generic, but depend on the people, things and places that a student can bring together to advance their studies Students have always used their own technology „Disruption‟ occurs where students are unable to use technologies to complete their studies The technologies they need to use are influenced by discipline and course Institutions need to take this into account, providing systems that support and permit what our students want and need to do Simple things – better wifi – make a lot of difference
  18. 18. Project blog: http://diglitpga.jiscinvolve.org/wp/ Project webpage: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elea rning/developingdigitalliteracies/DigLitPGAttribut e.aspx Project contacts: Lesley Gourlay (l.gourlay@ioe.ac.uk) Martin Oliver (m.oliver@ioe.ac.uk)
  19. 19. References Beetham, H. (2011) Developing Digital Literacies: Briefing Paper in support of JISC Grant Funding 4/11. Available online: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/funding/2011/04/Briefingpaper.pdf Belshaw, D. (2011) What is „digital literacy‟? A pragmatic investigation. Doctoral Thesis, Durham University. Available online: http://neverendingthesis.com/doug- belshaw-edd-thesis-final.pdf Fenwick, T., Edwards,R. & Sawchuk, P. (2011) Emerging Approaches to Educational Research: Tracing the Sociomaterial. London: Routledge. Gillen, J. & Barton, D. (2010) Digital Literacies: a research briefing by the Technology Enhanced Learning phase of the Teaching and Learning Research Programme. London: London Knowledge Lab. Available online: http://www.tlrp.org/docs/DigitalLiteracies.pdf Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network- Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Martin, A., & Grudziecki, J. (2006). DigEuLit: Concepts and Tools for Digital Literacy Development. Innovation in Teaching And Learning in Information and Computer Sciences, 5 (4), 249 -267.
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