DB: Hello my name is Deirdre Butler and… MB: Hello my name is Mark Brown and...
MB: The intention of this fishbowl session is to put the spotlight on the importance of learning transformation.
DB: More specifically we want to ask are we making the right connections…? We have designed our talk around this question to help get under the surface of the conference theme
MB: The idea for this fishbowl talk on the theme of connections and learning transformations arose from the call back in January for contributors to next month’s “All Aboard Week” which aims “to build confidence in Ireland’s digital skills for learning”. How many of you have heard about this week? You can find about more information from one of the stands…
MB: As this slide shows many third level institutions have signed up to participate in the week. For various reasons DCU chose not to participate in this initiative.
DB: We would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this initiative but first we want to take a deeper look at the different conceptions of digital skills, literacies or competencies. These are just some of the terms used in the literature with other models referring to digital fludity, digital capability and digital affordences, to name a few.
MB: The concept of digital literacy was first introduced back in 1997 and as this seminal book illustrates there are many and varied interpretations of this concept.
MB: This is a point reiterated in the review of existing models and framework undertaken at the start of the All Aboard project, which identified over 100 of them (All Aboard, 2015). For example…
DB: TPACK is arguably the most well known and widely researched framework around the globe. It tends to be focused on the compulsory schooling sector.
MB: In the UK JISC has published a number of models and frameworks for the HE sector which continue to evolve.
MB: The 8 elements of digital literacies arise out of Doug Belshaw’s doctoral research and notably he places a particular emphasis on critical and civic literacies which incorporate a socio-political perspective.
MB: As this quote shows he has also resisted requests to try to present the eight essential elements in a simple diagram as the instructional and institutional context is crucial.
MB: The European Commission is also active in this space with several projects underway in the area of open education and digital competences.
DB: One of the most mature and thoroughly conceptualized frameworks comes from the work UNSECO. The notable feature of this framework is the way ICT is contextualized in practice both pedagogically and institutionally.
MB: The various models and frameworks have both strengths and weakness. It is important to note that most frameworks lack a deeper underlying theory and this remains a major disconnection. The following exercise is intended to help analyze and visually map some of the connections and implication assumptions.
MB: On the Y axis let’s place…
MB: And on the X axis a distinction between…
MB: In this case it would be fair to locate TPACK in the upper right quadrant as it is one of the most researched frameworks and embeds new digital technology in an existing and well established framework for teacher knowledge. More recent adaptations have incorporated TPACK in a wider ecological context.
MB: This time let’s replace validated and unvalidated with the distinction between an inherent focus on technology skills as opposed to the importance of pedagogical beliefs. It’s fair to say that many of the frameworks place insufficient emphasis on the influence of pedagogical beliefs and when mapped with embedding learning initiatives in authentic contexts the UNESCO framework is arguably the best fit for the upper right quadrant.
MB: This time we can look at the continuum of either being contextualised or largely decontextualised. As mentioned earlier the 8 elements of digital literacies is explicit about the importance of contextualising thinking within specific instructional and institutional contexts.
MB: This version of the quadrant analysis illustrates that very few of the models and frameworks combine critical literacies within an authentic embedded approach. The concept of critical literacy here extends to understanding the impact technology has on wider society and deeper questions of sustainability.
MB: Lastly this variation of the analysis illustrates how the goal of authentic embedding with a transformative mission remains an elusive goal. Too often the outcomes being sought as reflected in the frameworks are merely reproducing what we have already done and fail to address deeper inequities in educational outcomes and society at large.
MB: Both the JISC and All Aboard frameworks illustrate this point in their definitions of digital literacies as the stated emphasis is merely preparing people to fit society. What we need to address is that in our work in this area is that the current digital society is inherently unjust, inequitable and unsustainable. For example…
DB: On a more positive note, the key terms in this statement from the Digital Strategy for Schools illustrates there is a clear sense of agency and commitment to participating in and reshaping the nature of the learning society.
DB: It’s also notable that very few of the other frameworks are anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals which are currently our best effort at attempting to articulate a transformative agenda with a moral purpose.
DB: In summary…
DB: In this respect we want to return to our opening question by asking in the context of digital learning are we making the right connections in order to…?
MB: At this point in the short time that we have available we would like to invite your comments, feedback and questions…
DB: Thanks for your engagement
We Need to Talk: Are We Making the Right Connections?
Deirdre Butler and Mark Brown
Dublin City University
4th March 2017
We Need to Talk
Are We Making the Right Connections?
Deirdre Butler Mark Brown
“Are we making the right
connections in order to
forge and explore new
are required for an
Deirdre Butler Mark Brown
Taking a deeper look at
digital skills, literacies or competences…
“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).
Identified over 100 models and frameworks which to
greater or lesser extent purport to encapsulate the
various dimensions of digital skills, literacies or
“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).
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”