Digital Literacies Skills Development
Digital Literacies skills development is fundamental for any effective use of technology to enhance learning. When we mention digital literacies we are referring to the skills to create content, be critical thinkers, citizenship, collaborate, communicate etc.
"Functional technical skills + critical thinking + social engagement = digital literacy" (Josie Fraser, TEDx Leicester, 2015)
Digital is everywhere
Developing digital literacies skills allow our students and staff to thrive in an modern society. Technology has infiltrated our lives through the consumerisation of devices, an almost ubiquitous use of smartphones (90% of students own a smartphone/cell) iPads, smart watches, wearables all contribute to our connected lives. Digital literacies skills ensure or allow us to have the opportunity to take advantage of the affordances of these tools and therefore engage effectively in a global world.
Even more importantly, the development of digital literacies skills are an important part of blended learning activities and should be part of any strategy to increase the adoption of blended learning practices. Coupled with evidence based learning, they are a powerful tool for supporting staff and students to engage in the effective application of technology enhanced learning
Innovation and Digital Literacies Champions (iChamps)
12-16 student champions working with academics on projects relating to:
The development of digital literacies skills
Discipline areas are Medicine; History; Modern Languages; Music; Chemistry; Biological Sciences; Social Enterprise, Social Sciences and Geography
All the projects are aligned to the discipline areas of the students and the academic chooses the student to work with. They are then supported to develop their own skills and become part of a network of students. We communicate via Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and anything else that is appropriate for their work. The focus is on flexibility and enabling communication to suit their needs.
The Portfolio Project
University wide portfolio project
Working on the model of the iChamps the university funded a two year project to extend the concepts identified within the iChamps activities to scale up across the university
Led by Dr Eleanor Quince with Fiona Harvey, Charlotte Medland, Stephan Caspar, Dr Sally Hayward and Alistair McDonald we were successful in securing about £30,000 (around $43, 389) to bring the portfolio into the curriculum in and also to introduce open digital badges where appropriate. The project is still live and will be completed next year (July 2017).
The mini-projects within the overarching Univeristy Portfolio Projects cover:
- a predicted 600 students across the Humanities Faculty. The focus was on The HumsEmployable project where groups of students are invited to attend lectures and seminars where employability skills are the focus. These would then be included in their portfolios.
- Professional Skills for Geographers
- Competences for Audiology
- Engineering Design project
- Evaluation of the Student Champions