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The Digital Literacy Movement: Utopian or Dystopian Development?


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Presentation at OEB Mid Summit, Reykjavik, Iceland, 8th June, 2017.

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The Digital Literacy Movement: Utopian or Dystopian Development?

  1. 1. Professor Mark Brown and Dr Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl Dublin City University Reykjavik, Iceland 8th June 2017 The Digital Literacy Movement: Utopian or Dystopian Development?
  2. 2. DystopianUtopian The Digital Literacy Movement: Utopian or Dystopian Development?
  3. 3. @mbrownz National Institute for Digital Learning @1MNGM
  4. 4. Open Education Unit The Ideas Lab Off-campus Online Delivery Teaching Enhancement Unit On-campus Blended Delivery Learning Design National Institute for Digital Learning New Innovative Models of Delivery Research Network
  5. 5.
  6. 6. Three questions… • What is digital literacy? • What is missing in current models? • How should we reframe digital literacies?
  7. 7. • Inherently political • Part of wider social practice • Entangled in contradictory discourses Three takeaways…
  8. 8. Different interest groups and stakeholders are borrowing the same ‘languages of persuasion’ of digital literacies to legitimize very different agenda
  9. 9. 1. What is digital literacy?
  10. 10. “ICT Literacy is using digital technology, communication tools, and/or networks to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information in order to function in a knowledge society.”
  11. 11. “As the chapters that follow attest, the most immediately obvious facts about accounts of digital literacy are that there are many of them and that there are significantly different kinds of concepts on offer” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2008, p.2).
  12. 12. 2015 Identified over 100 models and frameworks which to greater or lesser extent purport to encapsulate the various dimensions of digital skills, literacies or competencies.
  13. 13. ‘There is no single universal definition of digital literacy’ (Hoechsmann & DeWaard, 2015, p.4).
  14. 14. The literature is ‘broad and ambiguous, making digital literacy a nebulous area that requires greater clarification and consensus’ (Alexander, Adams Becker & Cummins, 2016, p.1).
  15. 15. ‘The term denotes a combined critical and practical understanding of digital technologies in socio-cultural settings, recognizing that users are creators as well as observers’ (Alexander, Adams Becker & Cummins, 2016, p.4).
  16. 16. Digital Capability Framework The Six Elements
  17. 17. 15 Sub Elements
  18. 18. 2017
  19. 19. Functional Producers Consumers Critical
  20. 20. Functional Producers Consumers Critical
  21. 21. ‘You can’t just take something off the shelf and expect it to work just because it looks good’ (Belshaw, 2017)
  22. 22. 2. What is missing in current models?
  23. 23. Non Prescriptive Prescriptive Unvalidated Validated
  24. 24. New Literacy Studies Any attempt to define [digital] literacies needs to be ‘…located as part of social practices and occur within culturally constructed instances or literacy events’ (Bhatt, 2017, p.1).
  25. 25. Embedded Bolted On Decontextualised Contextualised
  26. 26. “I’ve been asked many times for a diagram of the eight essential elements, something that will fit nicely on a PowerPoint slide. While I can do so I feel that this perpetuates a problem I’ve seen time and time again... People over-specify an answer to a question that differs massively according to the context” (Doug Belshaw, 2015, p.58).
  27. 27. For the purpose of this report we can define digital skills, literacies or competencies as .... “the capabilities which fit someone for living, learning and working in a digital society, with the knowledge that a digital society is ever evolving” (p.18).
  28. 28. “… participating in society...”
  29. 29. 3. How should we reframe digital literacies?
  30. 30. Digital litercies are about the struggle for POWER and control Who? Why?
  31. 31. Digital literacies are about changing mindsets rather than developing narrow skill-sets
  32. 32. Critical Consumers Critical Citizens LEARNING TO BE LEARNING TO KNOW LEARNING TO DO LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER Critical Thinkers Digital literacies are about what it means to be an educated person in the 21st Century
  33. 33. Digital literacies are about our ideas of what constitutes the good society for the future
  34. 34. Digital literacies are about (re)shaping our societies for better futures—for all.
  35. 35. Conclusion…
  36. 36. Conclusion… • No single framework • Not on independent trajectory • Active citizenry for shaping better futures
  37. 37. ‘Beware of false knowledge; It is more dangerous then ignornance’ George Bernard Shaw
  38. 38. Go raibh maith agaibh!
  39. 39. Digital Literacies @mbrownz @1MNGM