Digital literacy in the
  networked world


      Sonia Livingstone
Beyond the myth of ‘digital natives’

“I think in comparison to my parents and loads of the older
generation I know, I do ...
Left to work it out for themselves?

“Yeah, it's IT, that's what it's called, and you
go, you have about 10 computers in a...
Struggles with digital literacy

“Every time I try to look for something, I can never find it.
It keeps coming up with thi...
An after-school computer club
10 year old children are playing a maths game on the computer. The task is
to navigate a shi...
Candy, 13, doing her homework
Candy was trying to find a German website on food and drink to help her
school work. First, ...
What should digital learning be for?

• New ways to learn the traditional curriculum or new ways to
  learn new things?


...
From digital literacy
             to digital participation

Media literacy is “a technocratic and specialist
term underst...
Participation in what? Problems of
  design, purpose and responsiveness

• Producers - it is “about participation in the b...
Should digital participation . .

• Invite youth to use digital media in their own right, or provide a
  route to change s...
Thank you



s.livingstone@lse.ac.uk
Prof. Sonia Livingstone — Digital Literacy In The Networked World
Prof. Sonia Livingstone — Digital Literacy In The Networked World
Prof. Sonia Livingstone — Digital Literacy In The Networked World
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Prof. Sonia Livingstone — Digital Literacy In The Networked World

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Connected technologies are core to young people’s lives but assumptions about “digital natives” often overestimate their digital literacy skills.

We assume that navigation and search are second nature whereas, in truth, they are often unsure how to change settings and scared of unintended consequences. Many parents feel lost in these new arenas and uneasy about allowing kids to fully engage
What does media literacy mean in this fast changing mediated and networked world?

How can digital tools and content contribute amongst the many other elements that frame children's learning?

Does digital participation enable young people to understand their rights and responsibilities, or help them develop skills they'll need as future citizens? How can digital technologies connect peers and strengthen connections between learners and adults?

Sonia will propose that a more realistic understanding of kids’ digital behaviour would inform the development of better frameworks that could both protect and nurture.

A longer version of this talk can be found here — http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27219/

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  • In terms of childhood in late modernity…Biographisation, lifestyle
    Coontz: In some ways, childhood has actually been prolonged, if it is measured by dependence on parents and segregation from adult activities. What many young people have lost are clear paths for gaining experience doing responsible, socially necessary work, either in or out of the home, and for moving away from parental supervision without losing contact with adults. (1997: 13)
    i.e. Getting older younger AND staying younger longer



    On the internet also: Opportunities and risks linked: balancing act
    No clear dividing line; children/adults differ
    Increasing access, use, skills and opportunities increases risk;
    - this holds for individuals and also across countries
    Strategies to decrease risk also restrict opportunities and skills
    Becoming resilient means learning to deal with (some) risk
  • In terms of childhood in late modernity…Biographisation, lifestyle
    Coontz: In some ways, childhood has actually been prolonged, if it is measured by dependence on parents and segregation from adult activities. What many young people have lost are clear paths for gaining experience doing responsible, socially necessary work, either in or out of the home, and for moving away from parental supervision without losing contact with adults. (1997: 13)
    i.e. Getting older younger AND staying younger longer



    On the internet also: Opportunities and risks linked: balancing act
    No clear dividing line; children/adults differ
    Increasing access, use, skills and opportunities increases risk;
    - this holds for individuals and also across countries
    Strategies to decrease risk also restrict opportunities and skills
    Becoming resilient means learning to deal with (some) risk
  • In terms of childhood in late modernity…Biographisation, lifestyle
    Coontz: In some ways, childhood has actually been prolonged, if it is measured by dependence on parents and segregation from adult activities. What many young people have lost are clear paths for gaining experience doing responsible, socially necessary work, either in or out of the home, and for moving away from parental supervision without losing contact with adults. (1997: 13)
    i.e. Getting older younger AND staying younger longer



    On the internet also: Opportunities and risks linked: balancing act
    No clear dividing line; children/adults differ
    Increasing access, use, skills and opportunities increases risk;
    - this holds for individuals and also across countries
    Strategies to decrease risk also restrict opportunities and skills
    Becoming resilient means learning to deal with (some) risk
















