Understanding and supporting students' digital literacies
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Understanding and supporting students' digital literacies

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This session will introduce the work being undertaken by a JISC- funded study based at the Institute, which is exploring what digital literacies our students are using or need to develop. This work ...

This session will introduce the work being undertaken by a JISC- funded study based at the Institute, which is exploring what digital literacies our students are using or need to develop. This work has followed a phased approach, starting with general data from the iGraduate survey, using this to inform a series of focus groups (with PGCE, Masters, Doctoral and Online MRes students), and to lay the groundwork for a longitudinal study with a dozen students. The findings to date have identified practical challenges facing students' use of technology in their studies, pointed to conceptual issues such as their developing sense of professional and scholarly identity, and allowed us to map the spaces and places that students use or create as they pursue their studies. The presentation will identify early implications and provide an overview of the remainder of the project's work. Participants will be invited to relate the project's work to their students' activities and inform the implementation phase that will conclude the project.

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  • Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Part II: Do They Really Think Differently? On the Horizon, 9 (6). http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part2.pdf
  • Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Part II: Do They Really Think Differently? On the Horizon, 9 (6). http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part2.pdf
  • Bennett, S., Maton, K. &Kervin, L. (2008) The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology 39 (5): 775–786.Jones, C., Ramanau, R., Cross, S. & Healing, G. (2010) Net generation of Digital Natives: is there a distinct new generation entering university? Computers & Education, 54, 722-732Czerniewicz, L., Williams, K., & Brown, C. (2009) Students make a plan: understanding student agency in constraining conditions. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, 17 (2), 75-88.
  • Sharpe, R. & Beetham, H. (2010) Understanding students’ uses of technology for learning: towards creative appropriation. In Sharpe, R., Beetham, H. & de Freitas, S. (eds), Rethinking learning for a Digital Age, 85-99. London: Routledge.Jones, S. & Lea, M. 2008. Digital literacies in the lives of undergraduate students: exploring personal and curricular spheres of practice. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning 6(3), 207-216.
  • Beetham, H., McGill, L. & Littlejohn, A. (2009) Thriving in the 21st century: Learning Literacies for the Digital Age (LLiDA project). http://www.caledonianacademy.net/spaces/LLiDA/uploads/Main/LLiDAreportJune09.pdf
  • EXAMPLES FROM PGCE/OMRES/MA FOCUS GROUPS:Many PGCE/MA students wont check facebook in the libraryOMRES: Informal study groups set up through Skype or some students ‘hang about’ after Elluminate sessions to chat. Some MA and PGCE students tend to check their IOE email in the library rather than at home as they don’t have to log in separately to the portal. However, everyone agrees that the computers take ages to start up and for this reason some students just use the library for browsing books.OMRES: students say that the video affordances of Skype make interactions more intimate than in Elluminate (where many students prefer to write in the ‘text box’ rather than to speak)OMRES: students find that using one resource (e.g. skype for group work) often promotes using another resource (e.g. Googledocs for collaborative writing)
  • Lots of examples across focus groups of how students negotiate access (e.g. different accounts); solve problems (through official channels like inductions/short courses/help-sheets/helpdesk and informal channels like through peers of trial-and-error); and manage info-overload (e.g. discussions on the OMRes are streamed both as posts on the VLE and emails in private inboxes. Some student scan their emails as and when they come in and respond through the VLE aprox once a day)PGCE: some students benefited from short courses on using the whiteboards but many found that on-the-job learning from colleagues at placement schools was more effectiveRESPONSIBILITY = Some OMRes students thought that tutors should be competent in resolving tech problems and more responsive. Some confusion amongst MA students about when to use helpdesk/librarians/tutors
  • PGCE (and MA): Blackboard is used as the primary site for course content but students don’t post on discussion forums (one did but by mistake!) However, many courses have their own Facebook groups set up by students who post regularly about the course – but wouldn’t necessarily want their tutors to see their posts.
  • MA student Nahid shows his study space through video because the audio element is very important for his concentration. (Note digital and handwritten texts)Have the video set to ‘unlisted’ so can be accessed via the link but will change that to private tomorrow afternoon
  • PhD student ‘Django’ uses both virtual stickies and physical post-it notes but for different purposes (post-its for more general and permanent info)
  • Similar themes to those emerging from the focus groups
  • Point 1. Refers to Nahid’s fear of using the iPod with Lesley’s name in a public space in case someone thought it was stolen. (Possibly due to his Bangladeshi ethnicity and greater susceptibility to being ‘stopped-and-searched’ by UK police)

