Tag Archives: digital skills

Digital natives? Not at all! Digital afraid I would say

Personal thoughts to start

I am writing for my progression assessment, which has been a real struggle. Writing is for me a difficult act. I have been identifying some aspects of it so I can improve. It might be because I need to stop, find silence within me, and try to find words and a way to structure them so they make justice to my ideas and all the bits and bops that float around but are an important part of the process of ideation. So yes!! It is an agony I am afraid. But here I am, holding the space of struggle and moving forward I hope! Courage is not missing, so I guess, there will be a productive outcome, in what form, that is still to come 🙂

I am receiving an incredible support from @gconole, my supervisor Grainne Conole. Thank you for that!

My research interest and reflection in relation with exploring the present and not so much predicting the future

Reflecting on my work through my writing and some reading (@DonnaLanclos and @Lawrie) I did this morning I came to realise how important the first phase of my research is. To give this reflection a context let me summarise my research and then explain what I am saying.

My research is about finding ways in which the university, through its members of staff and their institutional vision, can support students to enhance, improve and sometimes even learn about digital literacies. I think digital literacies will and indeed already are, in some occasions, taking the place of literacy as we know them, but I will develop this idea in another post, although I already started to reflect on it here.

When I was thinking about the idea of my research I had already a potential answer or hunch solution if you will. Then came all the process of thinking about how this question could be answered and planning the design research that goes with it. In this process something was not feeling right, I was very uncomfortable, still at an intuitive level, with the idea of how to implement this ‘hunch’ or idea about improving students’ digital literacies. It was definitely not standing in front of a group of students and presenting to them “my idea”! Who am I to present to them ‘The Solution’ without asking them. That felt very uncomfortable, so much so, that I decided to stop for a while and give it further thinking and time to  mature.

I then had the chance to give a talk about my research in the National University Galway with @catherinecronin in CELT (Centre for the Excellence of Learning and Teaching), where I had very good feedback and a rich and fruitful 1:1 discussion with Catherine to share our research ideas and the literature we had been looking at. The result of both, the feedback and the discussion session was a CLICK, an AJA moment. It all suddenly fall into place and I saw the piece that was missing: Students voice, their current digital practice, where they are at in this particular moment in relation with their digital literacies. What was missing was the ‘present moment’ which Donna Lanclos describes very nicely in her article (referred and linked above). An interesting point she makes is not to base our research in an imagined future, instead we need to explore the messy and not so sexy but indeed interesting present.

Future thinking is unfortunate because in part it encourages a neglect of the complicated and messy (and interesting!) present. It’s easier to think and talk about a future where the current problems with which we wrestle are fixed (jet packs!). It is more challenging to confront the present.

This idea of the problems of the future being fixed is relevant and more so the challenge that lies in exploring the present -not an imagined present she says- in order to see what is really possible to do. The core of her article is how the ‘digital native’ cliche does exactly that, hands us an imagined present where young people, all in general, do technology, are experts, hence there is no need to improve nothing, there is no need to teach nothing but only let them do what they know best and in a way we are liberated of all responsibility not only with them, but more over with our own improvement of digital literacies.

This idea of exploring the present is also encouraged by critical thinkers of ed tech like Neil Selwyn and Martin Oliver. They are also informing my work. They argue that there is a need in ed tech to explore more the ‘state of the current’ how they call it in order to attempt to bridge the existing gap between the enthusiastic rhetoric and the not so happy reality happening in the classrooms. And this is exactly what I am doing in phase 1, mapping students current digital practice so I can understand what is what they can and cannot do with technology and where is support really needed. I am using the V+R approach (another explanation here) to map students’ digital practice and it has been eye opening for my research. It shows exactly the opposite of what Prensky has established. From 20 students I worked with only 3 have located digital tools for academic purposes in their V+R Map, and less than 1/4 of the participants feel safe and confident with the idea of exploring new tools in order to work in formal settings and improve their academic digital skills. I also had a big discussion with a  group of 30 students (between 23 and 45 years old) and only 3 knew the meaning of digital literacies. In my case the evidence contradicts Prensky’s assumption totally, and it reveals how passive this cliche results.

Next step will be looking at the different factors that are hindering students to use more digital tools for learning and studying available in the Internet. As Lanclos argues, there is a need to look at the complex interactions of factors that are restricting students from being masters of the Web and its tools for academic purposes. The idea with phase 1 is to be able to extract  relevant elements from the data in order to design a scaffolding structure that supports students to improve their existing and informal personal learning environments reflected in their V+R map.

It is only exploring and knowing how their present practice looks like that anything relevant can be designed  in order to support them in the process of improving and teaching the so demanded digital literacies.


