Daily Archives: 2011/05/24

A hard day’s night

Alternate me

One of me

I started writing this post last night after a hard (and frustrating) day. It would be so nice if, after nearly 12 years, I could stop having to explain Digital Literacy to people. I’m so immersed in Digital Literacy now that I find it difficult to pull out all the different strands to make it simple for people to understand! Does anyone else have that problem? What can we say about Digital Literacy that will make people realise that it is about more than just using IT or Information Literacy skills. This is the point where I stalled last night – after a frustrating day I just ran out of words – so let’s try again. What I’m going to do is take some quotes from well-known reports/research/articles etc to try and demonstrate what Digital Literacy is.

the LLiDA wiki:
“We understand the term ‘literacy’ – in contrast to other terms such as ‘skill’ or ‘competence’ – to involve:

  • a foundational knowledge or capability, such as reading, writing or numeracy, on which more specific skills depend
  • a cultural entitlement – a practice without which a learner is impoverished in relation to culturally valued knowledge
  • communication – expressing how an individual relates to culturally significant communications in a variety of media
  • the need for practice – acquired through continued development and refinement in different contexts, rather than once-and-for-all mastery
  • a socially and culturally situated practice – often highly dependent on the context in which it is carried out
  • self-transformation – literacies (and their lack) have a lifelong, lifewide impact.

Literacies as defined in our scoping section cannot be acquired through one-off induction sessions or skills training, though these can help orient learners to what will be required of them in further and higher education.

Learners require opportunities for ongoing practice, embedded in subject contexts and in tasks of real relevance to their learning goals and assessment criteria.

Practices of knowledge creation and sharing in subject contexts must be made clear to learners as part of their ongoing development.

Capable individuals acquire a range of meaning-making practices, and manage contradictions among them in terms of their participation in different contexts (sometimes termed rhetorical competence, related to managing multiple identities). … Those who think digital tools can readily be assimilated to existing practices of representation and communication are in a minority: most believe that they are fundamentally changing what it means to communicate, make meaning, think, work and learn.

Those changes come about because of changes to our culture and social practice around the use of technologies, rather than through the technologies themselves.”

“The ways in which we read and write, acquire and evaluate knowledge and communicate at all levels are changing (Leu et al., 2004). As Hague and Williamson (2009, p3) point out, there are new “opportunities to participate in new kinds of social activities, civic life, learning and work.” In this section we argue for the benefits of drawing a broad view of digital literacies as social practice, before turning to the educational domain.

Drawing on the frameworks outlined above, we propose asa definition of digital literacies: the constantly changing practices through which people make traceable meanings using digital technologies. Within this broad definition, specific aspects of digital literacies can be investigated and explored further, understood as in many ways offering a continuity to our understands of literacies in general as social practice (Barton, 2007; Hague and Williamson, 2009). The distinctive contribution of the approach to literacy as social practice lies in the ways in which it involves careful and sensitive attention to what people do with texts, how they makes sense fo them and use them to further their own purposes in their own learning lives.”

JISC Digital Literacies Briefing Paper
“We propose defining digital literacy in as neutral a way as possible, following the lead of the European Union and the JISC-funded LLiDA project.
digital literacy defines those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society
Defining a particular set of capabilities as a ‘literacy’ means that:
• they are a pre-requisite or foundation for other capabilities;
• they are critical to an individual’s life chances;
• they are essential to the making and sharing of culturally significant meanings;
• as a result, there is or should be a society-wide entitlement to these capabilities at some level.
Digital literacy can therefore be seen as a responsibility of the whole education system and indeed of wider society, which is how digital inclusion has been interpreted by successive UK governments.”

I think that’s enough for now – I don’t want to write a book – may be some of you will like to comment and tell us about your own frustrations and, of course, the people who have inspired you.