#etmooc Digital Literacies

This presentation was about Digital Literacies and trying to define the term in a new way. I find that Doug’s definition, as noted below, is very similar to Digital Citizenship and shares many of the same characteristics of digital citizenship. However, his definition is much looser and more personal-action-based. For example, my context defines what my digital literacy is and it changes as I do. These are more physical actions than ways of being, as in digital citizenship.

Below are my live-blogged notes. Any mistakes or additions are mine and I apologize for them in advance.


Facilitator: Dr. Doug Belshaw dougbelshaw.com

mzl.la/weblitstd – about learning/web literacy standard through Mozilla

Digital literacies?

  • There is ambiguity around web literacy
  • An exciting area
  • A bit of history
    • 1997 Paul Gilster wrote “digital literacy” and wrote 30+ definitions
    • the problem with the book and everything since we don’t even know what literacy is
    • UNESCO, 1957 – “it is really not possible to speak of illiterate and literate persons as two distinct categories”
  • Autonomous <—>Ideological continuum
  • Autonomous: Literacy as independent of and impartial towards trends and struggles in everyday life (stree, 1984)
  • Ideological: literacy is an active relationship or a way of orienting to the social and cultural world (Lankshear, ?)
  • can’t put literacy after a word but it should be something that everyone has access to
  • Academics like their umbrella terms
    • they carve out literacies according to how they see the world
    • for example, librarians see the world through information literacy – media, digital
    • then journalists say well media literacy includes….
    • academics don’t get anywhere because they are subsuming other areas so nothing is really defined
  • Objective – can be delivered <—> subjective – needs to be developed
    • two opposing views but are on a continuum
  • Bawden, 2008 – digital literacy is a condition not a threshold
    • it changes the way we think about teaching this stuff
    • a way of orienting yourself to the world or a relationship within your context
  • Digital Literacy Framework – a lot of frameworks look like this:
    • a linear pathway as you go along but it misses a lot of what is important like constructivist mooc but its more about messing about and finding information
    • Advanced
    • Immediate
    • Basic
  • It’s digital literacies not literacy
    • must have multiple references
    • digital literacies are plural, subjective, and highly context dependent
      • the literacies are different depending on the context, they don’t stay around forever so it isn’t objective, and there are a lot of them
  • Questions

Essential Elements

  • a different way to define it would be useful
  • From the research (lots of metaresearch)
  • 8 essential elements of digital literacies
    • cultural – the nature of literacy in a culture is repeatedly redefinied as the result of technological changes (hannon, 2000)
      • as culture changes then the definition changes
      • if you don’t pay attention to the culture in with the digital literacies is situated, it won’t work very well
    • cognitive – functional internet literacy is not the ab
      • the ability to use a set of cognitive tools, like information literacy
      • not the procedural way to use tech, but the way you think about it
    • constructive – the awareness, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools in order to enable constructive social action
      • not to be passive but to be constructive and active in their use of tools
    • communicative – must therefore invovle a systematic awareness of how digital media are constructed and of the unique rhetorics of interactive communication (Buckingham, 2007)
      • not the different communication channels but how they are used, how they are constructed,
      • you might be able to access things but you have no say in how people heare your voice
    • confident – 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 promotes(?) is able to promote (OECD, 2001)
      • can you be an unconfident digital literate? possible
      • the fact that you can look at  a tool and dive right in requires some digital literacy but also confidence
    • creative – the creative adoption of new technology requires teachers who are willing to take risks a prescriptive curriculum, _____ practices and a tight target setting regime is helpful
      • being able to do something based on everyone else’s work or create something new from scratch
      • a creative adoption of technology
    • critical  – once we see that online texts are not exactly written or spoken, we begin to understand the cyberliteracy ____ a special form of critical thinking. communication in the online world is not quite like
      • self reflect, critical evaluate technologies
    • civic – the ability to understand and make use of ICT is proving essential to employment success, civic participation, accessing entertainment, and education (Mehlman 2007)
      • any kind of ed or self improvement should help improve society as well

Co-constructing definitions

  •  Rank the 8 elements! (done in https://etherpad.mozilla.org/etmoocT3S1)
    • Communicative is the most important for quite  few people
    • Context
    • co-constructing a definition allows for better understanding of context
  • Now come up with your own definition of digital literacy!(do this before or after the presentation)

Web Literacy standard

  •  mzl.la/weblit
  • how can we have a standard when it is so context dependent and plural?
  • Digital literacies have multiple references and web literacy there is one reference
    • it is much easier to say these are the skills that you need to read and write (I think he said “on the web” but the sound cut out at that point)
    • the standard is co-constructed and is reconfigurable
      • open to the community to help build and change
    • and it uses Badges
      • you can prove it with these badges that you are literate
      • bit.ly/weblitoverview
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One thought on “#etmooc Digital Literacies

  1. Pingback: One More Look @ Introversion: Digital Literacy and the Quiet Child « Solve4Why

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