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The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies


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Slides from a keynote presentation at the Annual Learning & Teaching Conference, Queen's University Belfast, 12 April 2017.

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The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies

  1. 1. The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies Dr. Doug Belshaw CC0 Yaniv Knobel Annual Learning & Teaching Conference, Queen’s University Belfast, 12 April 2017
  2. 2. Who are you? Dr. Doug Belshaw Teacher → Senior Leader → Jisc → Mozilla → Consultant @dajbelshaw & co-op co-founder
  3. 3. “Listening carefully produces conversations of two sorts, the dialectic and the dialogic. In dialectic, as we learned in school, the verbal play of opposites should gradually build up to a synthesis; dialectic starts in Aristotle’s observation in the Politics that ‘though we may use the same words, we cannot say we are speaking of the same things’; the aim is to come eventually to a common understanding. Skill in practising dialectic lies in detecting what might establish that common ground.” - Richard Sennett, ‘Together’
  4. 4. Updated and rewritten version of my doctoral thesis OpenBeta model Now ‘pay what you want’
  5. 5. PART I Power
  6. 6. What are people really saying when they say something is a ‘literacy’?
  7. 7. POWER Digital literacy is about... (just like all other forms of literacy)
  8. 8. Is this any good?
  9. 9. CC0 Beata Ratuszniak There’s a dazzling, swirling myriad of frameworks - most of which look appealing for one reason or another.
  10. 10. CC0 Igor Miske We shouldn’t take each framework at face value, merely admiring the finished article.
  11. 11. CC0 Axel Antas-Bergkvist CC0 Pacto Visual Popular frameworks are often beautiful to behold - like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
  12. 12. CC0 Samuel Zeller Most frameworks have a rigid order to them. They look like lots of research has gone into them.
  13. 13. CC0 Khara WoodsCC0 Alice Achterhof Unless you roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty, it can be difficult to apply existing frameworks.
  14. 14. CC0 Khara Woods The power of frameworks comes in their application. We must peek behind the scenes where things can look messy.
  15. 15.  An often-undervalued key feature of the web is that it’s possible to ‘view source’ on web pages.
  16. 16. Most people who use the web don’t look at the source code of websites. But it’s important that they can.
  17. 17. CC BY-SA wlodi Sadly, many frameworks don’t allow you to see how they were made. There’s no ‘view source’.
  18. 18. CC0 Tim Arterbury Every organisation’s context is different. You're painting with different brushes and with a different palette.
  19. 19. CC0 Thomas Kelley You can’t just take something off the shelf and expect it to work just because it looks good and well-researched.
  20. 20. PART IIa Plurality
  21. 21. Digital literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet. Digital Literacy is important in education, the workforce and generally for every internet user. Digital Literacy is one component of Digital Citizenship. Digital literacy is when students can manipulate and evaluate data to construct their own meaning. Digital literacy is using technologies to find, use and disseminate information. Digital literacy is the ability to effectively and critically navigate, evaluate and create information using a range of digital technologies. Digital literacy is a process, not a tool. Digital literacy is critical to the development of UK further and higher education as digital technologies provide new opportunities to enhance teaching, learning, research and the management of organisations. Digital Literacy is essential reading for students, researchers, writers, investors, and anyone who intends to use the bountiful resources available on-line to bolster their work. Digital literacy is the means by which our students can access and gain fluency in the core skills we already teach: comprehension, synthesis, rhetoric, and argument. Digital literacy is about many things, not just digitization projects. Digital literacy is an essential part of job-readiness, socialization and independence. Digital literacy is the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers.
  22. 22. One definition to rule them all?
  23. 23. Digital literacy Digital literacies
  24. 24. It’s all about CONTEXT
  25. 25. Digital literacies are SOCIALLY NEGOTIATED
  26. 26. “Digital literacy is a condition, not a threshold.” Martin, A. (2006). A european framework for digital literacy. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 02-2006.
  27. 27. Cu Cr Co Cultural Creative Cn Constructive Cf Cg Confident Cognitive Ct Critical Ci Civic EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES Communicative
  28. 28. Cu Cr Cn Co Cultural Creative Constructive Communicative EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES FOUR SKILLSETS Thanks to Ted Parker (@MrTedP) for suggesting this grouping
