Digital literacy: Human flourishing and education in a new knowledge space

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How is digital literacy important to human flourishing? With so many students today using online tools such as MySpace, blogs, iTunes and instant messaging, what are the implications for school leaders in exploiting these communication and collaboration instruments for their educative value? Using Pierre Lvy's work on collective intelligence to set the scene, this paper explores the types of digital literacies both staff and students will need to develop if we are to make the most of new technologies as humanity emerges into a new 'knowledge space'. At a time when many of us fear that the digital age is taking the whole human person out of the teaching and learning nexus, I argue that we have a responsibility to embrace these tools and to use them as confederates in helping us follow what Paulo Freire famously called our 'ontological vocation' to become more fully human.


  • 1.Digital literacy. Human ourishing and education in a new knowledge space Megan Poore

2. Overview Pierre Lvy: Collective intelligence and human ourishing Richard Hoggart: Literacy Digital literacy: navigating knowledge spaces ICT levels and prociencies in Australia The intellectual life of the teacher: a strategy 3. Four anthropological spaces Lvy, Pierre. 1997 [1994]. Collective Intelligence. Mankinds Emergence into Cyberspace. Perseus Books: Cambridge, Massachussets. 4. 1. Earth space language, technology, social organisation, myth, rite, cosmology 5. 2. Territory space boundaries, agriculture, afliations, the city, the state 6. 3. Commodity space ows of energy, materials, labour; production, exchange 7. 4. Knowledge space intelligent communities, collective imagination; still emerging 8. The knowledge space Cannot be separated between individuals Is a knowledge of the other A knowledge-of-living Others are a source of knowledge, not a resposity or object of it Computerisation of society has the potential to promote collective intelligence 9. Utopian much? 10. Utopian much? We must remember that Lvy is talking about the potential of cyberspace to connect people into collectivities where everyones knowledge is recognised as a source of ethical wealth. 11. Utopian much? Lvy is running a Utopian thesis about people recognising their ontological vocation to become more fully human through the cybersocial affordances that inhabit the knowledge space. 12. Utopian much? The cognitive prostheses that we are presented with in cyberspace give us the opportunity to transform our intellectual capabilities We are moving from one humanity to another into a new humanism 13. Cogito > Cogitamus 14. Utopian much? Our ability to navigate knowledge and to think collectively will come about as the Cartesian cogito (I think) emerges into a Utopian space of cogitamus (we think) 15. The basis and goal of collective intelligence is the mutualrecognition and enrichment ofindividuals rather than the cult of fetishisized or hyspostasizedcommunitiesLvy, Pierre. 1997 [1994]. Collective Intelligence. Mankinds Emergence into Cyberspace. Perseus Books: Cambridge, Massachussets. p. 13. 16. Far from merging individual intelligence into some indistinguishable magma,collective intelligence is a processof growth, differentiation, and themutual revival of singularitiesLvy, Pierre. 1997 [1994]. Collective Intelligence. Mankinds Emergence into Cyberspace. Perseus Books: Cambridge, Massachussets. p. 13. 17. Human ourishing 18. Human ourishing At this point, we need to remember the focus of this presentation, i.e., human ourishing because it seems to me that that is exactly what Lvy is talking about. What does it mean and how is it important for us as educators? 19. Human ourishing Speaking for myself ... 20. Know thyself, O youth, so thatyou can attain wisdom, since you were born for wisdom Vico, Orations. 21. Human ourishing 22. Human ourishing Everything we do as teachers needs to be about helping young people come to know themselves Its about helping them become aware of how they are socially constructed, how they construct themselves, and how they construct others Its a realisation of the social forces that act upon us and how we ourselves contribute to them and can shape them 23. Human ourishing Its about recognising that the self is part of something bigger Its about the struggle to connect Its about recognising and responding to the human condition Its about peoples ability to succeed with others Its about contributing to a greater kowledge of oneself and a shared knowledge of others 24. Human ourishing As teachers, then, we should be aiming at helping young people recognise their autonomy, but also their interdependence. Surely this is just as important as NAPLAN test results ... (!) 