At the beginning of November I attended the JISC Developing Digital Literacies workshop, a series of national workshops on developing learners and learning organisations for the 21st Century, in Aberystwyth. This particular workshop was run across three sites via video conference including Swansea University, Aberystwyth University and Deeside College. The Developing Digital Literacies workshop series runs from May to October 2011. Further details and registration are available on the JISC web site.
As with all good training days we started with defining digital literacy, I found this to be an interesting introductory activity as so often it is thought of as just IT skills but for the group it covered much more, including what the library world traditionally would term as information literacy. We then looked at how personal, professional and academic practices are changing.
We then looked at defining graduate attributes and who are your learners and what do you know about them. Interestingly, it was brought up in a presentation later in the day, we assume that all our learners have, and know how to use, various technologies like smart phones but without asking our learners we truly don’t know. We had much discussion around what we know about our learners and how we know these i.e. are we guessing, have we conducted a survey? Then we discussed the attributes of a digitally literate graduate. Following from this we practiced assessing learner needs and created a model for learner development. Using that model we discussed what kinds of experiences move learners on.
After a delightful lunch at Aberystwyth University we then had three guest speakers across the three sites, including Aberystwyth University , Cardiff University and the PADDLE project and what their institutions are doing to support the development of learners for a digital age.
I found this to be a really interesting workshop and especially liked the presentation from Aberystwyth University as it made me think about what technology learners use and how often the case is that we assume learners know how to use this technology, or we assume they know already how to take advantage of it to support their learning.
Visit the JISC developing digital literacies web page for more about JISC’s work in this area, and you can also follow the hash tag #jiscdiglit on Twitter/blogs.
Resources from the series can be found on the JISC Design Studio wiki here.
Some other interesting blog posts on Digital Literacy are Scott Hiberson (RSC Yorkshire and Humber) and Justin Spooners’ post on Social Networking and Education.