Monday, 15 July 2013

Digital Literacies

In a recent post I discussed how Jeremy Kedian (presenter at the NZ Primary Principals Conference) referred to the importance of 'cultural literacy.' I was interested to see this theme in a TED talk by Doug Belshaw: The Essential Elements of Digital Literacy. In this video clip and slideshare, based on research for his thesis Doug Belshaw highlights:
  • eight literacies, not one literacy
  • the importance of discussing digital literacies as literacies are context dependent and need to be socially negotiated.
  • digital literacies change
  • digital literacies need to be 'remixed'and used to meet the context required for learning
Belshaw identifies eight literacies.

In brief, he describes these as:
Cultural: The Cultural element of digital literacies is all about seeking ways to give people additional ‘lenses’ through which to see the world.
Cognitive: This literacy is about 'expanding the mind through developing a set of cognitive tools - using technologies to foster the other literacies.
Constructive: Using digital tools to create, construct new meaning and knowledge
Communicative: How to communicate effectively in a digital world - to understand others and contribute in a way that is relevant and meaningful. In other words the skills to communicate in digital networked environments.
Confident: to use technologies in a way that models exploration, risk taking, open mindedness
Creative:  doing new things in new ways.
Critical:  'reading between the lines, interpret? Can we critically evaluate the technologies we’re using?
Civic: Using the capability of technology to improve our lives and the lives of others in our world.
I like the way Belshaw refers to a range of literacies - being literate involves a comprehensive 'kete' of elements. Literacy needs to be considered in context as being literate in one context does not guarantee literacy in all contexts. I think Belshaw's research is a  timely reminder of elements to consider when designing our learning programmes.

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