Key note in CELT conference at National University of Ireland (online streaming)

Some notes to reflect on while seeing Doug’s presentation via online life streaming

  • digital literacies (the ies ending is an idea of Doug Belshaw while doing his dissertation, which can be found here) are contextualised, there is not such ‘A THING’ that defines it. It will depend on the context.
    I am relating this to the presentation I just saw from All Aboard were they aim -via wide consultation- to create a digital road map to help and guide institutions and organisations in the development of local and national digital strategies and to ensure alignment, coherence and a sense of common endeavour at a sectoral level.
    In relation to the contextualisation of digital skills that Doug mentioned, I think if it would be worth thinking about mapping the digital skills needed in my institution and see how can we provide students with opportunities to acquire those skills during their course at the uni.
  • Badge seen as a scaffolding aid for learning paths? Still not sure but I think this what Doug was explaining when he showed the inner structure of a badge

The idea with this anatomy is to understand what information is important in order to issue a badge and the process involved in issuing and getting it.

Taken from the Serve Ravet slideshare on Open Badge and e-Portfolio

This image is about this process. There is the person or institution, let us call it X, who is issuing the badge and the person, Z, who is interested in obtaining it (people need to get some external recognition for what they have learned outside formal academia, is part of the things you need to account for to get a job); Z needs to know what is wanted from her/him, what is the criteria that she/he needs to know in order to plan what is needed to accomplish the task. Z then needs to collect evidence that respond to the criteria. Once the evidence gathered is assessed the badge is issued. So in order for a badge to be a scaffolding aid for a learning path the idea would be to point out to some of the milestones that a particular learning path should accomplish and those milestones could be the evidence upon which the badge will be issued. Or maybe to design your own learning path and start to gather evidence for it with badges. I think it depends on the experience of the learner among other things.

Another point to reflect on is the difference between digital literacy and web literacy. Doug said that for him the difference is that web literacy is more tangible and bounded hence easier to work with and towards it. Web literacy is defined as the ability to read, write and participate in the web. Whereas when one asks what does it mean to be digitally literate, the answer can get very broad and very much context dependent. I am not very clear about this. Web literacy is definitely contextualised within the Web but what happens when you are trying to read and write in a year 4 class or in the last year course in HE? is this the same? Are the skills needed the same? I do not know…
Working with personal learning environments (in HE setting) as an aid to improve digital literacy I need to be clear about what am I referring to when I talk about digital literacy and secondly I need to define what do we mean with the word technology in the educational context. Those are 2 key ideas that need to be bounded and defined at least in the context of my thesis.
Questions like what is the difference in relation to learning for a student in 1815 and one in 2015? What was revolutionary in the class of 1815? What was the newest technological device of that time? Was the use of the slate a revolution then? and the big blackboard in the center of the wall, how does this invention impacted the learning experience of students and also of teachers? How did they adapt to such a revolutionary technique?  What did it change in the learning experience? What could students do with the slate they could not before it? What was the impact on reading and writing for society? How did this impacted humans way of thinking about different subjects?
 Some more random points:
  • Digital literacy is a contested term –> Literacy as a word has meaning and relevance, it is difficult not to fall in the trap of putting literacy behind any word to make it sound relevant 🙂
  • Digital literacy should not be a dead metaphor (Rorty). THIS is it and THIS is not it doesn’t work (I need to check Rorty’s idea of dead metaphors and Doug Belshaw ambiguity chapter in his thesis)
  • Digital literacy is a way of approaching the world, an attitude towards the digital environment
  • Work with other people, don’t take just authors. Work what is means in your context
  • co-created definitions–> every body has the power. Don’t sit there isolated, work with the people involved in the digital literacy project
  • link the badge with the web literacy map
  • Badges are Trojan horse in education (need to think more deeply about this)
  • Open Badges–> is different from digital badges
  • Make a Mozilla account to create badges. They are like endorsement
  • Finland has a badge initiative and Pearson as well. (check them)
  • Integration of badges into your web page or wiki or any web artefact you are creating to show your skills
  • System of currency with open badges
  • agile currency–>badges.
  • Check the Department of education in relation to badges
  • Learning pathways, how to design them? With students?
  • Check the startup design template. download from (link is in the slideshare)
  • Scaffolding–> how do we scaffold people’s skills?
  • check the open badges’ google group
  • Prescriptive or descriptive badge: we don’t have to be prescriptive don’t need to go ahead of time. Follow what students are already doing because they are doing!
  • why would you (student) bother with the formal ways of learning if there is other ways to learn things in a more open and integrative way

Key competence development in school education in Europe

The project’s final objective is to produce recommendations for policy and practice regarding the enablers and obstacles to a holistic implementation of key competence development.
Key competences are combinations of knowledge, skills and attitudes, which facilitate the application of knowledge to real world contexts. International research suggests that individuals need them in order to function effectively in the 21st century.
Here the link to one of the publication from there you can explore further

It’s complicated

A new book:  Social media of networked teens
( USA)
Read here
Author: Danah Boyd. 
Clicking in the author’s name you can e
xplore the webpage of the book and there is a link to her web page

