Friday, 13 November 2015

Digital Literacies: Reflection

After reading through all the content and taking notes in the previous section, consider how this information could be used in the context of your own practice. Write a reflective blog post on how this information could change your practice. Talking points could include: talking about which digital literacies you currently use; whether or not you might change these, and if so what to; how you encouraged development of digital literacies before; and whether or not you have found a more effective way to do so.

I began this week's work with less enthusiasm that the weeks before as I knew that I could gain a great deal from thinking again about policy and practice, and IT strategy - and indeed I've found several aspects of the course immediately applicable at work. I've tended to consider Digital Literacy to be something that was interesting to write about but with less purposeful application to actually improve learning - and indeed several of the more abstract parts of the reports such as TLRP confirmed all that prejudice.

To some extent the JISC material, but to a greater one the Leicester City Council DigiLit work made me think again. There is definitely something useful here I can apply, and shared in a way that makes that practical.

Previously when thinking about professional development for staff I've been very focused on functional, precise pieces of training around a particular skill or service.  Nicole Welsh's blog post about Policy Perspectives and the points made around staff buy-in and the need to avoid simply replicating past practice made me consider more on how can we make CPD general education for members of our workforce that builds? So:

  • Rather than add a skill but leave practice simply enhanced we support real change with some skills to enable it
  • Rather than leave people wanting more training (because it is a finite and limited resource), we equip them to develop their skills independently through PLEs, action research and identifying opportunities independently (that leaves a challenge about disciplined innovation but that is another topic).
This also links back to the four quadrants I discussed in an earlier post about policy - one thing is to set out clearly what your core offer is and make sure all staff and students have the access and skills to use it, another is to broaden the number of people able to tackle discovery of new practice and guide their own use of it - to then feed back to improve that core. Right now I can think of a number of people in every school I work with that have that capacity, but how can we make that broader? That makes our adoption of new practices faster, our organisation more agile. 

So, taking that premise: that investing in greater digital literacy for staff has huge long term benefits to an organisation and looking at the DigiLit work in Leicester to see what might work for us, I see the work arising from this week's reading being:
  • Considering the various frameworks and models, and the age related expectations for our students in the national curriculum, develop our own - one that is simple and describes emerging, core and advanced levels and makes the steps to progress between them, clear. The fact that the national curriculum does not make much reference to digital literacy in computing is both an opportunity and a weakness. Not having something explicitly mandated gives us the flexibility to keep it simple and about improvement rather than accountability frameworks. Not having it explicitly mandated means we need to work hard to communicate the reason for doing it in the first place.
  • Look at the materials used by DigitLit and JISC, develop some simple, web-based profile tools to allow us to review staff digital literacy in one of the two ways below. This will not give us a reliable dataset for how good our staff digital literacy base is - but right now that is not the main issue, the focus is on targeting limited resources where they will be taken up or where there is a pressing need with resources available.
    • Systemically for groups where there is a programme of work where we can directly attach professional development work and ensure we use the framework to inform, and shape that work.
    • On demand for those wanting to access online and general professional development opportunities relevant to digital literacy. We have an opportunity linked to a programme on Learning Design (blending the Microsoft Educator Community resources with an in-house programme).
  • Alongside the above, working to develop a broader and more reliable understanding of the levels of digital literacy of our staff.
  • Potentially using digital literacy as an early element of a staff learning profile that we're interested in developing - at present the core identity management element of what we do is all about security (who you are and what you are allowed to do) - I'd like to see it become far broader and about service and improvement instead of just compliance.
  • Using that digital literacy framework in developing our professional social network (formerly called an intranet but now with a far greater emphasis on peer work and sharing rather than centrally published material) so that elements are signposted and linked back.

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