Digital literacy is emerging as a genuine concern in education as technology competes with traditional texts for student attention. There have been recent revisions in academic standards, but these should be considered insufficient to address the rapidly changing literacy needs of students.
So we’ve put together some questions to help design a plan to respond on your own–and to do so based on effective and accessible data and measurement of student performance. While data can mislead and obscure–often tragically–literacy skills is one area where it’s hard to argue with.
The consistent assessment and promotion of a student’s ability to consume and produce a variety of digital and non-digital texts is at the foundation of any school’s mission.
In understanding the shift from literacy to digital literacy–or rather to understand them both in their own native contexts–it may help to take a look at the underlying assumptions of digital literacy.
This means looking at what’s changing, why it’s changing, and what that means for education.
There is a pedagogic chasm between monomodal literacy practices of the past, still dominating most children’s school experience, and the multimodal, dynamic publishing practices that children increasingly routinely engage in with new media and online spaces. This paper will utilise the findings of three case studies, drawing from them the implications each has for developing a pedagogy that best reflects new kinds of practices within digital and multimodal literacies. Using the knowledge gleaned from each of the case studies, this paper will begin to explore what is required for a meaningful transformative pedagogy of digital literacies: a pedagogy which offers students opportunities to use learning to become active citizens beyond the classroom and into their future lives.
Visual literacy is a staple of 21st century skills, which state that learners must "demonstrate the ability to interpret, recognize, appreciate and understand information presented through visible actions, objects and symbols, natural or man-made." Putting aside the imperative to teach students how to create meaningful images, the ability to read images is reflected in the following standards.
As 90% of new jobs will require excellent digital skills, improving digital literacy (by which we mean those capabilities essential for living, learning and working in a digital society) is a key component for developing effective and employable learners. But many learners enter further and higher education lacking the required skills.
WHAT IS DIGITAL LITERACY, or literacy in general? Let’s fly way back in time and observe how mankind has dealt with its greatest challenge — understanding the objective world with a subjective mind.
We cannot think about objectivity without being subjective. There’s the rub. Even if one were to think objectively and announce one’s findings, others are free to doubt and contradict the findings, even though the speaker feels absolutely certain of his objectivity.
The problem is that objectivity is a fixed reality but our subjective understanding of it may or may not be accurate. If we begin spreading our subjective interpretations, and they turn out to be wrong, we run the risk of misleading future people who believe us.
To help clarify what that “quality” can look like, knowthenet.org.uk put together the following infographic framed around Dos and Don’ts. While seemingly written for a more general audience than students and educators, the thinking is sound, including “Treat others they way you want to be treated,” “Don’t forget the human behind the screen,” “Listen first, talk later,” and “Use proper grammar.” (Yes, please do.)
Digital apps designed to teach young children to read are an increasingly large share of the market, but parents and educators have little to no information about whether and how they work. Produced as part of a collaboration between the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the New America Foundation, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, this report scans the market of digital products and shares promising practices and programs.
It's the huge potential and great possibilities to move learning beyond the traditional walls of the classroom. Learning has always had a large informal component and now we're witnessing its fruition in mobile learning, augmented reality, gaming, and other technology-supported learning on the move. We're also in the age of the learner as their own node of production – it's exciting to see students working with their teachers to create, organise, repurpose and share content on a global scale through social media and personal devices.
What we need to help with this are metrics – discrete, measurable things (although not necessarily always numbers). These metrics will allow for the person that’s learning to teach the web to feel a sense of progression. And it will also allow us at Mozilla to see when that person’s reached a threshold to count towards our target number of contributors.
One of the things I’m interested in around all this is what it means to ‘get better’ at web literacy.
Earlier today John Sutton asked for my “top few accessible reads overviewing digital literacies”. I was walking my son to his new school at the time, so responded that I would write a quick blog post later. Well, here it is.
My Middle School is using blogger (part of Google) as a platform for our students’ blogfolios. The blogfolio (term coined by Andrea Hernandez) is part blog and part digital portfolio. Students not only showcase their best work, but document their learning journey. A blogfolio shows student work at a particular moment in time (due to its chronological nature) with a reflective component to show evidence of growth and learning over time.
I will no longer defend or debate EdTech as some radical idea in schools. I can no longer waste my efforts on the "value of EdTech debate". The simple fact is that education technology is no longer a stand alone class. It is not something you simply add on to your school. It is a literacy that is woven through the fabric of every school, K-12, and throughout our highly-competitive, global economy. Diminishing its value or merit is no longer acceptable. It’s the equivalent of neglecting to integrate reading and writing skill sets across the curriculum.
The discussion about ‘digital natives’ has gone quiet recently, and this paper might be one reason why. The authors have made a thorough review of the literature on this topic, with over 200 appropriate references, including surveys of relevant publications from countries in Europe, Asia, North America, Australia and South Africa. Here are some of their main conclusions, although the report is best read in full
"This presentation is about teaching and learning practices.It is about why I believe schools need to become future focussed. 2014 Learning CultureJohn Hattie's research indicates that when employing computers, students learning achievements increase when students have control of their learning. Learning achievement is lower when the teacher and or the system has control. The learning culture of each school will define the look and feel of classroom activity. How students learn with technology will depend on - who is controlling the technology, a variety of tools and expectations of learning output."
While it is no longer unusual for teachers to embrace and understand the value of personal learning networks, few are supporting their students in doing the same. I went on a search for educators involved in this work as part of a chapter I am writing for a book on the topic of student liberation being released by Steve Hargadon later this year, In the below Q&A you will get a look at the insights from one of these educators.
How do we shift from this extrinsic reward mindset to the commitment to pursue education for the deeper and longer-lasting intrinsic value? Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs tells us that an individual will not be motivated to strive for higher level goals such as education, until lower level needs have been met (Maslow, 1970). It is the approachable instructor who believes in his or her students and is motivated to meet the needs of the individual student while simultaneously ensuring that learning takes place in his or her classroom.
Have you ever Googled yourself ? Have you ever checked your virtual identity? Do you know that you leave a digital footprint every time you get online? Do you know that whatever you do online is accumulated into a digital dossier traceable by others ? These and several other similar questions are but the emerging tip of the sinking iceberg.One that is packed full of concerns related to issues of our online identity and privacy issues.