DigiLit Leicester
Lucy Atkins
Digital Literacy Research Associate
A bit of context…
2 year Knowledge Exchange Project:
• Richard Hall – De Montfort University
• Josie Fraser – Leicester Ci...
A bit of context…
The project has three key objectives:
• To investigate and define digital literacy, in
the context of se...
Defining Digital Literacy
‘the ability to understand and use
information in multiple formats from a
wide range of sources ...
Defining Digital Literacy
‘Digital Literacy is the awareness, attitude
and ability of individuals to appropriately
use dig...
Defining Digital Literacy
‘To be digitally literate is to have access to
a broad range of practices and cultural
resources...
What might Digital Literacy
look like for educators?
DigiLit Definition
‘To be digitally literate, educators must be
able to utilise technology to enhance and
transform classr...
DigiLit Leicester
Finding, Evaluating and Organising

Creating and Sharing
DigiLit Leicester
Assessment and Feedback

Communication, Collaboration and Participation
DigiLit Leicester
E-Safety and Online Identity

Technology supported Professional Development
2013 Headline Findings
• High overall confidence

• 52% Pioneer
• 26% Entry

• Highest confidence: E-Safety and
Online Ide...
How might we introduce
teachers to the benefits of
social media use within
education?
References
Fraser, J., Atkins, L. and Hall, R. (2013) DigiLit
Leicester: Initial Project Report, Leicester: Leicester
City...
Defining Digital Literacy: in the context of the DigiLit Leicester Project
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Defining Digital Literacy: in the context of the DigiLit Leicester Project

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This presentation was given as part of Tech 2002, Social Media Production, at De Montfort University Leicester on 7th February 2014. The purpose of the session was to reflect on how the definition of digital literacy has developed over the last two decades, and how digital literacy has been defined within the context of the DigiLit Leicester Project (www.digilitleic.com)

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  • The term digital literacy first appeared in the eponymous book by Paul Gilster in 1997. He goes on to note that digital literacy is not simply about technical skills but also about critical thinking. Gilster does not give a prescriptive definition of digital literacy; perhaps it is for this reason that his ideas are still relevant today, surviving the web 2.0 revolution and countless other technical developments since the late 1990s. strengthens Gilster’s claim that digital literacy is not about program-specific skills but principles related to informed use of the internet.
  • Allan Martin has worked extensively on the topic of digital literacy, anddevised the above definition from his research and experiences. It can be seen that whilst Martin’s definition provides a much more detailed description of the competences involved in being a digitally literate individual, he is careful not to refer to any particular forms of technology. It could be argued that the above definition also has more to offer to education; since it is more detailed it is more useful in the development of a scheme for teaching digital literacy.
  • Keeping in mind that this publication is intended as a guide for schools, the links to school practice can be seen clearly in this definition. Creating, collaborating and communicating are all essential aspects of learning in the classroom,and linking these to a knowledge of when to utilise digital resources is an effective way to integrate digital literacy skills into existing classroom practice. My own personal takeaway from digital literacy is understanding that technology is not always the answer – sometimes post-it notes and pens are the most effective method.
  • Your Comments:Internet skills – searching, critical evaluation (crap detecting)Being able to use technology in a way which is relevant to their setting (Primary, Secondary, FE, HE)Enhancing the learning experience by including interactive elements
  • This recognises the importance for staff: first, in developing the skills to utilise technology purposefully within the classroom; second, in critiquing the underlying knowledge and attitudes that enhance their existing practices; and third, in being positive role models for the critical use of technology.
  • From this initial definition, and through our collaboration with schools and experts in the field of digital literacy, we developed 6 key areas for secondary teaching and teaching support staff.
  • The internet is home to a huge range of information, resources and research that can be used to support and develop learning and teaching. The Finding, Evaluating and Organising strand includes the skills required to successfully search for information and resources online, the knowhow needed to identify reliable sources of information and to be able to apply a range of approaches for organising online content. As an educator you will need to be able to manage a wide range of digital information and resources, including those that you create yourself. The Creating and Sharing strand covers using online tools to create original materials, and building on or repurposing existing resources, for the classroom. You should know how to identify resources that you have permission to use and remix, and also how to openly share your own materials. You should be able to support learners in creating their own resources and portfolios of work. As an educator you need to be aware of the legal requirements relating to the use of online and digital resources, for example copyright law, and the range of open licenses available, for example Creative Commons licensing.
  • Web-based and mobile technologies provide a range of opportunities for educators and learners to assess attainment and track progress, to identify where students are having difficulties and to provide feedback, including peer assessment. The Assessment and Feedback strand also includes how staff make use of technologies to support learners in monitoring and managing their own learning and to ensure teaching approaches are effective, and adjusting these to suit learners’ pace and needs. Digital tools and environments offer staff and learners a range of collaborative opportunities, supporting the co-design and co-production of resources, providing new approaches to participation and supporting learner voice. Staff and students can use technologies to connect and learn both with and from other learners and experts from around the world. The Communication, Collaboration and Participation strand involves the use of communication technologies, for example types of social media including, wikis, blogs and social networking sites, to support learning activities and enhance school communications, planning and management.
  • The use of technology is increasingly integrated into everyday life, and the value of using both private and public digital environments to support learning, teaching and communications is well recognised by educators. Schools and school staff support learners in understanding the negative effects of inappropriate online behaviour, and in ensuring learners understand what responsibilities they have as members and representatives of a school community. The E-Safety and Online Identity strand underpins educators’ and learners’ use of digital environments for formal and informal learning, including – understanding how to keep both yourself and your learners safe online, and how appropriate and positive online behaviours can be modelled in classroom practice.All school staff benefit from engagement with Continuous Professional Development (CPD) – keeping up to date in their subject and curriculum area, and in teaching approaches and methods. Web and mobile based technologies have changed the landscape for school staff in terms of how they can connect to other educators both locally and across the globe. Personal Learning Networks (PLN), developed and managed by educators allow school staff to discover, discuss and share relevant ideas, resources and approaches. The Technology supported Professional Development strand focuses on how educators can and are making use of technology to take their practice forward.
  • The survey opened by asking staff “How confident do you feel about using technology to support teaching and learning practices?”. On a scale where 1=Not at all confident and 7=Extremely confident, the majority of staff marked their overall confidence in using technology to support teaching and learning as 6, suggesting that the majority of staff feel very confident. Fifty-two per cent of the staff across the city who participated in the survey classified their skills and confidence at the highest level – Pioneer - in one or more of the six key digital literacy areas. The Pioneer level is described as a member of staff who has fully integrated technology into their teaching practice and shares their experiences with colleagues and others. They may seek out opportunities to develop their professional understanding, skills and practice, and may be reflective about their use of technology.  Twenty-six per cent of all those who participated in the survey placed themselves at Entry level in one or more of the six key areas, highlighting a significant minority of staff who identify themselves as not being confident in using technology to support these aspects of their practice.Staff across the city rate their skills and confidence highest in the area of E-Safety and Online Identity, with 43 per cent of all respondents scoring at Pioneer level. The Pioneer level of this theme describes staff who have a positive, active online identity, take a whole school community approach to e-safety and cyberbullying activities and education, and are able to advise learners and colleagues. City-wide, staff feel least confident in the area of Communication, Collaboration and Participation, with 12 per cent of staff rating themselves as Entry level. This suggests that they may require further support in the use of social and collaborative technologies, for example wikis, blogs, social bookmarking tools and networking sites. Used effectively, collaborative technologies can increase learning opportunities, enhance learner engagement and help to connect communities across schools.  
  • Your Comments:Using students and more confident staff to create resources around social media useBringing in University age students (through projects such as Mile²) to deliver staff development opportunitiesSet homework for students to create a presentation about positive uses of social media to support teaching and learningDevelop digital literacy guidance for social media – around effective use and etiquetteRaise awareness of the other social media platforms available – and demonstrate/showcase ways they can be usedSupport teachers in developing a professional social media profile – an account which can remain detached from personal online activity.
  • Defining Digital Literacy: in the context of the DigiLit Leicester Project

