The first topic is online participation and digital literacies. I think it is important for people to have the necessary skills to be able to participate in the more and more digitalised society. There can be many reasons why it can be difficult to participate in the various digital arenas. There may be fears and there may be a lack of knowledge.
In my area of teaching, Media and communication, we talk about the medialization. That we no longer live side by side with the media, that we instead live in the media (Deuze, 2012). An important factor behind this is the digitalization. Digital tools (for example social media, learning platform, search engines) surrounds us and creates new conditions for our way of life; communicating with friends, making new contacts, working, learning and so on. When it comes to teaching the digitalization has changed the conditions for both teachers and students. There is a constant flow of new digital tools for teaching and it is not effortless for neither of us to keep up with the tempo when it comes to learning and adapting new things.
Already in the late 90´s Gilster (1997) put the spotlight on abilities connected to the digital literacy. He defined digital literacy as the skills that people need to develop to be able to understand and use information from digital sources. More than 20 years later many of us still struggle with this. Since the technology change so rapidly we cannot expect to be able to master the digital tools with perfection. Rather it is more realistic to set a goal to have basic knowledge of the most common digital tools within your area.
In a learning situation I think it is necessary, for both students and teachers, to be aware that people have different levels of knowledge and skills when it comes to understanding and using digital tools. And it is important that both students and teachers can be open about potential shortcomings in digital literacy. In my PBL group we discussed tools that can be used for evaluating digital literacy. This is a an opportunity for people (both teachers and students) to become aware of their own level of knowledge when it comes to digital tools and communication with digital media. If you, as for example a student, get more conscious about what skills you are lacking, it will be easier both for the student and the teacher to find the right level of expectations and sort out what kind of skills the student need improve.
Digital literacy is an important ability to master. The skills with in this area opens up more opportunities for individuals when it, for example, comes to getting a job, widening the social network or participating in education. It is also a basic ability to participate in a democratic society that has been digitized.
Deuze, M. (2012). ”Media life.” Media, Culture & Society 33.1. Cambridge: Polity press.
Gilster P (1997) Digital Literacy. New York: Wiley