Module 1: Introducing the Digital Literacy Lab for Educators
The Digital Literacy Lab for Educators (DLLE) was conceived as a course of continuing professional development for educators the globe over. It was a collaborative project between Dilectae, a UK-based education consultancy established by Dr Emma Pauncefort, the Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, and the Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning, Malta. The DLLE content was researched and created by Dr Emma Pauncefort to be released under CC 4.0 BY SA license. The project delivery was overseen by Dr Kirk Perris and Dr Alex Grech.
Here is the original course description:
“The Digital Literacy Lab for Educators (DLLE) offers an essential course of personal and professional development for instructors, mentors, learners, and anyone interested in new approaches to education.
The course is centred on supporting individuals to become more responsible ‘netizens’ or engage in good ‘netizenship’. For student and educator alike, it is essential to have good digital literacy skills to participate meaningfully and responsibly in the online world. The uncertain future facing the education sector and, indeed, society at large as triggered by the Covid-19 crisis, makes the need for widespread digital literacy even greater.
DLLE sets itself apart from other resources in the digital literacy space by connecting the dots between critical thinking and literacy, and the digital world. This means that the focus is on cognitive skills rather than technical knowledge development. Participants will be pushed to rethink how their activity online and offline contributes to their personal and professional development.”
The content was initially delivered as part of a massive open online course run over six weeks between September and October 2020. The course saw over 1600 educators from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, from Trinidad and Tobago to Fiji and working in a variety of instructional contexts come together to take a fresh look at the role digital technologies play in our lives and how we interact with them. Participants were encouraged to think critically about how we can most responsibly engage with our online world as creators and consumers. The aim was to help educators to kickstart their journey in digital literacy growth and netizenship so that they could, in turn, pass on this practical knowledge to others.
The core course content was complemented by 3 webinars placing Dr Emma Pauncefort in conversation with experts in the field of digital literacy. These can be found here: Prof Garry Falloon, Janette Ballard, and Adeline Brion.
Successful completion of the course required participants to sign a ‘Code of Honour’. This alternative to multiple choice quizzes was well received and recognised as highly topic appropriate. As one participant remarked, “The code of Honour emphasises to us as responsible netizens the importance of self-regulation and honesty. We are responsible for our learning with the support of our tutors; I truly appreciate this instructional strategy.”
Some extracts from participant feedback, highlighting the far-reaching impact the course has had in the home, classroom and local communities:
- Germany: “…the enormous wealth of information you are presenting in your MOOC and the way you are presenting are just wonderful…”
- Guyana: “…this course is rich in content and all educators should get on board and increase their online teaching capacity…”
- India: “This course is very essential for everyone.”
- Kenya: “…very informative indeed…” “I am richly encouraged by the course and I am now more energized than ever to continue my research work. I am now sure that with digital literacy my teaching skills have [improved] and will continue to improve. DLL has already opened [up] a part of my “Unused” capability… Understanding my students will now be a problem [sic] in the past because of the learned stages of critical thinking. I [am] looking forward for more courses that are [as] beneficial as this.
- Nigeria: “The course really is a life-style changer, kudos and thanks to the organizers.” “The best investment of my time during [the] pandemic, era”.
- Papua New Guinea: “There is so much interesting information that I am gradually digesting and getting the gist of…”
- South Africa: “This course has been a huge bonus in that I am teaching my family how to become responsible netizens as well. It’s amazing how much dialogue and debates we have had at home. I LOVE THIS COURSE.” “Bigger things are going to come out of this course. Let’s go out there, ladies and gentlemen and preach the gospel of digital literacy. That is the only way we can make the digital landscape a better place for our communities. We greatly appreciate all the time and effort our facilitators sacrificed to make this such a worthwhile experience for all of us.”
- Trinidad and Tobago: “This program was well designed. Being able to have the rich information that was provided is very valuable. All educators can benefit from using the materials presented and it would be great to get all teachers on board with learning this information.” “An exceptional course.” “I have been constantly checking as well for new material. This has been a wonderful course. It kept me busy and I learnt a lot. I can’t wait to start workshops for educators in my district, on THE IMPORTANCE OF DIGITAL LITERACY in our classrooms.”
- UK: “Thank you, Emma. I have been enjoying the videos and appreciate the information gathered and put together and shared. I have learnt a lot and [it] makes me think every time I go online [of the need to be] organised in many ways to be a sensible netizen. Thanking you again.”
A note on how to use this content: Whilst the 32 videos presented here offer a coherent course of learning, there is no need to take these in order. Where there is reference to a key concept or discussion covered by another video, a brief summary is given. This should allow educators or simply those who are curious take a nugget at their convenience.