  • Prof. Sonia Livingstone — Digital Literacy In The Networked World

    1. 1. Digital literacy in the networked world Sonia Livingstone
    2. 2. Beyond the myth of ‘digital natives’ “I think in comparison to my parents and loads of the older generation I know, I do know more. But I think there are a lot of people that know a lot more than me… A lot of my friends know a lot… And I learn from them.” “It can be more reliable to go to the library, because when you think about it anybody can write something on the Internet, and it could basically be a load of rubbish written by a 2 year old, and like with books they have to go through a publisher and everything, so what's actually written down is true.” “It’s like you don’t know who’s doing what, whose website it is, who wants what, who wants you to learn what. So you don’t know who’s put what information there, but … it’s reliable – but you don’t know who’s put it, who wants you to gain what from that information.”
    3. 3. Left to work it out for themselves? “Yeah, it's IT, that's what it's called, and you go, you have about 10 computers in a big computer room and you work in groups to do like stuff on the computer. They let you go on the internet but it has to be educational stuff you look up and all that. That's boring but we don't listen to that and we look up what we want when the teacher's not looking.” “We do have internet at school and we do have IT lessons but they don’t really help us. I don’t quite know where I’ve learnt it… I think it’s just been fiddling around with it basically.”
    4. 4. Struggles with digital literacy “Every time I try to look for something, I can never find it. It keeps coming up with things that are completely irrelevant … and a load of old rubbish really.” “I’ll try the BBC because they’re quite good at having stuff.” “I don’t really find the internet that helpful really. When I’m looking for things I can never find them. And it’s always so vague when you do find them, and never pinpoint something down.” “If it’s got a long name, it’s probably like a home website and it’s not likely to be that really accurate is it?” “I like colour, I’m a colourful person. I just don’t like dull things. Whenever I go on to it, it’s like dull, there’s no big bubble writing, big letters, just ordinary typing, black and white, and if there’s a really important word they’re just blue, and that’s just boring for me.”
    5. 5. An after-school computer club 10 year old children are playing a maths game on the computer. The task is to navigate a ship around a map of Scotland, calling at two ports on the way. This must be completed within some 90 moves by entering the direction (in degrees) and the distance (in km) for each leg of the journey. One pair of boys has a child who understands maths and a stubbornly determined child (as their teachers describe them). After an hour of crashing, playing around and typing in rude words, they eventually succeed. They are pleased, and they learned about navigation, direction and distance. Next to them is a 10-year-old girl working on her own. She crashes the boat several times in rapid succession and becomes frustrated. She hasn’t read the instructions and missed the importance of the compass. Even when I point this out, she cannot manage this game. Receiving no feedback from the game or her teacher, she gives up and plays a simpler drawing game instead.
    6. 6. Candy, 13, doing her homework Candy was trying to find a German website on food and drink to help her school work. First, she checks with her father that ‘.du’ is the German url suffix. He suggests ‘.dr’ for Deutsche Republik or ‘just to leave the last bit off and see if it finds it’, but this doesn’t work, so she tries www.esse.com.du. This doesn’t work, so she tries .de, with no more success. The researcher suggests www.essenundtrinken.com.de but this doesn’t work either, because mistakenly Candy typed ‘trinke’ without the ‘n’. Even with the ‘n’ added, the url doesn’t work (the .com is a mistake). Her brother, Bob, comes across to try to help, but he can’t remember any German sites. Now Candy is trying www.yahoo.co.du. Bob suggests capital ‘D’. Her mother suggests .uk to see if ‘the whole thing is working’. Her mother clicks on ‘refresh’ but Candy warns, ‘Don’t do that! It goes on to a porn page!’ Finally, her mother tries www.yahoo.co.uk, which works. The family
    7. 7. What should digital learning be for? • New ways to learn the traditional curriculum or new ways to learn new things? • To be assessed using tried and tested means (though shows little benefit) or using more creative means? • To support disadvantaged pupils or for all (though knowledge gaps mean the already-privileged benefit more)? • As part of the solution to existing problems in education, or as part of a radical transformation of teaching and learning styles and structures?
    8. 8. From digital literacy to digital participation Media literacy is “a technocratic and specialist term understood by policy makers but not really part of everyday language.” “It is now vital to move away from media literacy as a discrete subject and term and to move towards a National Plan for Digital Participation.” “Increasing the reach, breadth and depth of digital technology use across all sections of society, to maximise digital participation and the economic and social benefits it can bring.”
    9. 9. Participation in what? Problems of design, purpose and responsiveness • Producers - it is “about participation in the broadest sense,” because services for young people “need to engage with young people in a participatory way”. So, “we’re putting lots of bits of fun” in the “hope that young people will throw lots of stuff at it” so that they can “check they are hitting the mark”. After all, young people “need to know about a lot more these days to make the right choices.” • Teenagers – find the site “boring”, “so stereotypical”; after all, “you can’t really get one [a site] that would please everyone.” • “Well, we might think they should listen to us but from their point of view, we can’t vote so there’s no point in listening to us… we can say one thing, but they don’t have to do it.” (Luke, 15)
    10. 10. Should digital participation . . • Invite youth to use digital media in their own right, or provide a route to change some other domain that affects their lives? • Reach out to new groups who may be disaffected or alienated, or to provide opportunities for the already motivated? • Enable youth to realize their present rights and responsibilities, or to help them develop skills they’ll need as future citizens? • Connect youth to each other as a peer to peer activity or facilitate connections between youth and adults? • Provide resources for youth to pursue their own interests or use the resources to achieve pre-given adult goals or messages?
    11. 11. Thank you s.livingstone@lse.ac.uk

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