Other directives require lecturers to embed digital literacy skills into their practice, thereby honing their students’ skills, yet lecturers are rarely asked if they know what digital literacy is. Therefore, academic staff may have the technical skills required to use a tool, but no understanding of how the tool fits with their pedagogic values: training has not empowered them to experiment with this new tool.
Reviews into the professional development of teachers and ways to diminish their fear of technology have recommended that staff are given time if they are going to acquire and transfer the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively infuse technology to curriculum areas. (Brand, G.A., 1997). It can be argued that repeated emphasis of the need to ‘find time’ distracts from a larger issue: that academics fear technology because they are not shown how it fits a pedagogic framework. Conversely, learning technologists are expert at explaining how to use specific tools, but often omit the pedagogical value of the tool, assuming that the teacher will think of a use for it. One of the ‘top 10 highlights’ proposed in the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report of 2017 states that ‘fluency in the digital realm is more than just understanding how to use technology’, and that training must ‘go beyond gaining isolated technology skills toward generating a deep understanding of digital environments (and) enabling intuitive adaptation to new contexts’. (NMC, 2017).
Participants at my training sessions do not realise they are digitally literate until the skills that make up digital literacy are broken down. Only then do they feel empowered to embed these skills into their practice. Therefore, this presentation will look at the value of sessions examining models such as blended learning and digital literacy, and the importance of online Communities of Practice (Wenger, 2006). I will explain how the Residents and Visitors model (White, 2011) can be used to shift mind-sets, and conclude by examining the psychology behind online learners and their need to feel part of a group.
When academics comprehend theories and methods, they are better placed to choose tools that are appropriate to their curricula, their students and authentic assessment.
Brand, G.A., (1997), Training Teachers for using Technology, Journal of Staff Development, Winter 1997 (Vol 19, No. 1)
New Media Consortium, (2017), Horizon Report: 2017 Higher Education Edition, located at: http://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2017-higher-education-edition/, date accessed: 28th February, 2017
Wenger, E., (2006), Communities of Practice: a Brief Introduction, located at: http://www.linqed.net/media/15868/COPCommunities_of_practiceDefinedEWenger.pdf, date accessed: 28th February, 2017
White, D.S. and Le Cornu, A, (2011), Visitors and Residents: a New Typology for Online Engagement, located at: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3171/3049This, date accessed: 22nd February, 2017