Digital Literacy literature review: from terminology to action

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This is a copy of the talk I gave at the "Digital Literacy: Shock of the Old 2009" conference at Oxford University on 4th April 2009

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Digital Literacy literature review: from terminology to action

  1. 1. Consequences of a digital literacy review: moving from terminology to action Dr Tabetha Newman www.timmuslimited.co.uk April 2009
  2. 2. Consequences of a digital literacy review: moving from terminology to action Dr Tabetha Newman www.timmuslimited.co.uk April 2009 ! Beware! Contains multiple definitions. Can cause semantic argument / headaches.
  3. 3. Today’s talk Let’s hope I can reduce the complexity of digital literacy into 20 minutes… 3. Digital literacy models 2. Today’s learners 1. What is ‘digital literacy’? <ul><li>Becta literature review: (1) clarify terminology, (2) describe levels, enablers, blockers (3) synthesise models into one </li></ul>4. Conclusion
  4. 4. 1. What is digital literacy? So much terminology, so any viewpoints, so little time… Digital literacy Information literacy Media literacy E-literacy ICT literacy Computer literacy Information fluency Critical/basic skills E-safety Digital literacies ?
  5. 5. 1. What is digital literacy? Converting all nineteen definitions in L&K (2008) into a tag cloud
  6. 6. 1. What is digital literacy? “ The awareness, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools and facilities to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, analyse and synthesise 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” The DigEuLit Project’s definition is holistic and usable (Martin 2006)
  7. 7. 1. What is digital literacy? Three components of digital literacy emerge from the literature Social awareness (understand your identity, collaborate, adapt communication to context/audience) Knowledge of digital tools (hard/software awareness/competence – ICT literacy?) Critical thinking (evaluating, contextualising – information literacy?)
  8. 8. 1. What is digital literacy? Knowledge of digital tools (hard/software awareness/competence – ICT literacy?) Critical thinking (evaluating, contextualising – information literacy?) Social awareness (understand your identity, collaborate, adapt communication to context/audience) Including skills and personality, and an understanding of ‘teachability’
  9. 9. 1. What is digital literacy? Context of use in current research TV advertising bias (diet) Outside formal education Passive , free-willed activity Watching digital media Consuming (push) Information seeking, web searching Formal educational setting Active, directed activity Interacting with digital media Task-based, problem solving (pull) Digital Literacy Media Literacy
  10. 10. <ul><li>Unlikely to get a short definition that everyone agrees with – trying to describe something that constantly evolves with the creation of new digital (therefore social) contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Digital tool knowledge + critical thinking + social awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Martin’s definition gives a good starting point </li></ul><ul><li>Will evolve, e.g. some suggest pluralizing to encompass all skill-sets and literacies </li></ul><ul><li>Significant proportion skills-related and teachable… </li></ul><ul><li>… but it’s not just skill-related and task-based </li></ul>1. What is digital literacy? My ‘terminology’ conclusions… define loosely and anticipate future evolution!
  11. 11. 2. Today’s learners <ul><li>Most young people have inadequate web search and evaluation skills </li></ul><ul><li>Impact ICT overestimated: often undirected in classroom as enrichment </li></ul><ul><li>Students are often disheartened during web searches, and want to know how to carry out research projects well </li></ul><ul><li>Frequently incorrectly assumed that: </li></ul><ul><li>ICT exposure = ICT competence </li></ul><ul><li>Young people = Automatically digitally literate </li></ul><ul><li>Access to lots of information = Quality information </li></ul>Evidence for current levels of digital literacy skills (findings of review)
