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Social media, digital literacy and curriculum (re)design

0259 ALTC 2009

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The Cloudworks Team
27 August 2009

ALT-C 2009 Session: This Cloud has been set up to aggregate live blogs, comments, discussion and links for this session.

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Social media, digital literacy and curriculum (re)design

Helen Keegan
University of Salford, United Kingdom

This is an action research study of cross-disciplinary perspectives on the development of learners’ digital identity and digital literacy practices in the curriculum.

21st Century Skills, including multiple literacies, are recognised as being core to lifelong learning in a networked society, and there is a web of support for the development of these competencies, particularly in terms of Study Skills support. However, it is also recognised that learner competencies could be further enhanced by the development of new pedagogies which embed digital literacies into mainstream curriculum. Following on from earlier work (Keegan, 2009) which described the development of the ‘digital self’ through the use of Web 2.0 technologies in a specific curriculum context, the author explores the pedagogical, technological and institutional challenges to be considered when introducing digital identity development, using a range of social media, into the HE curriculum across a diverse range of disciplines.Using a combination of semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and focus groups, a series of approaches and experiences have been explored, including: attitudes towards ‘soft’ vs. ‘hard’ skills, continuing professional development, digital citizenship and industry-specific requirements.

A diverse range of staff including academics, educational developers, learning technologists and senior management have been interviewed in order to arrive at a deep situational understanding through identifying the perceived benefits of/barriers towards introducing digital identity/digital literacies across a range of disciplines. The learner voice is crucial, and student attitudes and perceptions have been measured using qualitative and quantitative data including participant observation, focus groups and questionnaires.The results of the study have informed strategic curriculum development both within the author’s discipline group and also at the broader university level.

Pedagogical and technological considerations have enabled us to identify specific elements which are generic and transferrable across disciplines (study skills), while discipline-specific practices have also been recognised and developed. The benefit of taking an action research approach to this study of digital identity, literacy and social media, is that the process of data collection has resulted in moving thinking forward (Somekh, 1995) through involving a range of stakeholders in re-thinking digital literacies and social media across the curriculum.

Keegan, H. (2009) Digital identity, Communication and Collaboration through Web 2.0, in The Effective Use of Social Software in Education (JISC report) p.95-99 last accessed 28 Feb 2009.

Somekh, B. (1995) The Contribution of Action Research to Development in Social Endeavours: a position paper on action research methodology, in British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 21, No.3, p.339-355.

Rebecca Galley
16:43 on 8 March 2010

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