Understanding and supporting students' digital literacies Understanding and supporting students' digital literacies Presentation Transcript

  • Understanding andsupporting students digital literacies Martin Oliver & Jude Fransman
  • Overview• What’s so important about ‘digital literacy’?• An introduction to the JISC project• What we have been doing, and how• Themes and issues• What this might mean for you• What this all might mean for the IOE – Slides available from diglitpga.jiscinvolve.org/ – References included in slide notes 2
  • Context: digital who?• Prensky, Tapscott, Oblinger & Oblinger – Digital natives, Net generation, Generation Y, Millenials…• We know our learners, and they’re not us (even down to how their brains work) 3
  • Some have surmised that teenagers use different parts oftheir brain and think in different ways than adults when at thecomputer. We now know that it goes even further—theirbrains are almost certainly physiologically different. *…+Digital Natives accustomed to the twitch-speed, multitasking, random-access, graphics-first, active, connected, fun, fantasy, quick-payoff world oftheir video games, MTV, and Internet are bored by most oftoday’s education, well meaning as it may be. *…+The cognitive differences of the Digital Natives cry out for newapproaches to education with a better fit.‖ And, interestinglyenough, it turns out that one of the few structures capable ofmeeting the Digital Natives’ changing learning needs andrequirements is the very video and computer games they soenjoy. This is why Digital Game-Based Learning is beginning toemerge and thrive. 4
  • • There are trends, but no generational differences Rather than being empirically and theoretically informed, the debate can be likened to an academic form of a ‘moral panic’ (Bennett, Maton & Kervin, 2008)• Most students use whatever the course requires them to (…but are inconsistent in what they think is “required”…)• There are important exceptions to engagement – E.g. minorities who engage in different ways, in the UK and internationally (Jones, Ramanau, Cross & Healing, 2010; Czerniewicz, Williams & Brown, 2009) 5
  • Context: digital what?• ‘Digital literacy’ pushed nationally but ambiguous – Functional access – Skills development – Situated practices – Creative appropriation / identity work (Sharpe & Beetham, 2010)• Also argued that digital literacies should be understood as textual, not technological, practices (Jones & Lea, 2008) 6
  • • A cluster of issues: – Skills development for ‘economic competitiveness’ – Development of critical and research skills – Many stick to the basics rather than explore possibilities – Most learners are still strongly led by tutors and course practices – ‘Clash’ between informal practices and academic normsThere is a tension between recognising an entitlementto basic digital literacy, and recognising technologypractice as diverse and constitutive of personal identity,including identity in different peer, subject and workplacecommunities, and individual styles of participation. (Beetham, McGill & Littlejohn, 2009) 7
  • JISC project overview• Digital Literacies programme, 10 projects – http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/developingd igitalliteracies/developingdigitalliteraciesprog.aspx• “Digital literacies as a postgraduate attribute”• 2-year funded project – 1st year, student research – 2nd year, implementation projects• What do our students do and need?• What can we change to help them? 8
  • Project teamJude FransmanLesley GourlaySusan McGrathMartin OliverGwyneth Price 9
  • Year one: student research• Start broad and shallow; go deeper – Review of existing data via iGraduate – Focus groups – Journalling study• Introduce each in turn 10
  • iGraduate review• Almost nothing about students’ identity – Blackboard ‘confusing’, library ‘fantastic’• More on study practices – Want more discussion with peers, tutors – Concerns about lack of timely response to accommodation emails, and “ridiculous” password change policy• Little on skills – Requests for orientation sessions 11
  • • Lots about access – Delays getting into VLE (up to two weeks) – Not enough open access computers – Sign on frustratingly slow (up to 20 minutes) – Not all students can access online course info – Frustration about internet access – particularly WiFi – and blocking Skype etc. – Request for out-of-hours IT support 12
  • Focus Groups• Aims: to identify course-specific issues/themes• Methodology: – 3 face-to-face focus groups held with PGCE, MA and PhD students – +1 online focus group with Distance MRes students via Elluminate – Selection: spread across courses, demographics and between part-time/full-time students – Challenges (coordinating the PGCE group)• Focus on resources, domains, practices, identities 13
  • Domains and Resources 14
  • Well, in my bedroom, on my bed, its mainly my mobile and going through my emails, travel information, whether on Facebook, my mobile too. Then, um, and in the study room, thatwould be my laptop and, um, laptop, that would be Blackboard, research, entertainment. (MA student) 15