  12. 12. 2. Today’s learners What ENABLES the development of digital literacy skills? (findings of review) <ul><li>Embed digital literacy into subjects and research projects to provide context </li></ul><ul><li>Training and guided practice for students regarding research skills, step moves from high practitioner guidance to independent learning </li></ul><ul><li>Hidden benefits Acknowledge this investment may increase learner employability, satisfaction and engagement but not necessarily attainment as we currently measure it </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Underestimation of young people’s understanding of use and breadth of digital tools and overestimation of critical thinking skills </li></ul><ul><li>High guidance or nothing. Students mainly taught with high guidance, occasionally dropped into independent learning (e.g. web searching) with no training or support </li></ul><ul><li>Recounting not re-contextualising. Practitioners/exam bodies need to avoid this or will block critical thinking and promote plagiarism </li></ul><ul><li>Exam/reality mismatch: Recall of facts versus adaptive, collaborative life skills. </li></ul>What BLOCKS the development of digital literacy skills? (findings of review) 2. Today’s learners
  14. 14. 3. Digital Literacy models <ul><li>Many have tried to simplify into list of skills and order </li></ul><ul><li>Now considered sometimes useful, but overly-simplistic </li></ul>Yikes! The M word : what does it mean? (findings from review)
  15. 15. 3. Digital Literacy models <ul><li>Two types of model: </li></ul>Two basic types, most are process models <ul><li>Models over-simplify… </li></ul><ul><li>… but learners/practitioners/policy makers asking for simple, usable framework to incorporate digital literacy skills into current teaching practice </li></ul>
  16. 16. 3. Digital Literacy models: a synthesis (Hoping to) amalgamate the mass of models into one for practitioners CLOSED ENQUIRY Learner responds to practitioner-generated question OPEN ENQUIRY Learner defines own question High-level of guidance Low-level of guidance No guidance Structured guidelines Self-determined guidelines Define Access Understand & evaluate Create Communicate
  17. 17. 3. Digital Literacy models: a synthesis Simplifying the ‘process’ stages involved in task-based learning projects CLOSED ENQUIRY Learner responds to practitioner-generated question OPEN ENQUIRY Learner defines own question High-level of guidance Low-level of guidance No guidance Structured guidelines Self-determined guidelines Define Access Understand & evaluate Create Communicate
  18. 18. 3. Digital Literacy models: a synthesis Development (Willison & O’Regan 2005) Adding a ‘developmental’ axis to highlight need for practice and collaboration CLOSED ENQUIRY Learner responds to practitioner-generated question OPEN ENQUIRY Learner defines own question High-level of guidance Low-level of guidance No guidance Structured guidelines Self-determined guidelines Define Access Understand & evaluate Create Communicate
  19. 19. 3. Digital Literacy models: a synthesis Provide room for teacher to add context, or learner to describe their process CLOSED ENQUIRY Learner responds to practitioner-generated question OPEN ENQUIRY Learner defines own question High-level of guidance Low-level of guidance No guidance Structured guidelines Self-determined guidelines Define Access Understand & evaluate Create Communicate
  20. 20. <ul><li>Only relevant for task-based learning </li></ul><ul><li>Some value: most current opportunities are via task-based projects, framework useful start for newbies </li></ul><ul><li>Needs digitally literate practitioner to bring it to life </li></ul><ul><li>Definitely over-simplifies digital literacy and restricts user to linear approach (damaging?) </li></ul><ul><li>Best used as a foundation: where we are now, and a starting point from which to describe where we want to be in 5 years time </li></ul>3. Digital Literacy models: a synthesis Now we’ve got this model, do we use it and if so how?
  21. 21. 4. Conclusion <ul><li>Significant proportion of digital literacy involves ‘tools + skills’ and much of this can be taught </li></ul><ul><li>But it involves teaching via practice and context, not theory </li></ul><ul><li>We need to get learners and practitioners up to speed on basics AND embrace evolution of digital literacy concept </li></ul><ul><li>Road mapping can lead to educational reform (e.g. Norway) </li></ul><ul><li>From terminology to action! </li></ul>Conclusions, take-home messages, moving towards action!
  22. 22. <ul><li>Copies of the Literature review (as a catalogue of evidence and separate executive summary) available from www.timmuslimited.co.uk </li></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: tabethanewman </li></ul><ul><li>Skype: tabethanewman </li></ul>Thanks

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