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Digital Literacy in the 21st Century: Implications for Teaching

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Title: Digital Literacy in the 21st Century: Implications for Teaching


1
Digital Literacy in the 21st Century
Implications for Teaching Learning
  • Audrey Byrne
  • ICT Conference 2009

2
OUTLINE
  • Introduction
  • Context
  • Methodology
  • Main Results
  • Conclusions The Way Forward?

3
1. INTRODUCTION
  • Audrey Byrne MSc ICT
  • Recently completed a study on the digital
    literacy levels of Irish teenagers (15-17 yrs
    old)

4
2. CONTEXT
  • Despite widespread consensus about the need for
    digital literacy among students, there is little
    information available to tell us the dimensions
    of the need or what might be done to address it.
  • The need for digital literacy is fast becoming
    a growing concern among educators and
    policy-makers in many countries. To date,
    however, most discussions of digital literacy
    have been confined to a fairly functional
    approach the emphasis is on mastering basic
    skills in using technology, with some limited
    attention to evaluating the reliability or
    credibility of online sources (Buckingham, D.
    2008 p17)

5
Digital Literacy Goals
  • Digital Literacy is a fundamental learning
    objective for all OECD (2001), Schooling for
    Tomorrow, Learning to Change ICT in Schools. P
    15
  • EU member states have made visible progress in
    connecting schools to the Internet and in
    developing the ICT skills of teachers. However,
    more progress needs to be made regarding digital
    literacy (NCCA, 2004)

6
How are students using technology inside the
classroom?
  • Research found students predominately use the
    following applications
  • MS Word
  • Internet (For school projects)

7
How are students using technology Outside the
classroom?
  • In a more social setting, research found that
    students use the following applications
  • Social Networks (e.g. Bebo, My Space, Face Book)
  • Creating Flashbox for social networking homepage
  • Internet (looking up favourite sites/ Online
    gaming)
  • You Tube (uploading / downloading videos)
  • MSN (Instant Messaging)
  • i tunes
  • Limewire
  • Windows Movie Maker
  • Photo Shop
  • Uploading/Downloading (Music, Photos Video) on
    phone/MP3
  • E mail
  • Audacity
  • E Bay
  • Windows Media Player

8
This dichotomy in personal and school use raised
the following questions...
  • How digitally literate are the students? (not
    just in a school based environment, but in their
    lives)
  • How do they acquire these skills/abilities?
  • What do they use technology for?
  • What are the implications for teaching and
    learning in the 21st century?

9
Defining Digital Literacy...
  • In 2004, Eshet-Alkalai published a 5-skill
    holistic conceptual model for digital literacy,
    Eshet-Alkalai, Y.
    (2004). Digital literacy A conceptual framework
    for survival skills in the digital era.
  • This framework comprises five types of literacy
    skills
  • (a) photo-visual literacy
  • (b) reproduction literacy
  • (c) information literacy
  • (d) branching literacy
  • (e) socio-emotional literacy.

10
Photo Visual Literacy
  • This unique form of digital literacy helps users
    to intuitively and freely read and understand
    instructions and messages that are displayed in a
    visual-graphical form.Examples
  • deciphering of graphic user interfaces (e.g.
    Screen icons, mobile phone menus)
  • playing modern computer games, in which most of
    the instructions are provided by means of
    graphical representation by symbols and icons

11
Reproduction Literacy.
  • The ability to take an existing piece of text,
    graphic, music or other media, and to create
    something new from it.
  • Examples
  • Editing Photos
  • Re mixing music
  • Editing text to create a new piece of work
    Digital reproduction literacy is defined as the
    ability to create new meanings or new
    interpretations by combining pre-existing,
    independent shreds of information in any form of
    media text, graphic, or sound. (Gilster, P.
    1997)

12
Information Literacy.
  • The ability of information consumers to make
    educated, smart, information assessments.
  • Examples
  • To assess validity of website
  • The ability to cross reference information
    Information literacy acts as a filter it
    identifies false, irrelevant, or biased
    information, and avoids its penetration into the
    learners cognition. Information-literate
    consumers are critical thinkers people who
    always question information, and never take it
    for granted (Mardis, 2002).

13
Branching Literacy
  • Mainly associated with surfing the internet.
  • Students with this skill seldom get lost in
    cyber space and have the ability to move away
    from linear thinking into rich-associative
    lateral thinking.
  • Branching-literate scholars are characterized by
    good multidimensional spatial orientation - the
    ability to remain oriented and avoid getting lost
    in hyperspace while navigating through complex
    knowledge domains, despite the intricate
    navigation paths they may take (Daniels et al.
    2002).

14
Socio-Emotional Literacy.
  • These skills include the ability not only to
    share formal knowledge, but also to share
    emotions by means of digital communication, to
    identify pretentious people in chat rooms, and to
    avoid Internet traps, such as hoaxes and
    malicious Internet viruses.
  • the highest-level and most complex one. It
    requires users to be highly critical and
    analytical, very mature, and have a good command
    of information, branching, and photo-visual
    literacy skills. (Eshet-Alkalai , 2004)

15
3. METHODOLOGY
  • Research Project 50 students aged between 15-17
    years old
  • Qualitative instruments
  • Focus group interviews with students
  • Quantitative instruments
  • Student Questionnaires (online and offline)

16
4. MAIN RESULTS
  • Photo-Visual Literacy
  • 92 of students stated that they preferred to use
    instructions that contained a combination of
    pictures and text, while only 8 stated that
    they would read instructions which were entirely
    text based.
  • Students tend to have a negative response to
    instructions that are solely text based.

