In this information age in which we live, which is exciting, fast-paced and scary all at the same time a range of definitions need to be examined, elaborated on and finally agreed to by enough educators to be meaningful in terms of our profession and to impact on student learning outcomes.
Much of the terminology being developed comes from quite different areas, for example, ecology is usually a term used by Biologists. When it is applied to Information and Communication Technology those of us working in this sphere need to pause and consider what the implications are for us.
Educators and information professionals view the world through numerous lenses, unlike some professions where the focus can be more one dimensional. This image, of the historical Kingscote Lighthouse light, represents the varied ways educators have to adapt concepts and theories to their role in guiding student learning.
Digital Media and Learning is a phrase used by Gee (DMAL) (Gee, 2010). Gee argues that the “learning” aspect will not evolve until real coherence of terminology and practice develops through collaboration and the ‘accumulation of shared knowledge’. (Gee, 2010, p. 6) He acknowledges the importance of this as:
‘a truly important and yet tractable theme around which the area can organize. Does digital media and learning have such a theme? One candidate would be this: the ways in which digital tools have transformed the human mind and human society and will do so further in the future. This certainly seems a big and important theme. The question, then, becomes whether there are shared tools and perspectives we all can develop to study it and whether it is tractable, that is, whether deep study will lead to real results’. (Gee, 2010, p. 6)
While we are referring to terminology, here’s another example: Gee quotes ‘Ong’s classic 1982 book … started the discussion of the effects of digital media on traditional literacy and said it constituted a form of “secondary orality’ (Gee, 2010, p. 7). Orality resonates with the concept that digital story telling is so valuable for assisting students to make sense of their world. It ties in with the work of Stephen Heppell and his students, which can be seen here: http://www.heppell.net/bva/ (Heppell, n.d.)
Beyond defining the terminology, there is benefit to educators perusing models and translating words to action in the classroom.
(Hague & Paton, 2010)
This diagram reminds teachers of why it is important for them to be present and active in their lessons (whether as sage on the stage, guide by the side, or as co-learner). Students cannot be expected to just know the implications of the qualifying words such as critical, effective, functional and utilised here. In order for projects such as Stephen Heppell’s to be quality educational end products, deep understanding of these 8 areas is necessary. Students may achieve that through effective collaboration and networking with each other, but having the teacher as co-learner is the most effective way of achieving this.
Summey (2013, p 15 cited in (M, 2014) provides a diagrammatic representation of these:
Gee, J. (2010). New Digital Media and Learning as an Emerging Area and “Worked Examples” as One Way Forward. Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America. Retrieved March 22, 2014, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/18943052/New-Digital-Media-and-Learning-as-an-Emerging-Area-and-Worked-Examples-as-One-Way-Forward
Hague, C., & Paton, S. (2010). Digital Literacy Handbook. Bristol, United Kingdom. Retrieved March 23, 2014, from http://www.futurelab.org.uk/sites/default/files/Digital_Literacy_handbook_0.pdf
Heppell, S. (n.d.). About BVA. Retrieved March 26, 2014, from Be Very Afraid: http://www.heppell.net/bva/
M. (2014, January 5). Digital Literacy, Social Networking, Blogs, Wikis, Social Bookmarking. Retrieved March 23, 2014, from M’s Multimedia Blog: http://cbltmultimedia.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/digital-literacy-communities-of-practice-and-social-media/