25. Human ourishing In fact, two of our speakers reminded us yesterday of our duty 26. School is where we discover ourselves- Grace We need opportunities to explore- Nagai 27. Human ourishing As teachers, we are the catalysts for discovery and the guides for exploration 28. Human ourishing From this, we can now ask How can we make ourselves? Where can we intervene to become better? How can we affect the human condition? What dont we like about the ways we are human? 29. So far, so philosophical. 30. So far, so philosophical. What about the practicalities? How can we operationalise this? Before we get get to that, we need to make a sociological diversion into how we are going to approach literacy. Because literacy is one of the keys to human ourishing in the new knowledge space 31. Literacy 32. Links to digital literacy Lvys very rst claim -- in his very rst sentence -- in Collective Intelligence is that prosperity depends on our ability to navigate the knowledge space. On this view, literacy is the key to wealth, i.e., a wealth of the mind. Lvy, Pierre. 1997 [1994]. Collective Intelligence. Mankinds Emergence into Cyberspace. Perseus Books: Cambridge, Massachussets. p. 1. 33. Links to digital literacy It means giving people tools to become digitally literate so they can navigate the knowledge space. 34. Why type of literacy? Here I am talking about the type of literacy that Richard Hoggart campaigned for when he said that people must be able to become wise in their own way, and to help themselves. 35. It is easier for a few to improve the material conditions of many than for a few to waken a great many from the hypnosis ofimmature emotional satisfactions.People in this situation havesomehow to be taught to helpthemselves. Hoggart, Richard. 2008 [1957]. The Uses of Literacy. New Brunswick (USA): Transaction Publishers. p. 250. 36. [t]here are other ways of being in thetruth. The strongest objection to the more trivial popular entertainments is not that they prevent their readers from becoming highbrow, but thatthey make it harder for people without an intellectual bent to become wise in their own way.Hoggart, Richard. 2008 [1957]. The Uses of Literacy. New Brunswick (USA): Transaction Publishers. p. 250. 37. Literacy This helps us think about how we should develop amongst young people a digital literacy that will help them navigate the unfolding knowledge spaces of collective intelligence. 38. Literacy In other words, we need not a literacy that tells us how to critique (really, criticise) digital media. As Hoggart would say, thats a defensive, false literacy that privileges the tastes of the intellectual/cultural elites and actually prevents people from becoming wise in their own way. 39. To wish that a majority of the population will ever read The Times is to wish that human beings wereconstitutionally different, and that isto fall into an intellectual snobbery. The ability to read the decent weeklies is not a sine qua non of the good lifeHoggart, Richard. 2008 [1957]. The Uses of Literacy. New Brunswick (USA): Transaction Publishers. p. 262. 40. Links to digital literacy Instead, we should aim higher than that. We need a literacy that teaches us how to participate in, and to produce (as well as consume), digital culture because it is this type of literacy that will be essential to helping us navigate the knowledge space. 41. Into the practical Now its time to move from the philosophical and sociological to the practical. We need to know two things: 1. What constitutes digital literacy? and, 2. How digitally literate are our students already? 42. Denition time Digital literacy is the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, and create information using digital technology. The Northwest Learning Grid adds, importantly, 1) the ability to dene the task, and, 2) the ability to communicateWikipedia. Dention of Digital Literacy. Available at Accessed 11 September 2009. NWLG. Teachers Notes on Digital Literacy. Northwest Learning Grid. Available at digitalliteracy/teachernotes.html Accessed 11 September 2009. 43. Digital literacy 44. MCEETYA: ICT prociency What about Australia? 1. Working with information 2. Creating and sharing information 3. Using ICT responsibly MCEETYA. 2007. National Assessment Program -- ICT Literacy Years 6 & 10. Report 2005. Available at,22065.html Accessed 21 October 2008. 45. MCEETYA: ICT literacy1. Accessing info (identication, retrieval)2. Managing info (organising, storing)3. Evaluating info (integrity, relevance, usefulness)4. New understandings (creating knowledge, authoring)5. Communicating with others (sharing, creating products)6. Using ICT appropriately (critical, reective, strategic, ethics, legals) MCEETYA. 2007. National Assessment Program -- ICT Literacy Years 6 & 10. Report 2005. Available at,22065.html Accessed 21 October 2008. 46. ICT prociency levels Challenging but reasonable expectation: Year 6: 49% Year 10: 61% MCEETYA. 2007. National Assessment Program -- ICT Literacy Years 6 & 10. Report 2005. Available at,22065.html Accessed 21 October 2008. 47. A bit low? Not really, when we ask about older students ... 