Transferable Digital Literacy – Social Media and Employability

social-media handoriginal image from pinnacleart 

Over the past 12 months the importance of embedding employability skills within qualifications has become an increasingly important consideration for HE providers. While the FE sector has always had a focus on developing transferable, practical skills it is the academic benefits of developing digital literacy skills that we feel needs to be promoted.

There have also been more reflections online from Librarians and other learner support posts on the importance of embracing Social Media – not just for marketing or promotion of services – but for developing learner and staff digital literacy skills. There are a lot of resources and discussions about this, but a few blog posts which I’ve found very useful in trying to start a discussion about using more social media for digital skills development have been :

 

Keeping up to date with the latest educational opinions on embracing social media and it’s benefits to study skills and transferable employability skills has helped to inform the final versions of our suggestion Learner and Tutor Digital Literacy Skill Frameworks. The final stage of this process is to compare the Tutor, Learner, Management and LRC skill frameworks to identify generic digital skills which will in turn aid us in planning for learner support activities in-house as well as those related to the project.

April 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm 2 comments

Foundation Degree Tweet-Up – 18th February 2013

Grwp Llandrillo Menai and Glyndwr University logos

Monday 18th February – Set your Twitter accounts to Stun!

Learners on the Library Foundation Degree courses in Grwp Llandrillo Menai and Glyndwr University are linking up for the whole week through Twitter – sharing, advising, supporting and ultimately helping each group explore the possibilities of Social Media for collaboration and professional development.

Using the hashtag #FDLIB Glyndwr learners will be completing their ‘Group Work in a Week’ project to develop a marketing campaign for World Book Night. You can also follow contributions from @LlandrilloLib and @glynlib

This is hopefully the first of many Tweet-ups Library Foundation Degree course learners can take part in to link across the region and work collaboratively to see the benefits of Social Media for study, work and life! We’ll be keeping track of the conversation on the Llandrillo Library blog and on Storify, so if you can’t access Twitter during work you can still contribute.

Good luck out there!

February 14, 2013 at 12:33 pm 2 comments

Ofcom Media Use and Attitudes report – Conclusions and Our Learners

During the week, Ofcom released their latest report – Children and Adults Media use and attitudes report 2012.
 Some of the main headlines that attracted attention were:  
 

Over a third of 3-4 years olds are helped to go online using a desktop PC, laptop or netbook and 6% go online via a tablet computer!

Children who use the internet mostly alone comprise one in seven internet users aged 5-7 (14%), one in four aged 8-11 (24%) and over half of those aged 12-15 (55%)

While most children would tell someone if they encountered something inappropriate, a minority were unsure or would not tell anyone

Lack of confidence in using the internet is an issue for a number of parents, and the risks of grooming, cyber-bullying or access to inappropriate content are not always front-of-mind for many parents. 

UK-wide reports like this one from Ofcom are vital to raise awareness of the lack of confidence and digital skills amongst different age groups.  As Library and Information Professionals working in FE, this report also provides supporting evidence for the levels of help that we are required to provide to both learners and tutors on a daily basis. It confirms some of the conclusions regarding the skills sets of learners and tutors surveyed at the beginning of the project – across all the partner organisations – and further highlights the need for Digital Literacy programmes in education.

Digital Literacy is not simply about knowing which tools are most appropriate to use and understanding how to use them to best effect – it is also about developing an awareness of your Digital Footprint and how to manage your identity online, learning the etiquette of communicating in an online world and what it means to be a citizen in our Information Society.

 Some additional resources that have been developed and curated as part of the PADDLE project include supporting material for the  ESafety pages on Moodle in Grwp Llandrillo Menai. They help to support tutors and learners with :
 
– Esafety/Digital Footprint Class resources (videos, discussion points, quizzes, handouts and crib sheets)
– Esafety handouts with top tips
– Sources to find support 
– Information for parents
– Esafety resources created by learners with disabilities and learning difficulties
– Esafety resources created by referred/excluded learners
– Safer online shopping information
– Spotting fakes and fraud online
– Basic media literacy awareness
 
We also add content regularly to our favourite E-Safety webpages list – http://delicious.com/llandrillo_library/esafety .

This is an important part of what the LLTS team here in Grwp Llandrillo Menai can deliver in their supporting role with in the College, but providing information like this is vital to give learners a solid foundation to their Digital Literacy activities online.

October 26, 2012 at 9:39 am Leave a comment

And for my next trick …

Pete’s though-provoking input on re-imagining DL and request to re-visit the DL Frameworks for Learners and Staff has enabled the group to focus on the real-time outputs of the project so far. At a group meeting this week we  established which aspects we can now map and expand to other campuses and partners.

There are several successes which will be extended and adapted to include other partners, both within the project group and those outside –

AE – Linking Library resource COP’s across Coleg Llandrillo, Coleg Menai, Deeside College and Yale College. Also investigating the development of an Information Literacy Champions network that will be facilitated online by both PADDLE and WILP

PR – Framework skills development for staff and learners. Additional base-lining for HE staff and request for external ‘visitors and residents’ study

AE+PR – Extending ‘gotomeeting’ webinar software, with training guides and support, across the PADDLE network

SM – Linking student study groups between Coleg Llandrillo and Coleg Menai  (ACCESS Health) and between Coleg Llandrillo and Glyndwr University (Library FDA)

PC – Extending the ILS survey and resource support between Deeside College and Coleg Llandrillo

SW – extending the successful model of engaging governors and Senior Management Team with learning technologies and new skills across the partner network

The next DL programme meeting will take place in Birmingham on 16th October. The PADDLE team are developing their own digital literacies to present the project in an innovative and entertaining way – Andrew, Patrick and Sarah will be at the meeting to tell you more!