  30. 30. Cu Cr Cn Co Cultural Creative Constructive EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES Communicative “The nature of literacy in a culture is repeatedly redefined as the result of technological changes.” - Hannon (2000)
  31. 31. Cu Cr Cn Co Cultural Creative Constructive EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES Communicative “The creative adoption of new technology requires teachers who are willing to take risks... a prescriptive curriculum, routine practices... and a tight target-setting regime, is unlikely to be helpful.” - Conlon & Simpson (2003)
  32. 32. Cu Cr Cn Co Cultural Creative Constructive EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES Communicative “[Digital literacy is] the awareness, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital order to enable constructive social action.” - DigEuLit project (2006)
  33. 33. Cu Cr Cn Co Cultural Creative Constructive EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES Communicative “Digital literacy must therefore involve a systematic awareness of how digital media are constructed and of the unique 'rhetorics' of interactive communication.” - Buckingham (2007)
  34. 34. Cf Cg Ct Ci Confident Cognitive Critical Civic EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES “Modern society is increasingly looking to [people] who can confidently solve problems and manage their own learning throughout their lives, the very qualities which ICT supremely is able to promote.” - OECD (2001)
  35. 35. Cf Cg Ct Ci Confident Cognitive Critical Civic EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES “Functional internet literacy is not the ability to use a set of technical tools; rather, it is the ability to use a set of cognitive tools.” - Johnson (2008)
  36. 36. Cf Cg Ct Ci Confident Cognitive Critical Civic EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES “Once we see that online texts are not exactly written or spoken, we begin to understand that cyberliteracy requires a special form of critical thinking. Communication in the online world is not quite like anything else.” - Conlon & Simpson (2003)
  37. 37. Cf Cg Ct Ci Confident Cognitive Critical Civic EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES “The ability to understand and make use of ICT - digital literacy - is proving essential to employment success, civic participation, accessing entertainment, and education.” - Mehlman (2007)
  38. 38. Think these through and define them with colleagues!
  39. 39. Traditional context + New twist = DIFFERENT LITERACY
  40. 40. Ct Critical Ci Civic Cu Cultural Co Communicative
  41. 41. PART IIb (Dead) Metaphors
  42. 42. “The difference between the successful professional and the struggling amateur can often be seen in their respective facility with metaphor. The amateur struggles to accept that metaphor is even acceptable (“are atoms actually building blocks?”) or can’t find the powerful analogy needed to bring home the concept. Because all metaphors aren’t actually true, it takes confidence to use them well.” - Seth Godin, 'Metaphors Aren’t True'
  43. 43. PART III Standards
  44. 44. 2012
  45. 45. Early 2013
  46. 46. Late 2013
  47. 47. 2014
  48. 48. 2014
  49. 49. 2015
  50. 50. 2016
  51. 51. 1. Define your audience 2. Focus on verbs 3. Add version numbers Creating a framework?
  52. 52. PART IV Curricula
  53. 53. Curriculum as algorithm CC BY x6e38
  54. 54. 1. Continuously-curated learning content and activities 2. Formative feedback 3. Multiple pathways to diverse goals 4. Flexible accreditation Curriculum as algorithm
  55. 55. CC BY-ND Bryan Mathers
  56. 56. CC BY-ND Bryan Mathers
  57. 57. PART V Deliberate Practice
  58. 58. Competencies Literacies Literacies Competencies Skills
  59. 59. ATTRIBUTES PRACTICES SKILLS ACCESS “I am…” “I do...” “I can...” “I have...” Beetham & Sharpe (2009)
  60. 60. Deliberate practice Examples given: ● “Shoot the basketball into the hoop while standing 8-12 feet from the hoop at a 45 degree angle.” ● “Play this section at half speed, without errors.” ● “Create four test blog posts using the Starter Template, with photos inserted at the top and middle of the post.” (p.117)
  61. 61. Deliberate practice Let’s apply that: ● Configure every social network you are part of so that your updates are completely private and viewable to no-one other than yourself. ● Compose 20 tweets that all use exactly 140 characters. ● Create 10 tweets using the same widely-used hashtag (e.g. #edchat) and engage with anyone who favourites, replies, or retweets you.
  62. 62. Procedural Critical Literacies exist on a spectrum (1)
  63. 63. Literacies exist on a spectrum (2) Social Individual
  64. 64. Procedural Critical Social Individual ? ? ? Editing Wikipedia
  65. 65. EXAMPLE Contributing to an article on Wikipedia Cn Constructive Ct Critical Ci Civic
  66. 66. CONCLUSION
  67. 67. Is this any good?
  68. 68. Do these and good things will happen: 1. Understand literacies as being plural and about power 2. Talk to one another about your context (org/sector/global) 3. Approach off-the-shelf frameworks and case studies with extreme caution 4. Avoid dead metaphors when talking to colleagues 5. Commit to deliberate practice to improve digital skills
  69. 69. ? ? QUESTIONSQUESTIONS @dajbelshaw