17
4. MAIN RESULTS
  • Photo-Visual Literacy...contd
  • 86 of students had an MSN account and regularly
    engaged in Instant Messaging.
  • 88 of the students stated that they would use
    and understand visual graphics, (icons and
    emoticons) in their conversations online with
    others.

18
4. MAIN RESULTS
  • Reproduction Literacy
  • 100 of students had uploaded video, photo or
    music onto their computer.
  • 82 stated they had edited media in some way,
    e.g.
  • Edit video (add music, titles, photos etc)
  • Create playlist for MP3 etc
  • Edit Photos (crop, remove red eye, add text etc)
  • Create new media e.g. flashbox etc

19
4. MAIN RESULTS
  • Information Literacy
  • 100 of the participants had used the internet to
    search for information
  • Students were aware of the concept of quotation
    marks and of the Boolean search rules AND or
    OR.
  • 78 of students said they would not look further
    than the first 3 pages of results.
  • 98 of students were very aware of the fact that
    not all information contained on a website may be
    true.
  • 86 said they would cross reference information
    found with other websites, however on no occasion
    did they state they would use a book or ask a
    teacher when checking validity of information.

20
4. MAIN RESULTS
  • Branching Literacy
  • 94 of students were familiar with the concepts
    of links on a webpage and have used them.
  • Multi tasking 90 of students used multiple tabs
    or maximized / minimized webpages as they needed
  • Only 16 of students stated that they sometimes
    lost track of where they were in hyperspace.

21
4. MAIN RESULTS
  • Socio Emotional Literacy
  • 100 of the participants had used an online chat
    facility.
  • 56 of students admitted to having an online
    conversation with someone they didnt know, (this
    consisted of 60 of males and 40 of females).
  • Many students found it difficult to differentiate
    between different forms of Social Networking
    sites.
  • e.g. 42 never give out personal information
    online
  • 100 stated they had name, age etc on bebo
    page

22
4. MAIN RESULTS
  • Socio Emotional Literacy..contd
  • Students were aware of malicious websites,
    viruses and Trojans contained on them, e.g.
    Limewire, bearshare etc
  • Students aware of malicious emails and phishing

23
Main Results
  • The students possess the following seven
    characteristics
  • Ability to read visual images they are intuitive
    visual communicators
  • Visual-spatial skills they can integrate the
    virtual and physical.
  • Inductive discovery they learn better through
    discovery than by being told.

24
Main Results
  • Multi-Tasking they are able to shift their
    attention rapidly from one task to another, and
    may choose not to pay attention to things that
    don't interest them.
  • Prolific communicators They work well and groups
    and actively engage in peer to peer learning.
  • Fast response time they are able to respond
    quickly and expect rapid responses in return.
  • High expectations for learning They want to use
    ICT in the classroom but not all day everyday.

25
Main Results
  • Based on the results from the research, it is
    clear that students do have digital literacy
    skills. Although the depth or level of these
    skills varied between students.

26
How did the students acquire these skills?
  • They teach themselves how to use technology or
    learn it from peers.
  • Students in the study preferred to learn by
    doing
  • When confronted by a piece of technology students
    adopted a click and see approach
  • No fear of using technology
  • Yeah its the same when theyre older
    people on a computer as well, theyre all like
    Oh I better not press that button cos I might
    break something like they just dont seem to get
    the idea that you cant really break anything by
    just pressing buttons ya know like just click on
    stuff and see what happens.

27
How did the students acquire these skills?
  • Mod Ok, so what would be the worst way that
    someone could teach you to do something?
  • A Just telling you, like not showing you, just
    saying like this is how to do whatever on a
    computer and then you get on the computer and
    your like what did she just say? like. I just
    prefer to be on the computer myself and like just
    learn as Im doing it like
  • S Yeah, and I dont like when they do it for you
    without showing you, they like say oh Ill do
    it without showing you what theyre actually
    doing cos then when they go, you dont know what
    they did.
  • Audio Transcript 2 Lines 165 172

28
What are students using technology for?
  • Two major themes emerged from the research. The
    students use technology for
  • Communication
  • Entertainment

29
Communication
  • Prolific communicators, the students gravitate
    toward activities that promote and reinforce
    social interactionwhether Instant Messaging
    friends, teaming up in an Internet game,
    blogging, texting, using social networking sites
    (bebo, face book etc) or forwarding joke e-mails
  • While teenagers are driven by a range of motives
    in their technology use, a major factor in the
    rapid growth of online activity is simply the
    desire to connect with others. (Van 't Hooft,
    2007)

