Cathy Davidson, Professor of English and Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University, also co-founder of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, Technology Advanced Collaboratory) asked her university students for examples of the digital literacies they were developing in her classes. Here’s what they said:
- Using online sources to network, knowledge-outreach, publicize content,
collaborate and innovate
- Collecting, managing, and interpreting multimedia and online data and/or content
- Appreciating the complex ethics surrounding online practices
- Engaging successfully in an “Innovation Challenge,” an exercise in simultaneous multi-user, real-time distance collaboration, on deadline
- Developing a diversity of writing styles and modes of communication to best reach, address, and accommodate multiple audiences across multiple online platforms
- Demonstrating technical and media skills: Web video, WordPress, blogging, Google Docs, Livechat, Twitter, Facebook Groups, Wikipedia editing
- Participating successfully in peer leadership (without an authority figure as the leader to police, guide, or protect the collaborators), peer assessment, peer self-evaluation; making contributions to a group on a coherent and innovative project
- Cultivating strategies for managing the line between personal and professional life in visible, online communities
- Understanding how to transform complicated ideas and gut reactions about technology into flexible technology policy
- Learning how to champion the importance of the open Web and Net Neutrality
- Collaborating across disciplines, working with people from different backgrounds and fields, including across liberal arts and engineering
- Understanding the complexity of copyright and intellectual property and the relationship between “open source”and “profitability”or “sustainability”
- Excelling in collaborative online publishing skills and expertise, from conception to execution to implementation to dissemination
- Incorporating technology efficiently and wisely into a specific classroom or work environment
- Leading peers in discussing the implications and ethics of intellectual collaborative discourse and engagement online and beyond
- Using the superior expertise of a peer to extend my own knowledge
Michael Mateas, author of Procedural Literacy: Educating the New Media Practitioner (2005) and Director of the Center for Games and Playable Media brings our attention to the role of procedural literacy for learning. He speaks to procedural literacy defined as “the ability to read and write processes, to engage procedural representation and aesthetics, to understand the interplay between the culturally-embedded practices of human meaning-making and technically-mediated processes.” And he advocates a focus on developing games as a way to teach and engage with students to develop powerful and effective procedural literacies.
As you think about these two contrasting examples advocating for interpretations and definitions of ‘literacy’ that go beyond the traditional print reading and writing, consider your work with students at your level. What are the features and functions of digital and procedural literacies that you can grow and develop to help our students become fully literate learners? How can your work support them to best participate in the digital and media centered experiences in and out of school, now and for the future?
Jenna Ream is an educator, parent, and perpetual student of learning on ground and online. Raising kids, consulting with schools, and pursuing a doctorate of education in Urban Ecologies, Jenna engages in conversations to find ways communities and schools can learn from our teachers and kids, to do better by our teachers and kids.