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MON:Learning to thrive and survive in a digital environment (Pat Townshend)
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7 January 2017
In this presentation a range of framework and survey tools will be explored. These will have been amended to be used with mature learners studying early years vocational childcare qualifications. The tools will be based on the JISC six-element `Building Digital Capabilities’ framework, a short survey about the use of digital technology; and an amended pyramid model of digital literacy. Results and feedback from early use of these tools will be shared.
The presentation will include a report of feedback from course tutors on the JISC document “Developing Digital Capability - Understanding learners’ needs”. This will include their observations on learners as digital users in their personal lives and in their educational activities. It will consider their attitudes, skills, needs and preferences.
Research into the capabilities of mature students in comparison to younger students has proved controversial in the recent past. Prensky’s 2001 metaphor of `digital natives’ and `digital immigrants’ has exited much academic discussion and lively debate. It also reached into the public sphere, as it seem to echo the idiom “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Ten years later White and Le Cornu (2011) proposed new metaphor of a continuum between ‘Visitors’ and ‘Residents’ as a replacement: focusing on `place’ and `tools’. This, it is argued, updates the metaphor for the post web2.0 environment. Which metaphor makes a better `fit’ for individual students? Why? What are the most influential factors affecting individuals’ relationship with digital technology? Is it overall educational confidence and competence, or the need to acquire the range of new skills, or having time spare to become skilled and confident, or is it a matter of affordability? Or any combination of these factors?
Attitudes to the use of digital technology in the care and education of young children appear divided in the sector. Some argue that technology is alien to the traditional play based, social and sensory curriculum. Others see a role for devices such as iPads in enriching teaching and learning and inspiring children’s motivation and enthusiasm. The attitudes of parents has a vital role to play in this discussion. To what extent do they influence one side of the argument or the other? All the adults caring for children as carers, teachers or parents also have a duty to keep children safe. They also have to maintain balance, coping with their own concerns and the concerns of society about the ubiquity and the perceived dangers of using digital devices and the internet. Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological model of children’s development includes the microsystem, mesosytem, exosystem and macrosystem levels. All have a role to play and influence.
Finally the presentation will report on the experience of networking with academics and with colleagues. Education is a social process. Digital communications could be the means to open up connections and learn in a wider social sphere than was previously possible.
Flewitt, R., Messer, D., Kucirkova, N. (2014) `New directions for early literacy in a digital age: The iPad’. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. SAGE Publications doi: 10.1177/1468798414533560. Available at http://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/3365/1/Flewitt_Messer_Kucirkova_2014_new_directions_for_early_literacy_the_iPad.pdf (last accessed 30 Dec 2016)
Joint Information Systems Committee (2014) `Building digital capability: the six elements defined’. Available at http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6239/1/Digital_capabilities_six_elements.pdf (last accessed 30 Dec 2016)
Joint Information Systems Committee (2014) `Developing Digital Capability Understanding Learners’ Needs’ Developing digital literacies Available at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MziWRF4KBKjwjtbeN7kbpUrX5c30z6t81nss_JfTGlQ/edit (last accessed 30 Dec 2016)
Palaiologou, I. (2016) Teachers’ dispositions towards the role of digital devices in play-based pedagogy in early childhood education. Early Years. Volume 36, 2016 - Issue 3. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2016.1174816 (last accessed 30 Dec 2016)
White, D.S. Le Cornu, A. (2011) `Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement.’ First Monday.(2011) Available at: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3171/3049 (last accessed: 30 Dec 2016) doi:10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171.
also see http://daveowhite.com/vandr/ and
16:06 on 10 February 2017