Digital Literacies: a #digped Discussion

In our very first #digped discussion in early 2012, we ran a massive collective book group centered around Howard Rheingold’s Net Smart. In that book, Rheingold outlines several key digital literacies: critical awareness (or “crap detection”), participation, collaboration, and network awareness. He writes, “digital literacies can leverage the Web’s architecture of participation, just as the spread of reading skills amplified collective intelligence five centuries ago.” Rheingold joined us for a discussion that circled around how and where we incorporate a focus on these literacies in our pedagogies.

Over the last several years, I have given a great deal of consideration to how Critical Pedagogy lives (and does not live) on the web. How does participation happen differently on the web? What qualifies as action or agency online? How do we come to know on the web? How do we encounter knowing and not knowing differently on the web? Where are the fault-lines, the points of contact and tension, between the work we do “in person” and the work we do “online”? Is it even useful to make this distinction? Is it useful to distinguish literacies from digital literacies?

This week’s #digped will bring us back to the very beginning of these discussions that started almost 4 years ago. We make this return at an important moment in our evolution. Digital Pedagogy Lab Cairo concluded a few weeks ago and created relationships and a series of conversations that have really only just begun. We have just opened registration for the second Digital Pedagogy Lab 5-day Institute in Fredericksburg, VA.

And we have also announced Digital Pedagogy Lab Prince Edward Island this July 13 – 15, where Digital Literacies will be one of the tracks. In her recent piece about DPL Prince Edward Island, Bonnie Stewart writes, “the dominant narrative tends more towards essentializing the face-to-face and reducing the digital to instrumental, task-based impersonality, rather than recognizing it as a human space with all the potential – educative and destructive, both – that that implies.”

Can we gather together online before that event where some of us will meet “in the flesh” to parse some of the questions that animate our discussions about digital pedagogy? Can we begin to ask new questions, tentative ones, fumbling toward continually new ways of thinking about how we live and work on the web.

This Friday at Noon Eastern, Digital Pedagogy Lab will host a live Twitter chat using #digped where we’ll answer these questions and formulate new ones.

Some questions to consider in advance of the chat:

  1. What are the differences (or are their fundamental differences) between literacies and digital literacies?
  2. How do we come to know with and through and on the web?
  3. What is the importance or role of digital skills or tool literacies? How are digital literacies synonymous with (or exactly at odds with) digital skills or tool literacies?
  4. How do you respond to the notion often bandied about that “It’s Teaching, Not Tools”? What gets privileged by a statement like this? What assumptions are made? What gets overlooked?
  5. What can we, together as a group, outline as key digital literacies?

If you are interested in this conversation, join us Friday, April 8 at Noon Eastern. For those unable to join the conversation this week, the #digped chat happens on the second Friday of every month at Noon Eastern. If you have suggestions for future topics, feel free to add them to the comments on this entry or tweet them to @Jessifer or @slamteacher.

[Photo by Matt Artz.]

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