48. Experiences of older students 49. Student experiences Reasons for use: convenience and control, notlearning Uncertain about how to map current learning experience onto university study Cannot see how ICT and learning can work together ICT is seen either as a platform for admin or delivery University of Melbourne. 2006. First year students experiences with technology: Are they really Digital Natives? Accessed 12 February 2008. JISC. 2007. Student expectations study: Findings from preliminary research. (Joint Information Systems Committee) Accessed 12 February 2008. 50. Student beliefs in prociency ECAR study shows tht students think they are more ICT procient than they are Salaway, Gail, and Judith B. Caruso, with Mark R. Nelson. 2009. The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2008 (Research Study, Vol. 8). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. Available at 163283 Accessed 9 July 2009. 51. A graph! 52. Information behaviour 53. Information behaviour Increase in full-phrase searching Satised with basic forms of search Spend little time evaluating for accuracy, relevance, authority (but this is also pre-web) CIBER. 2008. Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future. Available at pdf/googlegen.pdf Accessed 21 October 2008. 54. Information behaviour Have difculty prioritising and evaluating search results No evidence that information is worse than before Youngsters do not come online fully-formed as expert searchers: they have always had trouble evaluating information Intellectual practices are now more visible and public Green, Hannah, and Celia Hannon. 2007. Their Space. Education for a digital generation. Available at Accessed 21 October 2008. 55. Information behaviour Young people are concerned about the unmanageable scale of the web They are seeking guidance not on how to use the technology itself, but on how to think with informationGreen, Hannah, and Celia Hannon. 2007. Their Space. Education for a digital generation. Available at Accessed 21 October 2008. and JISC. 2008. Great expectations of ICT: How Higher Education institutions are measuring up. Joint Information Systems Committee Available at greatexpectations. Accessed on 7 Feb 2009. p. 12. 56. Return to Utopia ... but with a strategy 57. Return to Utopia: a strategy At this point, we have to be careful not to forget our Utopian vision. We need to move back out, away from a focus on processes and measures, back to how we can raise students critical consciousness (Freire) for ethical engagement in the knowledge space To help them be with the world, not just in it. 58. Return to Utopia: a strategy Two-point strategy. 1. Teacher Professional Learning: a) technicaldigital literacy b) intellectual digital literacy 2. Use these technologies with students, in class 59. Teachers digital literacy 60. Technical digital literacy Skilling up in the technology Workshops, training, pushing buttons BUT the harder work is Changing mindsets Adjusting attitudes Overcoming fear Building self-esteem Embracing new ways of thinking Not bein afraid to be wrong 61. Intellectual digital literacy Interrogation of how the digital world works Critical engagement with Humanist philosophy Educational theory Cultural studies Popular non-ction on digital culture 62. Intellectual life of the teacher Start a reading group Get them to develop proper learning plans Peer mentoring Student mentoring of teachers (!) Concordia: open learning spaces William Clarke: Mini staff labs Give them time to absorb, reect, argue, critique 63. Intellectual life of the teacher So, provide staff with not just PD in building technical skills in the use of online and digital technologies. Give them opportunities to explore philosophical and ethical frameworks for understanding online cultures and how the cyberworld is changing our intellectual capabilties. These frameworks should then help them build a classroom praxis. 64. Classroom praxis 65. Classroom praxis The next step in our strategy is how to occupy students so they build technical and intellectual digital literacy for encounters in the knowledge space. 66. Classroom praxis Whatever form this takes, it must involve teaching students how to distinguish active, deep and ethical intellectual pursuit from frivilous, simple, cosmetic obsessions. Students need to be taught how to produce as well as consume digital culture and how to use digital tools for communication and collaboration in the collective knowledge space. 67. Classroom praxis There is no formula. Its about encouraging teachers imagination, artistry, inventiveness to create meaningful and ethically proper learning experiences for students. 68. Classroom praxis Schools should be showing young people how to make the most of electronic and digital media -- not how to make the least of them. Hartley, John. 2009. The Uses of Digital Literacy. Brisbane: University of Queensland Press. p. 20. 69. Some resources ... 70. Conclusio...