"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Digital Literacy Practice and Engagement:

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.


  1. Thank you JG for your helpful synthesis of the digital literacies papers and for the Palette video! Interestingly, the inter-generational art project, although made available to us via the film, embodies what is best in face-to-face learning, especially when shared art projects are involved: spaces for dialogue, ease of conversation, an open-ended structure for people to be 'whole' together, touch, looks, tact....I love Palette!! Thank you for sharing this and for your provocative post that somehow blurred the lines between the digital and the face-to-face. Perhaps digital will never take the place of human contact, but it can approximate it, and get us close to the human encounter so we can feel it vicariously.

    1. Hi Bill, I am glad you enjoyed my post! I feel the same way about the Palette video. I used that link to show how digital platforms can bring the "classroom" to us and as viewers/participants; we are a part of the learning. I loved one of the participant's (Barbara Burton) statements that "Seniors need to be lifetime - lifelong learners..." Her comment resonated with me and connected me back to our class discussions, along with texts covered on the many groups of learners that are, have been, and continue to be marginalized from learning.

      I don't feel digital technology should replace F2F learning. However, technology removes barriers to learning. *I also recognize that it can also alienate. Yet, as someone very passionate about learning and education, I feel a responsibility to use any tool that I have at my disposal to facilitate that process. I find that awareness within myself very powerful and empowering. :-) JG

  2. JG - I like your words: "They simply share observations on the shift in how we the users of this technology are redefining our learning spaces." In a different sense of learning space, I posted about those who define learning as a purely cognitive process--something that takes place in the learning space of the brain. I think what attracts me most to literacy studies, and adult education in general, is the way we open-mindedly explore and truly redefine our learning spaces. I must be feeling nostalgic as I wind-down my time in the M.Ed. program. Now, I'm off to a new learning space, and I'm scared to death.

    1. Hi Susan, I love that learning is limitless; that there are no boundaries between the giver and receiver in terms of that shared process - that connected energy. Your statement from your own blog post, “…those who define learning as a purely cognitive process--something that takes place in the learning space of the brain." gave me goose-bumps when I thought about the layers upon layers of energy being passed back and forth within the brain when learning takes place -even within that learning space - as you defined it is limitless. I find that a very provocative area of study and wish you great success in voyage of discovery. :-) Journeying into the unknown always brings a little (or a lot of) fear. But as you are very passionate about your learning, that fear will quiet down and you will have an amazing ride! :-)


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.