By Michael Turner and Rachel Lewis
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
There are many factors that can affect digital literacy levels of individuals.
Cultures - there are certain religions where it is not acceptable for women to have the same rights as men, for instance they cannot go to school or drive, this will have an impact on their level of exposure and ability to use digital technologies.
Education - limited exposure to technology tools both during school and at home, due to financial implications can have an impact on an individuals level of digital literacy skills.
Level of ability - this could be a direct impact of someone's level of learning, which can affect their ability to learn and the desire to explore various tools and technologies.
Bilingualism - mainstream education being English and for learners who's first language may not be English can have an impact on someone's ability to use technologies.
Diversity is enabling us to overcome potential barriers and find solutions for any issues learner may have regardless of race, religion, sex, culture, language etc.
In order to promote an inclusive learning approach teachers need to look at the learner, their learning goals and the learning environment, e.g;
Learner “…different ways of engaging the learner; different styles of teaching and different strategies for providing support for learning can assist the acceptance, retention and retrieval of information with different kinds of intellectual and physical skills….”
Learning Goals “...teachers need to ascertain what the student already knows, understands and can do. They then need to identify new learning goals, which would be discussed and agreed with the learner. These goals would vary in their scope and time-scale according to the learner’s requirements…(and)…would depend on what the individual needed and wanted to learn at that particular point in their lives.”
Learning Environment “...the components of the learning environment make up an individually tailored package of processes, equipment , teaching , the physical environment and so on , which enable the learner to engage actively in their learning. The term refers to: the ‘physical ‘ components, such as learning technology, wheelchair access, library and private study areas; the ‘human’ components such as classroom assistants, support workers; and the curriculum, teaching methods and assessment and accreditation procedures. It comes nearest, in ordinary language, to the idea of an ‘learning eco-system’.”
Issues that can create barriers come in many forms and can include:
Personal (Time), Social (Attitudes), and Economical (Cost)
TUTOR VALUES AND BELIEFS
Tutors should be open minded to any potential barriers which may occur and these should be anticipated prior to learning being undertaken. When an individual shows a level of creativity, they should be fully supported and encouraged to develop. Equally when an individual is struggling with digital literacy, they should also be supported to develop. Understanding should be checked throughout in order to ascertain the learning is at the right level for each member of the group and that progression is being made.
For example, if a female was from a cultural background which did not allow them to participate, although we may not have the same values or beliefs, we should fully support their cultural beliefs.
As facilitators, CPD plays a big part in the delivery of digital literacy, as technology is constantly changing and everyone need to stay ahead of the game in order to develop.
Group work will encourage learners to work with peers of different abilities so they can learn from each
Ensuring all learning styles are being met via activities
Using 'fun' tools to create a less threatening environment
Pairing learners together with different skills to work together
A range of different technologies available to allow learners to have a broader understanding of what is available