Digital readiness

Image by Tableatny on Flickr
Are we ready for what's coming? Can our students leverage the power of new technologies to enhance their learning? Can we use technology to engage our learners and enrich their experiences?

In January of this year I was invited by the University of Greenwich to give an Open Lecture. Greenwich is an historic place, with plenty of interest for those who wish to explore the past, but it is also quite a forward looking institute, as the series of recent Open Lectures proves. My own presentation, as I documented in a recent post, was on digital readiness - the skills, competencies, capabilities and literacies required for those who are in education and wish to make sense of technology. It's complex, multi-layered and progressive, because as technology advances and our views and uses of it develop, so new issues and challenges continually emerge. I try to address some of those in this presentation, and it would be good to continue a dialogue with other learning professionals around these themes.

The video link is below, the talk is about 40 minutes including discussion, and I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has views on this subject. I would particularly be interested in understanding your views on what skills, competencies and capabilities you think are essential for those studying and teaching in all sectors of education and training.

Open Lecture: 2018 Steve Wheeler- Literacies and competencies for learning in the digital age from Educational Development Unit on Vimeo.

Creative Commons License
Digital readiness by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Anonymous said…
I took a class last year from ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of ALA – American Libraries Association) on the Framework For Information Literacy and this lecture dovetails beautifully with the Frames (

Librarians, particularly academic librarians, take digital literacies very seriously. Digital Natives/Digital Residents, are very savvy about the technologies that they like as well as the information sources that they prefer, but they are not always well prepared to navigate information sources when they enter college/university.

The Frames that come immediately to mind after seeing the lecture are:

Information Creation as a Process: I love the idea of having students remix and mash-up information to make the learning process relevant and meaningful. Having them create a page to fill a gap in Wikipedia is a brilliant way to engage them as well; they can begin to understand the work that goes into it as well as the policing of the content. Could we do this in a way that would include scholarly literature as well?

Authority is Constructed and Contextual: People who were fooled by your spoof Antarctic University website should be embarrassed, not angry with you. How can we ensure students are looking for authority? In what way can we engage them so that they are interested in looking at the context of the information at hand and caring about where it came from?

Information Has Value: As a librarian I try to steer students to the resources available in our collections. Just because our content is online does not mean it is the same value as the open web content. Pay-walls are there for a reason – not everyone is invited to look.

I am also very interested in the Digital Literacies pyramid covered in the lecture. I wish that more had been covered regarding definitions of skill, competency, literacy and fluency in the pyramid. In an academic setting, where would the task of creating a Wikipedia page fall? Would a page created but taken down constitute literate and one that was sourced properly and left up fluent? Where would creating an effective search strategy in a library database fall?

Finally, and most importantly for me as I enter into Instructional Design, the pathways story of Design vs. User Experience has given me pause … thinking about how to create instruction that will work, so that I can help my students become truly digitally literate.

Thanks for a great lecture – so glad you’ve made it available on the open web!

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