For my last blog post for TEDU 681 I've decided to write about Digital Literacy. During our F2F meetings in class, we touched on the topic somewhat. But then were given an opportunity to explore it further as individuals through the articles and discussion guide questions provided by our classmates. I was happy to have Digital Literacy as my topic since I've been able to be an observer and user of this new practice in three separate arenas: professional, academic, and for my personal use.
Although our articles were different, I wasn't that surprised to discover the articles we selected had more than a few similarities and central connecting themes. My (two) articles, Embracing the Squishiness of Digital Literacy and Digital literacy practices and their layered multiplicity explored how digital platforms, social media being one, can be used to facilitate learning regardless of their original intent – a form of entertainment through social engagement. With digital platforms, the user determines (to an extent) how they will exercise their knowledge and versatility with that platform. My classmate’s article, A Closer Look at Adult Digital Literacy Acquisition, also explored how the advent of digital technology has provided the user with an ease of use outside of a closed in arena. In subtle ways, our articles challenged the concept of how and where we learn. Yet, the articles do not negate or promote digital literacy over adult literacy in print form. They simply share observations on the shift in how we the users of this technology are redefining our learning spaces.
For myself, I’d always thought that learning - “real” learning - took place within a box - the classroom. Of course, that is not the case. Yet, I found my biases challenged as an adult learner when I stepped into the world of eLearning a few years ago. New to my graduate studies, I was I was fortunate to catch the rotation of ADLT 640 Theory and Practice of eLearning Integration into Adult Learning Environments. In that hybrid online learning environment, I was able to experience first-hand how empowering, digital technology can be for the learner and the instructor. I was introduced into a world of many digital or multi-platforms, teaching theories, and practices. I found myself, in a unique place in that course. I, along with my classmates, were facilitators/instructors in the class and for each other as adult learners using digital technology, digital literacy, and digital practice to create a dual hybrid learning environment to house our engagement practices. After that course, I discovered my perspectives had changed. I found that learning experience in that classroom – both digital and traditional – transformative. I had gone from a firm skeptic at the beginning of that course to an advocate of digital technology, its platforms, concepts, and practice, both in and out of the classroom of the adult learner.
Now, I find myself continuingly examining digital literacy and digital practice; the exploration of the two terms and how they fit and shape our digital experience. Technology like any other tool can be invaluable to the user. In the world of education, there are uncountable ways that technology can benefit its users. In the world of adult literacy, digital literacy can be yet another methodology for the user/ the learner to move forward in their learning journey.
I will end this post with a video clip, titled, Palette (Promoting Art for Life Enrichment Through Transgenerational Engagement) *(This program was made possible through a multi-sponsored partnership with the Geriatric Training and Education initiative of the Virginia General Assembly). I discovered or stumbled upon this clip after I’d submitted my responses to my classmate’s article on digital literacy. Perhaps, I was unduly influenced by the article, but this clip seemed connected to digital literacy and practice. From, my classmate’s discussion guide question, we are asked if we agree that the adult learners’ reflections found under the heading, “What Do Adult Learners Say About Acquiring Digital Literacy?” promote or support, “increased personal empowerment, civic participation, and lifelong learning.” (April 2014)
For me, this blog forum and how we've used it to expand our minds and thoughts with each other is active digital literacy and digital practice.
Thanks for sharing the ride with me this summer.