October 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

A Broader View of Digital Literacy

At the project meeting this week we discussed the need for a broader view of digital literacy.Project members will refine the following ideas before looking again at the frameworks for specific staff and student cohorts (more to follow on these).

Looking again at Digital Literacy definitions, Futurelab provides a compact statement:

To be digitally literate is to have access to a broad range of practices and cultural resources that you are able to apply to digital tools. It is the ability to make and share meaning in different modes and formats; to create, collaborate and communicate effectively and to understand how and when digital technologies can best be used to support these processes.

JISC and others include the notion of literacy for ‘Living, Learning & Working’ which makes many definitions and frameworks very narrow focusing only on an educational/information perspective.
I think we may have focused too much on Digital Literacy as ‘Information Literacy in a digital context’.
A broader approach might be to consider the major preoccupations of people using digital technologies.

A simplified Futurelab definition could be:

Digital Literacy involves a variety of digital TOOLS used APPROPRIATELY to achieve a chosen PURPOSE such as;

  1. Belong to a group/community
  2. Express own creativity (& spiritual?)
  3. Engage in hobbies and for entertainment
  4. Learning and self-development
  5. Promote self or group (part of another???)
  6. Manage financial/commercial matters (&political?)
  7. Work and gain employment/promotion

Whether taking a broader view or not, frameworks should be based on the Betham & Sharpe dimensions:

  • Attributes – I am …
    (a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or an inherent part of someone)
  • Practices – I regularly …
    (the customary, habitual, or expected procedure/process or way of doing something – ways of thinking and acting)
  • Skills – I can …
    (the ability to do an activity well)
  • Access – I have …
    (to things, tools, resources, people)

It also seems that the time is right to focus not in individual skills but on Attributes and, more usefully for teacher INSET and CPD, on Digital \Literacy Practices.

I’ll keep you posted on how the above is refined over the coming months.

Pete

October 4, 2012 at 9:33 am 1 comment

Student CoPs – study skills and peer support

 

Link to image source

Great news from the Student CoP side of the project in Coleg Llandrillo this week. In line with Phase II of the project – extending DL initiatives and developments across the network – ACCESS Health tutors fully support the meeting of student minds from Coleg Llandrillo and Coleg Menai in a Moodle study group.

During our baseline review of student online study groups and current CoP activity related to course work in Phase I, we identified an online study group hosted in Moodle and moderated by a course tutor for ACCESS Health students. This was a vibrant and active group, supported and encouraged by tutors and had proven itself to be a very successful study aid. There were very few examples of this type of study support in the College and the team felt it would be beneficial to roll out the model on different campuses. Coleg Menai ACCESS Health learners took part in the video interview series for PADDLE and it was felt that the approach and attitude to learners and staff on ACCESS courses there would be a good fit with current activities in Coleg Llandrillo.

Contact between the project team and tutors was made early in September 2012 and all parties are committed to engaging and supporting learners in this way. A recent merger and the development of shared systems between Coleg Menai and Coleg Llandrillo also provide a suitable workaround for access issues to Moodle study groups. Tutors from both campuses can also be enrolled to moderate and support their learners. Student groups will be added and introduced over the next few weeks, with the project team being involved in target setting and moderation.

A very encouraging cross-campus development!

September 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

DL and IL – Let’s have a Heated Debate!

This time of year each project team is still settling into the new term routine, so project reports for this week are quieter than usual.

What hasn’t been so quiet are the ‘heated debates’ (see Mrs.Merton above!) in the Rhos library backroom about the links, differences,  semantics, cross-over, context, symbiosis, reliance or division between what we mean by Information Literacy and Digital Literacy. Depending on the focus, even the royal ‘we’ changed the direction of the conversation, with context and sectoral considerations creating even more subdivisions of skills.

Different projects in the UK – Scotland, Wales, England  for example- are attempting to create a single definition or agreed understanding of IL, including skill subsets for Information Literacy.  JISC  is developing the same approach for Digital Literacies – but is there consensus on where IL ends and DL begins? Or is that the wrong approach to take? Is DL a continuum of IL? Completely distinct? A subset of IL? Or an addition (IL+)? What has Media Literacy got to do with this too? Could being ‘Digitally Literate’ mean that you are a gifted computer programmer rather than relating to information sources and usage?

To revisit this issue and begin planning for Year II of the project – which will include extending and applying specific project activities across participant campuses – the Rhos team felt it was important that we all understood where each other’s opinions and influences in relation to this topic came from.  We are attempting to see the issue from the viewpoint of learner, teaching staff, librarian and ICT technician – multiple groups included in the College population and we need to relate to each group individually for the project to make a meaningful impact.

We have listened, disagreed,  reflected, cajoled, challenged, entreated, guffawed and, most importantly, learned from each other. Despite the arguments on a local, national and international level, the one issue that every party agrees on is that developing strong Digital Literacies is vital!

“So Debbie [McGee], what was it that first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels………..?”

____________________________________

The next meeting of the full PADDLE group is on the 1st October at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos on Sea.

For project updates please see the JISC wiki pages, follow this blog or the Twiter hashtag #jiscpaddle.

Siona – Grwp Llandrillo Menai/Student Study Group Stream

September 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment

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