Digital Sandbox

This Blog is designed to provide the reader with information on how to adopt technology into the classroom by relooking at traditional classroom tools and transitioning into new ways of teaching and learning. The Digital Sandbox explores the future of learning through the recreation of 21st Century learning environments.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Redefining Literacy in the Digital Age

To help students gain an edge on employability, schools will need to model, design, and simulate co-creative learning environments. These are the participatory learning environments that promote web-found knowledge that use information as a source for the expansion of knowledge. These are the new spaces of web found knowledge where digital media is remixed into text and visual compilations. These are also the virtual spaces that students need to efficiently navigate with skill sets that are appropriate to the environment.

To fulfill a deep learning experience students need skill sets to access information, know the media literacy language of the environment, apply ethics, and understand the knowledge competencies to navigate virtual spaces. To avoid a dysfunctional disconnect between educators and students, the education community must correct the current asymmetry in the classroom around media literacy. Moreover, cultural modes of communication are changing outside classroom walls, and to adequately prepare students to engage in meaningful dialogue across multiple media platforms, educators must become transliterate.

Transliteracy teaching is a way to support students in becoming critical consumers and conversers in a digital environment. "While multimedia experiences are becoming more important, classical, text-based instruction is still essential. Communication and coordination still occurs in written words, and a rich vocabulary and textual literacy hasn’t become obsolete. Indeed, as society navigates its way among these new modes of communication, it will need to draw on the insights of communication modes that have matured through centuries of use. If textual literacy isn’t fostered outside the classroom that’s simply more reason it should be given attention in the classroom. Educators must still realize, however, that students are not coming in with the textually literate foundation they once may have had."

These productions are created by individuals using open source software tools assisting them in media creation -- media reproduced in visual forms supported by text and sound. These are the collaborators who share knowledge through networks of individuals who believe ideas do not belong to one individual. These are the creators of curated knowledge who believe knowledge belongs to us as a culture. These are the innovators of a learning culture educators must embrace; a culture whose ideas are founded on digital media compilations shared on an open network for everyone to use.

Defining digital literacy is about understanding how to access information, and use digital tools to create new forms of media. The three domains of digital literacy include using digital tools to access information, use of digital media tools to create digital content, and the skills needed to produce multimedia compilations into consumable content. Digital literacy in this context requires three levels of skill development. The first domain is knowing how, when, and where to locate useful information on the Internet. The second domain is the development of understanding the use of digital tools as these tools are applied in the creation of content. The third domain of digital media literacy is in producing and sharing digital compilations into a medium for knowledge consumption. These mediums for knowledge consumption can take the form of an eBooks, online open source learning resources, or can be produced in a web based format. 

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