Posts Tagged ‘digital’
Whenever I hear someone say “digital native”, I try to educate them on why that term is divisive and harmful.
I hope that this video adds more fuel to the there-are-no-digital-natives fire.
Two takeaways from this video that I had were:
- Being technologically competent is not something kids are born with nowadays. It is learnt like a language.
- Being comfortable with technology is not the same as having the knowledge or wisdom on its use.
These two takeaways deal with fundamental assumptions that people who use “digital natives” may have.
It is important to address these assumptions because they affect values and mindsets. These in turn affect actions like lesson planning, teaching, setting policy, and so on.
A tongue-in-cheek look at the how your digital footprints can follow you.
And bite you in the butt.
Some weeks ago, the folks at #edsg revisited the topic of being digitally literate vs being digitally fluent. I am not sure how much new ground we created but we certainly unearthed some key resources.
At a much earlier conversation, I bookmarked Digital Information Fluency (FAQs) and The Difference Between Digital Literacy and Digital Fluency.
Both are useful starters and anyone can define these terms reasonably and differently. I borrow from these resources to define digital literacy (DL) and fluency (DF).
The FAQs define DF simply as “the ability to find, evaluate and ethically use digital information efficiently and effectively to solve an information problem”. It goes on to say that DF has elements of information literacy (IL) and technological literacy (TL).
I like to think of IL as building on the ability to read and write in order to search for, analyze, evaluate, and create resources. If you have TL, you have the skills to help with the searching, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. To borrow from the second article, you know what to use and how to use it. For me DL=IL+TL.
According to the second resource, if you have DF, you also know when and why to use (or not use) a tool or strategy. If pushed for examples, I might suggest that when searching you know when and why to use Google, Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia, or YouTube.
A logical analogy is language ability. If you are literate, you know how to converse or to write sentences. You might be able to compose and propose.
But if you are fluent, you tell and get jokes that only a cunning linguist might take a
licking liking to. You do not just read; you read in between. You do not just speak or write; you persuade and change.
Someone who possesses DF will be able to not just search effectively but also know to archive and possibly curate. When asked to recall or recommend, the digitally fluent need only reach for his/her network, archive, or curated work in order to inform and convince.
It might still be difficult to distinguish between DL and DF because they lie on a long continuum. But just like how we can tell someone who is literate from someone who is fluent, you can tell the difference DL and DF.
In one case you have the knowledgeable. In the other you have the knowledge-able.
I watched this Fine Bros video from two perspectives.
One was as a subscriber who enjoys the format of their “…React To” series. The kids’, teens’, elders’, and YouTubers’ reactions are as insightful as they are entertaining.
The other was as an educator. The way the Fine Bros conducted the video-based interview was a good example of digital sleuthing.
They first showed the teens a clip from a movie. Most of them already knew what the “cup song” phenomenon was. But they did not know how old the song was and that the cup-tapping idea was “stolen” from earlier efforts.
I think it was a good lesson about not taking things at face value and learning how to dig deeper. This should be part of lessons on being digitally literate.
You do not have to start a lesson on evaluating online resources by examining Wikipedia entries or Google Search results. Those are boring. Go where they are at and they will learn more!
The other lesson was about sharing openly. If the two girls did not upload their video to YouTube in 2009, we would not know that their effort preceded the one in the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect.
Videos and other online artefacts are not called digital footprints for nothing. They are evidence. While some focus on how such footprints can have negative consequences (e.g., you get fired for sharing a nasty photo), they can have positive outcomes too (e.g., you make a case for your intellectual property).
When something is insidious, it is not obvious when examined casually.
The “digital divide” is often viewed from the obvious technology access lens. For example, if teachers or students do not have devices and Internet access, how are they to curate or create content? While that perspective is important, it should not be the only argument against integrating technology into education.
In the context of post-industrialized countries, that point is moot. There are ways of putting technologies in the hands of learners. Every learner. The technologies get better and cheaper. Financially there are sponsors, donors, assistance schemes, etc. Schools need to think outside the box they create for themselves.
There is another more insidious box that divides the haves and have-nots. I have reflected on this before. There is the nature and quality of technology use once you have access to educational technology. The video above articulates this nicely.
The video describes a techno-pedagogical divide. I can think of many examples but will illustrate with just three.
A teacher might have access to an Interactive White Board in her classroom. But all she does is focus on didactic teaching and perhaps entertaining her students with slick animations, eye-candy transitions, and funny YouTube videos. She might do something similar by telling a riveting story with an oversized book, so her strategy for using the book and IWB are essentially the same. She is on the wrong side of the divide even if she has the IWB.
Another teacher can have access to a cart of iPads and reliable Internet access. But he allows access to the cart only when he asks his students to search for definitions, images, or videos to shed light on a concept. He does not leverage on what his students already carry in their pockets or bags, nor the spontaneity of search. He is unlikely to model information search skills and ethical use of what he finds. That teacher is also on the wrong side of the divide.