An interesting table of content:

  1. identity why do teens seem strange online?
  2. privacy why do youth share so publicly?
  3. addiction what makes teens obsessed with social media?
  4. danger are sexual predators lurking everywhere?
  5. bullying is social media amplifying meanness and cruelty?
  6. inequality can social media resolve social divisions?
  7. literacy are today’s youth digital natives?
  8. searching for a public of their own

Digital education and learning series


“John Potter is an expert guide, navigating us across some of the great divides in this area: between media education and the new literacy studies, between multimodal and cultural theory, between media practices at home and at school, and, most crucially, between high theory and lived experience. His notion of ‘curatorship of the self’ takes thinking in media and multiliteracy education a significant step forward.”
– Mark Reid, Head of Education, British Film Institute, UK

“John Potter shows how learners’ creative engagements with new media form part of the ongoing ‘identity work’ of their everyday lives. His central metaphor of curatorship provides a thought-provoking means of exploring the broader implications of new media for personal identity. Unlike the utopian fantasies of some digital enthusiasts, this book provides a valuable source of critical reflection and creative inspiration for researchers, educators, and all who work with young people.”
– David Buckingham, Loughborough University, UK

“This is an important contribution to our emerging understanding of what young people are actually doing with digital media, and with what consequences. By focusing on the experiences of young people and developing the thesis of ‘new curatorship,’ Potter is able to move a number of debates forward in the fields of media literacy and educational technology.”
– Neil Selwyn, Monash University, Australia

“This book reflects two of the many strengths of John Potter’s work in the field of media education. The research is rooted in his experience as an educator of children, young people, and teachers and has an authority in practice. It also challenges us to think differently about our understandings of identity, digital media, and curatorship and encourages us to engage actively with new concepts of literacy in a digital age.”
– Avril Loveless, School of Education, University of Brighton, UK

“This authoritative new study cuts through the current confusions about young people, new media and learning. Potter’s clarity of thought and innovative use of the metaphor of curatorship produces valuable insights into the ways in which children use digital media to negotiate culture, identity and social roles. Rooted in long experience of classrooms and in detailed empirical research, it is an essential read for researchers, students and practitioners in the fields of literacy, new media, and childhood studies.”
– Andrew Burn, DARE (Digital/Arts/Research/Education), Institute of Education, University of London

“In this superb contribution to ideas about learning in the twenty-first century, John Potter artfully sidesteps the polarizing extremes of both technological determinism and its more reductive opposition to provide us with a research-based account of ‘the new curatorship.’ For academics, researchers and – most crucially – teachers seeking an intelligent and inclusive framework for bridging the widening gap between education and ‘lifeworld’ learning and between scales of access and new forms of digital ‘capital,’ this is exactly what we’ve been waiting for. Curatorship of identity and self through digital and social media is cultural, not merely technical, and Potter goes beyond observing this to map out a convincing strategy for our response.”
– Julian McDougall, University of Wolverhampton, UK and Editor, Media Education Research Journal

“This book makes an original and important contribution to scholarship in new media. Based on a study of children’s autobiographical film-making, John Potter vividly illustrates the explanatory power of the metaphor of curatorship. This is essential reading for those interested in new literacies and media studies.”
– Guy Merchant, Sheffield Hallam University, UK


Web-based school collaboration has attracted the sustained attention of educators, policy-makers, and governmental bodies around the world during the past decade. This book sheds new light on this topical but ever so complex issue. Drawing on a wealth of theoretical and empirical work, it presents the various models of available school twinning programs and explores the cultural, political, and economic factors that surround the recent enthusiasm regarding collaborative initiatives. Moreover, the book critically examines teachers’ and students’ experiences of web-based school collaboration. In particular, it develops a realistic perspective of the range of challenges they face and identifies the host of technological and non-technological issues that can shape participation in collaborative programs.


“Programs that provide opportunities for transnational collaboration between schools have been around for some time, but the potential expansion of these through new technology has yet to be evaluated in a principled way. Gouseti’s book does just that. Based on case studies of teachers’ and students’ experiences of the European eTwinning programme she provides a detailed analysis of the promises and pitfalls of web-based school collaboration . . . providing an excellent overview and critique of the rhetoric associated with web 2.0 and ‘participatory culture’. This is a book that is well-informed, well-argued and scholarly throughout, offering practical guidance on how to develop school collaboration through new media. – Guy Merchant, Professor of Literacy in Education, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
“The field of educational technology is full of broad expectations and assumptions. As such, detailed examinations of the complex realities of technology and education are always welcome. In this book, Gouseti provides just such an insight into the everyday constraints that have a significant bearing on digital education. This book offers a salutary reminder than very little in education is ever as straightforward as we are promised. An important book for anyone interested in contemporary schools and schooling.” – Neil Selwyn, Professor of Education, Monash University, Australia

A Curriculum for the Next Billion

Sharing my annotations