Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Digital literacies concept is not helpful

BioSET logo This week, when I've not been stressing over the first year timetable, I've mostly been stressing about digital literacies.

As our student Digital Literacies in the Disciplines (BioSET) project cranks back into life (the private Facebook group did not sustain activity over the summer break), I've been thinking about the barriers we face. Participating students are obviously confused - the digilit concept is confusing in its own right, and the employability layer on top is a step too far. We are resolving the confusion by stepping back from the student-led approach we wanted to follow and giving the participants more direction about activities, at least to get them started.

But I've also been thinking about the fundamental problem with the digilit concept. "Digital literacy" is either completely transparent (therefore impossible to grasp) or merely an artificial construct with no real world value. I think it's both!

Are our student participants digitally literate? Clearly yes.
Can they articulate this literacy? Not easily.
Why not? Probably a number of reasons, but the lack of utility of the digilit label is a contributing factor.

And Xerte? It's a problem we don't need, so it's on the back burner for now.

Contributor blog posts so far:
Student Employability Team

Logo Design

Evolution of a Biology Logo

BioSET: Digital Literacies Project Introduction

First Meeting of the New Academic Year!

- more to come soon hopefully, following our project meeting today.

Dean Groom: Digital Literacy is a crock


  1. It isn't easy. I've been working with staff to try and articulate this- we've deliberately shied away from digital literacy and looked at it from a practice point of view. I've no idea whether this would be of benefit to you but we've worked up a framework (can't do anything without a good framework) to help us look at this from a staff dev perspective: . It based on Rhona Sharpes, Helen Beetham's and Lou McGill's Frameworks for developing digitally literate learners.

    1. I shy away from anything with the word digital in it, but literacy is clearly a big problem too. Practice, presence, whatever - anything but literacy. Thanks for the link.