e-learning is not just for education but for life by Geoff Rebbeck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
e-learning isn’t just for education but for life….
We have always been clear that technology adds value to education. We see that value in the way we organise learning for better efficiency and greater profundity of learning and in steering what we learn into unique episodes of activity and learning journeys. But might we now start to think about ‘doing’ e-learning for a purpose beyond its role in learning? DO we know enough about e-learning so we can describe e-learning as an outcome in its own right?
Perhaps e-learning isn’t just for education but for life….
To answer this question, we need a purpose, a way of working to get there and a method of organising education to make it happen and I would describe all that as follows:
The processes and actions taken to ensure every student has Digital Literacy and, as a result, can foster a positive on-line reputation in supporting their economic, personal, private and social lives, and that this is achieved through colleges being digitally inclusive.
It requires the college students, and every member of staff to act mindfully and overtly to leave no-one out of the journey in equipping students and their teachers and those that support them in preparing for, and taking part successfully, as they would wish, in the modern world through the intervention of technology. It includes those that would prefer to be left out and those with special needs in learning who might be challenged by this approach.
Who then has to do what
What is meant by Digital Literacy and Reputation
We can start with the Jisc definition of Digital Literacy as:
‘those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society’.
We can add to this that an emphasis of the value of technology in all aspects that are beyond seeing this as purely to do with employability. In practice this is the ability of a person to control, craft and personalise the utility of technology successfully, safely, profitably and with pleasure in its widest meaning.
The idea of a on-line reputation comes from the recognising that it is impossible to escape a digital identity and where it is not cultivated it can be unflattering and perfunctory, often based on the contributions of others. It is always better managed by the owner of the identity. Recognising that an identity can alter over time, it is better thought of as a Reputation. It is believed the those who do not maintain a positive digital reputation are seen to be at a life long disadvantage in the ability to make connections in commercial, personal, private and community dealings. As education is seen as a nurturing experience to achieve these ends, educators are increasingly taking on the importance of helping develop the digital reputations of students as an indicator of ‘success’.
Consequences for lead roles in College
Implementing Digital Inclusivity will have direct consequences for the role of:
The elements in detail
Digital Inclusion is based on two big themes in using Technology: every individual achieving a level of Digital Literacy such that they can manage and foster their Digital Reputation
1. Digital Literacy
Such is the ubiquity of technology, it is is now thought that those who are not digitally literate will be less successful in terms of their future economic independence as well as in private and social lives. This provides a challenge to educators to make sure students contacts leaving them better equipped to realise their plans in a modern digital world.
Being better equipped is characterised as being Digitally Literate. Many students who come to college are already ‘tech savvy’ to some degree, often fluent in social and gaming areas of the web, but this does not mean they are digitally literate. They may have limited knowledge of the value of the web for learning and it’s management/presentation. Being a ‘digital native’ born into a tech savvy world is no longer enough. A lack of digital literacy will impede their ability to learn and thrive in the wider world as they would wish, limit their ability to enquire, join wider communities of like-minded people, present, trade, and avoid the pitfalls of poor web practice.
Digital Literacy then is the ability of a person to control, craft and personalise the utility of technology successfully, safely, profitably and with pleasure.
Digital Literacy-in-practice means active management and control of one’s own on-line reputation, where technology is:
2. Digital Reputation
The biggest change in the application of technology occurred around 6 years ago when it evolved from being ‘technology for groups’ to ‘technology for the one’. It moved from large central systems, requiring strict compliance in use of software and the concomitant behaviour to one of using personal devices, set with applications that were customised to work separately and together for the benefit of the individual.
It also allowed far greater use of technology to track individual activity and present accomplishments and outcomes. Students are able to use their digital literacy individually and purposefully, to manage their cherry-picking of applications to capture and demonstrate personal learning journeys and in the process manage a on-line reputation to a large degree as they would wish.
Digital Inclusion then is the processes and actions taken to ensure every student is Digitally Literate and, as a result, can in the broadest terms, foster a positive Digital Reputation.
It requires a college to act mindfully and overtly to leave no-one out of the journey in equipping students and their teachers and those that support them in preparing for and taking part successfully in the modern world through the intervention of technology.
For colleges, this means they:
Geoff Rebbeck FSET QTLS