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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.



October 4, 2012 at 9:33 am 1 comment

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