Monday, 14 July 2008

We must use student's digital literacy skills NOW!

There seem to be just more and more people, (educators, journalists and bloggers) writing right now on the need to really change the culture of teaching and learning to give students a real change to demonstrate their learning skills, and be encouraged to use them to help their learning in schools.

Employers, more and more, want students with a whole range of different skill sets, than from just a very few years ago. Schools SHOULD play a vital part in supporting students develop these skills for this reality. Any failure to deliver on an obvious priority is a problem particularly as a new type of digital divide is developing so fast in today’s society. There is a massive divide between the worlds of learning at home and learning in the classroom. We must lose this gap and let students really show us what they are capable of!

As an article in the ‘Irish Times’ stressed this recently “Rows of students sitting in front of a blackboard is outmoded for teaching and learning in the 21st century. Without cutting-edge technology, the classroom is out of touch with its students and is unable to adequately prepare them for their futures”. It goes on to note that “technology is a prerequisite for teaching and learning in today's schools. In its absence, schools are failing to make the most of their most valuable resource: the experience, skills and interests of their own students. The complex and more important challenge facing Government is not putting technology into schools, it is about bringing the golden nuggets of out-of-school learning, into the classroom.

All students should be supported in learning 21st century literacy skills The delivery of these skills needs to happen NOW though – it cannot delay. We are already ‘losing’ so many students to lack of engagement and involvement in their learning.

Some people are taking about a process of evolution rather than any quicker process. Doug Belshaw talks about “championing digital literacy and the use of technology to improve learning -- is a process of evolution rather than revolution”. That evolution, if that’s what it is, needs to be rapid and immediate!


Doug Belshaw said...

Hi Gareth,

Glad you've stumbled across my blog and my ruminations on 'digital literacy' (the subject of my Ed.D. thesis)!

I do, however, think you've taken my quotation out of context. It was part of a post in which I was reflecting on the fact that revolutions tend to leave people behind and aren't really sustainable. What we actually need is rapid evolution - perhaps this is what you meant anyway? :-)

Gareth Long said...

Hi Doug

Nice to hear from you - that is precisley what I meant - perhaps I was typing my comments too early in the morning for clarity! :-)

I personally believe that there are still too many people, in too many education systems, wanting (or not wanting) to think about involving digital literacy and then gradually phase 'something in'. The expertise is present in our young people - by not including their skills in their own learning we are potentially hindering their real progress and potential both in school and for their future.