  • Emerging issues• Who controls access to domains/resources?• How are resources defined as appropriate to one domain or another? (E.g. for study/work socialising)• How do resources function differently in different domains? (E.g. using IOE email in the library/ at home)• How do resources in particular domains configure students relationally? (E.g. Elluminate/Skype)• How do resources connect to other resources? (E.g. Googledocs => Skype) 16
  • Digital PracticesWith the forums, I think I would have found that very difficult totrack posting because when we’re meant to be looking at all the different conversations and participating, I would have found that too time-consuming to trawl through. So, what I found more helpful is just... Obviously you get the e-mail alerts fromany forums that you’re involved in and so I just, you know, check those occasionally and look at all the stuff that’s coming in and make a mental note and then just go in maybe once a day and reply to the ones that relate to me rather than having to searcharound the forums themselves. So, that’s how I’ve handled it but I just kind of did that as my own system. (OMRes student) 17
  • Emerging issues• Searching for and managing information (access/awareness/filtering strategies etc.)• Learning how to use new resources (e.g. Interactive Whiteboards)• Identifying the right resource for the task• Problems with software/hardware/ infrastructure• Who has responsibility for addressing technical problems? 18
  • Student Identities The only thing I struggle with, like I just mentioned it earlier before, is the issue of like keeping your private life separate from your work life because I think increasingly the two,youre being forced to kind of mush the two together. Because like Birkbeck used to have its own email server and it wouldprovide you with an email. Now it’s provided by Gmail and it’s like everybody knows that Gmail is the nosiest thing in the world and tracks absolutely everything you do. And […] Im a little bit uncomfortable with the idea that my work emailknows what shopping I do and, you know what I mean? I just find the whole thing is starting to get a little bit scary. (PhD student) 19
  • Emerging issues• Do digital resources (e.g. VLEs or platforms like Facebook/Skype etc.) segregate or merge student/social/professional identities?• How do students relate to the university as an institution? (E.g. physical building; website; institutional email account; representatives such as exam centres or tutors)• How are students configured or how do they configure themselves as learning communities (E.g. Blackboard/Facebook/Skype/face-to-face meetings etc.) 20
  • Longitudinal journaling• Aims: To generate in-depth multimodal data on student’s digital practices in each of the 4 courses• Methodology – Methodology piloted by the three researchers – 3 students selected from each course (12 in total) – 3 interviews with regular contact in between to discuss data collection – Interest in data collected, representation of data and process of data-collection – Analyzed according to students’ own theorisations of their data – Methodology mediated by the device (iPod Touch) 21
  • Mapping spaces and resources http://youtu.be/3IXGspusiWU 22
  • Access 23
  • Print literacies 24
  • Digital/digitised texts 25
  • 26
  • • Challenges with resources and strategies to resolve them o Knowledge and skills o Problems with technology/ infrastructure o Learning o Institutional and informal support 27
  • • Feelings of belonging/isolation in different spaces mediated by resourcesThe sense of community is much stronger at my new school. People stay at work later- at the old school everyone left early. And at the old school we weren’t given any work space in the English department so we had to work in the staff room but at the new one we have desks so we really feel connected to the department. And its great becauseeveryone works at their desks and then for lunch they have ‘turn-in’ time when we all move our chairs away from our desks and eat together in a circle. (PGCE student) 28
  • Emergingmethodological/conceptual issuesHow are studentsprocessing and representingtheir data?• Different multimodal writing practices (e.g. handwritten journal in notebook V virtual notebook apps)• Video used in different ways (e.g. audio explanation of images; capturing moving images; capturing sound and ambience) 29
  • Domains: access and control• Reluctance to use inscribed iPod in public• Reluctance to use certain modes of data collection in certain spaces (e.g. camera in IOE library because prohibited; video in public galleries because of legal issues or school placements because of personal discomfit) 30
  • So, what might this mean for you?• Just a small window on a complex picture• A few minutes for discussion:• What does this look like from your position? – What technologies do you require students to use? – How do you react when they don’t? – Where and when do they do this? (Do you know?) – What do they struggle with or get concerned about? – What could we (all) do to help them? 31
  • What might this mean for the IOE?• Your feedback: – What should we be aware of in the project? – What needs to be fed back to committees, services, etc? – What do teachers, learners and support staff need to do differently? 32
  • ThanksFor more about the project,including access to the slides from this session,go to: diglitpga.jiscinvolve.org 33