One of the sessions I attended at this year’s PELeCON conference was on ‘Digital literacies and work placement’. The first speaker was Nadja Gagsi, pilule who presented on the digital literacy work at Reading University as part of their JISC funded project. They used Beetham and Sharpe’s digital literacy framework. She outlined ten key findings from the project:
- Awareness – there was a lack of understanding of digital literacies and their importance for employability.
- Reflection and articulation – there was a need to bridge the gap between learning and applying digital skills in a professional context.
- The importance of monitoring and assessment.
- Tangible outputs – in terms of having something to show/evidence and development of a sense of ownership.
- The importance of having a positive online presence.
- The need to develop social media skills.
- That practitioners need time to develop and practice digital skills.
- The importance of continued contact with supervisors and co-workers during placement.
- The importance of promoting the digital placement experience.
- Developing a maximum digital benefit for work-based learning.
The second speaker was Catherine Cronin who presented on ‘Enacting digital identities’. She quoted Stephen Heppell:
More change will happen in Education in the next ten years, than in the past 100.
She described a number of initiatives including CODER DOJO (a community to help kids develop coding skills), MOOCs and Google+. She argued that there was an inter-dependence between digital literacies, social media and digital identity. She listed Doug Belshaw’s eight aspects of digital literacy (cultural, cognitive, constructed, communicative, conflict, creative, critical and civic). She went on to describe a project in her own institution around a course on developing professional skills, which got the students to think about which tools they were using and how they were using them. She referenced Howard Reingold’s five social media literacies, danah boyd’s work on ‘networked publics’ and Bonnie Stwarts work on academic and networked learning .