30
Entertainment
  • Examples
  • Social Networks (e.g. Bebo, My Space, Face Book)
  • Creating Flashbox for social networking homepage
  • Internet (looking up favourite sites/ Online
    gaming)
  • You Tube (uploading / downloading videos)
  • MSN (Instant Messaging)
  • i tunes
  • Limewire
  • Windows Movie Maker
  • Photo Shop
  • Uploading/Downloading (Music, Photos Video) on
    phone/MP3
  • E mail
  • Audacity
  • E Bay
  • Windows Media Player

31
What are the implications for teaching and
learning in the 21st century?
  • Student expectations regarding technology use in
    the classroom are closely linked to teacher
    knowledge and skill.
  • Students do not want to be completely immersed in
    the use of technology all day everyday in the
    classroom. They would prefer a more balanced
    approach. (50-50)

32
What are the implications for teaching and
learning in the 21st century?
  • To effectively capitalize on students digital
    literacy skills, a paradigm shift is required.
  • Instead of teaching about ICT, educators need to
    embrace the concepts of teaching with and through
    ICT.

33
What are the implications for teaching and
learning in the 21st century?
  • For the education system to successfully
    incorporate ICT into the curriculum the following
    recommendations are proposed
  • A review of the content, rationale and mode of
    training for teachers
  • A review of how funds are located nationally and
    regionally (equipment/computers, maintenance,
    support encouragement to use ICT)
  • A major review of how learning and teaching can
    utilise the skills of the students.

34
Recomendations
  • A review of the content, rationale and mode of
    training for teachers
  • If they teachers lack confidence in ICT, they
    will not use ICT and pupils will miss out. The
    Impact of Schools IT2000 (2001) p.13
  • The current cohort of students wants to learn
    using technology and they expect teachers to use
    technology effectively in the classroom.
  • Mod But what if some teachers dont know how to
    use technology?
  • SN Well, teachers should be trained how to use
    them.
  • S Yeah they should be
  • Audio Transcript 3 Lines 476 479

35
Recommendations
  • International recognition that the professional
    development of teachers is the primary factor in
    achieving ICT integration. (IT2000)
  • Greater levels of collaboration among teachers in
    schools, allowing the uninitiated to learn from
    the early adopters of ICT in teaching.
  • Students should be involved in the process, to
    mentor teachers (Role Reversal)

36
Recommendations
  • A review of how funds are located nationally and
    regionally
  • 49 of school principals in Ireland believe that
    instruction is hindered by a shortage of ICT
    resources. (PISA 2006 p99)
  • The 2005 census report published by the NCTE
    shows that over half of computer facilities in
    schools are now unusable while one fifth of
    computers are over six years old.

37
Recommendations
  • The Department of Education and Science (DES)
    must provide adequate, additional and separate
    funding to schools for the maintenance, repair
    and renewal of school ICT equipment on an annual
    basis.
  • ICT co-ordinating teachers be employed in schools
    to help colleagues integrate information
    technology successfully into their teaching
    methodologies.

38
Recommendations
  • A major review of how learning and teaching can
    utilise the skills of the students.
  • The present generation of students are
    effectively being asked to power down at the
    school gates. Students should be encouraged to
    bring their knowledge and skills using digital
    technologies into the classroom
  • Why prohibit the use of MP3s, Mobile Phones etc
    in the classroom? Perhaps instead of banning
    these items students should be encouraged to use
    them constructively, effectively and responsibly
    in the classroom.

39
  • Mobile/handheld devices are used in the following
    areas to support teaching/learning
  • Students have instant access to a variety of
    applications
  • Students record their own works e.g. oral
    examination, oral report, presentation, group
    discussion, etc. for tutor evaluation, peer
    evaluation, and self-evaluation.
  • Students listen to authentic audio materials e.g.
    music, speech, interview, vocabulary, audio book,
    poem, etc.
  • Students access multimedia materials e.g. movie,
    painting, photograph, documentary, visual
    glossary, etc.
  • Students refer to preloaded information in a
    field trip or field study.
  • Students produce their multimedia presentation,
    assignment, and project.

  • (Beyond Distance Research Alliance, 2006)

40
  • The DES has made some progress using mobile
    devices in education.
  • In 2007 a pilot program known as the Fon
    Project The Teaching of
  • Gaeilge at Post Primary began.
  • The program involved the use of mobile technology
    to help students learn Gaeilge .
  • The DES is to be commended on this innovative
    vision involving Irish language education and
    encouraged to expand project nationwide.

41
Moving Forward
  • The existing education system in Ireland has
    served us well for a long time, and Ireland can
    be justly proud of our international reputation
    as a well-educated people. But if we are to make
    a successful transition to a knowledge economy,
    we must surely transform our schools as well.
    (Ahern, D. Minister for Trade, Enterprise
    Employment, 2008)

42
Moving Forward
  • "Ireland's continuing development as an advanced
    knowledge society will rely on the skills of our
    young people.  The development of strong ICT
    literacy in all of our children will be an
    essential life skill for them as they look to
    participate in the opportunities of the global
    knowledge society.   It is imperative that our
    schools provide opportunities for all of our
    children to develop to their full potential in
    that regard".   (Hannifin, M. Minster for Science
    and Education, 2007)
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