    1. 1. DigiLit Leicester Lucy Atkins Digital Literacy Research Associate
    2. 2. A bit of context… 2 year Knowledge Exchange Project: • Richard Hall – De Montfort University • Josie Fraser – Leicester City Council • 23 Leicester City BSF schools • Developing secondary school staff digital literacy, through the implementation of a self-evaluation framework.
    3. 3. A bit of context… The project has three key objectives: • To investigate and define digital literacy, in the context of secondary school based practice; • To identify current school staff confidence levels, and what the strengths and gaps across city schools are, in relation to this definition; • To support staff in developing their digital literacy skills and knowledge - raising baseline skills and confidence levels across the city, and promoting existing effective and innovative practice.
    4. 4. Defining Digital Literacy ‘the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers’ Paul Gilster 1997, p.1
    5. 5. Defining 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, analyze 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.’ Martin 2008, pp.166-167
    6. 6. Defining Digital Literacy ‘To be digitally literate is to have access to a broad range of practices and cultural resources that you are able to apply to digital tools. It is the ability to make and share meaning in different modes and formats; to create, collaborate and communicate effectively and to understand how and when digital technologies can best be used to support these processes.’ Hague and Payton 2010, p.2
    7. 7. What might Digital Literacy look like for educators?
    8. 8. DigiLit Definition ‘To be digitally literate, educators must be able to utilise technology to enhance and transform classroom practices, and to enrich their own professional development and identity. The digitally literate educator will be able to think critically about why, how and when technology supplements learning and teaching.’
    9. 9. DigiLit Leicester Finding, Evaluating and Organising Creating and Sharing
    10. 10. DigiLit Leicester Assessment and Feedback Communication, Collaboration and Participation
    11. 11. DigiLit Leicester E-Safety and Online Identity Technology supported Professional Development
    12. 12. 2013 Headline Findings • High overall confidence • 52% Pioneer • 26% Entry • Highest confidence: E-Safety and Online Identity • Lowest confidence: Communication, Collaboration and Participation
    13. 13. How might we introduce teachers to the benefits of social media use within education?
    14. 14. References Fraser, J., Atkins, L. and Hall, R. (2013) DigiLit Leicester: Initial Project Report, Leicester: Leicester City Council (CC BY-NC 3.0) Gilster, P. (1997) Digital Literacy. New York: John Wiley & Sons, inc. Hague, C. and Payton, S. (2010) Digital Literacy across the curriculum: a Futurelab handbook. Futurelab. Martin, A. (2008) Digital Literacy and the ‘Digital Society’. In: Lankshear, C. and Knobel, M. (eds.) Digital Literacies: concepts, policies and practices. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 151-176.
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