Now consider a group of teachers attempting to innovate by using a Edmodo or Facebook in their lessons. They transfer only what they experienced in the learning management system during their university days to the social media platform. They post content-only questions and expect students to answer them. They upload PowerPoint presentations and PDF readings. They wrap socialization around content instead of the other way around.
All those teachers are using new technologies with old methods. That is like moving to another country and refusing to learn the language and culture of the place. Both you and the residents may initially be wowed by the novelty. But soon both will tire of it and eventually resent it.
The insidious divide is a pedagogical one and it is far more harmful than the technological one. In a technological divide, the have-nots do not know what they are missing out on, but over time eventually might gain access to the tools.
In a pedagogical divide, the technology is present but its use is mismanaged and this sends the wrong message. This leads both the learner and instructor to question its validity and subsequent reliability.
Just thinking out loud…
New terms seem to emerge around educational technology. There are “digital x” forms like digital citizenship and digital fluency. There are the “x literacies” like assessment literacy and information literacy. The mother of such terms, digital literacy, might be the most vague of all
I wonder if we might just focus on citizenship, fluency, assessment, and being literate. While I can see some point of emphasizing how different these things might be, part of me resists the dichotomy of such thinking.
The intent of inventing and defining such terms may be good. They may exist to inform and to educate. But when descriptive terms get misinterpreted, or worse, to be prescribed, there is the temptation to create another confusing silo of thought and practice instead of a coherent whole.
A few days ago, I received this email from “Hanna”. This could be a real person or not.
Hi Dr. Tan,
I’m getting in touch with you because I’d like to contribute an article to your blog. I found your blog post as I was conducting research for a resource about how technology is used in education today.
The article that I’d like to contribute would be look at the most effective methods (and not so-effective ways) that technology has been introduced into classrooms and learning environments. How is technology used to improve knowledge retention and the efficiency of providing students with a wealth of information?
Please let me know if you’d be interested in an article of this sorts. I’d be happy to hear your opinions about this and work with you on hashing out a more cohesive idea if you’d like.
If this is real and Hanna really reads my blog, I expect a response by way of comment.
If this is not real, then this is what spam, marketing, or phishing is starting to look like. It can be hard to tell.
So here is my open letter response to Hanna and whoever else tries this in the future.
Thank you for contacting me. I am surprised that you found my blog because it is among millions.
I am not sure that you will want to write in my blog because this is my expectation for it: I do not blog for views. I blog my views. I do this to learn and to shape my thoughts on educational technologies and technology-mediated pedagogies. This is in my About Me page. Perhaps you did not see this statement.
As for a topic, I do not think it wise to promote current technology for just knowledge acquisition or retention. We already have books and tests for that.
Far more important is how to leverage on technology to promote collaboration, communication, content creation, critiquing, etc. Today, it is less about WHAT you know and more about WHO you know and WHAT YOU DO with what you know.
If you are real, I would like to hear your thoughts in return.
If you are not, then kudos to you for trying.
Real or fake, I think you will understand my caution and skepticism. Better to err on the side of caution.
It would help you in your cause (the real attempt to connect or to deceive) if you provided more information about yourself beyond your name and Gmail address (firstname.lastname@example.org). These days you are one Google search away from being verified or trashed.
Whatever the outcome of this exchange, I thank you for the opportunity to not just practice my digital literacies but also develop some digital wisdom.
I stumbled upon this piece on the digital divide.
Like most folks, I understood the digital divide to be about the technology haves and have-nots. The technologies could include computers, smartphones, and broadband. These issues on access to use technology.
Then there is the divide based on the nature of use. While some might use the technology for time-wasting (only consuming entertainment), others may use the technology to educate (for learning or creating).
Furthermore, not knowing how to effectively integrate technology into education, work and/or life is another divide. This overlaps with the nature of use but seems to be more about the quality of use.
So someone with access to mobile broadband might be able to watch Nyan Cat-like videos and not know how (or refuse) to do more than that and still be on the wrong side of the digital divide.
If you have no idea what happened almost a week ago in Singapore, you might wonder if this forum posting was factual, a fake, or farcical.
If you thought this was factual (a child actually wanted strangers to help her choose a new class monitor), you might find it both amusing and sad. Amusing because of the way it was written; sad because it was written the way many kids here speak English.
If you thought the posting was fake, you could say you knew because no school would allow their students to use mobile phones so openly. There was also little point in choosing a class monitor when the school vacation was about to start.
If you thought that this posting was a farce or spoof of last week’s by-election in Hougang, you would be right. You might also appreciate the poster’s ability to create a believable classroom scenario.
I could use an artefact like this to highlight the importance of information and digital literacies. I might facilitate a session with these questions:
- What online source does the screenshot look like it is from?
- Do you think this is real? How do you know?
- What sources of information helped you determine your answer(s) to the previous question?
- What can you now teach your parents/peers/juniors?
I could also tweak the workshops I offer on Web 2.0 and social media by providing this scenario as context for learning technical and social skills.