Digital literacies; a challenge for all

In Doug Belshaw’s TEDx talk on digital literacies, Doug makes a persuasive argument for understanding the new types of culture/language and practices surrounding digital literacies.  He argues that they should be built into lifelong learning through focussing on the intersection between students’ interest and the important contemporary issues.

The video focussed on a couple of memes, which he defines as  idea or behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. One example is Kitchener’s war time poster which has been reappropriated many times.

The memes he uses in his talk illustrate the power of photos that are reused and remixed with words to make new points. He suggests that memes are more possible through use of digital technology (in terms of production) but also the communication possibilities of the internet change the speed and reach of their distribution.

He proposes 8 essential elements of digital literacies.  He suggests that these are like elements of a cake in that they can be combined in different proportions depending on the desired outcome.

  • Cognitive
  • Construction
  • Communication
  • Civic
  • Critical
  • Creative
  • Confident
  • Cultural

I like the 8 C model but I prefer Beetham and Sharpe’s (2010) distinction between access, skills, practices and attributes. I used Sharpe and Beetham’s model for the basis of my Digital Practitioner Framework (Bennett 2012)

Digital Practitoner Framework


What does it mean for HEIs/FEIs?

The debates about who supports digital litercies – academic staff, librarians, IT support or academic skills is one that is only just emerging as we grapple with the new skills, practices and attributes that students needs to study and be prepared for working in a digital world.


About Liz Bennett's Blog

I'm a Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Education and University of Huddersfield
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