More about the Digital Literacy Group

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Image by Kayleigh Blyth
Winner of the graphic design vote
Graphic Design Diploma L3

Each member of the Digital Literacy team at Long Road SFC brings their own skill and expertise to the group and each has their own particular reason for getting involved.

Nick works in the Visual Arts department and is the Course Team Leader for one of our Media Studies courses. He writes,

“I want to be part of a project that hopefully shows that Long Road is keen to try new approaches in terms of how we engage with students and how they can engage with and take ownership for their own learning. I think it’s important that as a group we really address what the overall scope of the course is to be and how that is best communicated both to students, colleagues and those funding the project. It is a very exciting project to be involved in.”

Simon also teaches Media and is a Course Team Leader. He writes that

“Students should have more opportunities to learn how to use creative software and not just those studying Media Studies and Art & Design. I wanted to be part of the project as I feel that students still have problems with some of the IT basics, e.g. a lack of confidence using a Mac, not knowing how to sign out of a shared computer properly or understanding how to navigate a computer.”

The Digital Literacy group has been working together in the initial stages to decide on a consistent format and design for each of the topics. Simon has understandably pointed out that one possible obstacle has been that it can take a long time to come to an agreement when acting as a group, for instancewhen agreeing design principles, and an example of excellent practice would have been useful.

Tom is a Sociology teacher and he writes,

“It is clear that from undertaking research when the group formed, that digital literacy is becoming vital to dissemination in teaching and that all colleges need to forge ahead with implementing it throughout their curriculum. The project has made me reflect personally on approaches to teaching, and how we can better prepare students for the job market or HE. It has already been beneficial in terms of learning new skills, and I’m looking forward to positively influencing both colleagues and students in showing the importance of aspects such as the dangers of social media which I’ve been working on. It has been challenging in understanding how the final course will end up looking, but in developing my own personal digital literacy this is becoming easier.”

James teaches Psychology and he writes,

“I saw this vacancy as a great opportunity to extend my skills in VLE usage as well as something I would enjoy. I am very interested in digital teaching techniques. So far I’ve embarked on creating  one section of the course: Social media literacy. I’ve enjoyed working with others to come up with decent and meaningful activities and sources. I’ve found it hard at times to get my head around the overall vision but I think this will evolve in time.”

Deborah is a Chemistry teacher and represents the college Science Department. She has quickly demonstrated how this opportunity has had a beneficial impact on how the Chemistry Department is now using the VLE. She writes,

“I wanted to improve my knowledge and use of Moodle for teaching and learning but found that I couldn’t devote the time as it wasn’t a priority in the teams I work in. I found that the chemistry team used Moodle only as a repository. I wanted my students to use Moodle in a more interactive way and to have a place where they could find all resources (learning outcome booklets as PDF, PowerPoints as PDF, weekly homeworks as PDFs, videos, links to recommended websites and computer simulations). Since being involved in the project I felt I could devote time to testing out different functions of Moodle. I have changed the format of the AS Chemistry page to be in a grid to improve accessibility. I have tested out the quiz function by making a multiple choice quiz for the students to complete as part of their preparation work for an assessed task on titrations. The quiz had very good feedback from both the students, who found it valuable to get instant feedback on their understanding of titrations, and by the other teachers in the AS Chemistry team, who could see the benefits of easily tracking preparation work but also monitor understanding of their students per question. The second function which I have experimented with is adding a glossary. AS Chemistry students picked a term from the AS Chemistry specification out of a hat and were required to add the definition to the AS Chemistry dictionary section on Moodle. The students were relieved to know that I would first approve their definition before it went live (a function in Moodle) as they were nervous that an incorrect answer could be seen by their peers and make them look incompetent. I now feel more confident transferring my knowledge to the digital literacy project about Moodle’s capabilities.”

Jolene works in the Careers Department and is one of the three members of the group who are part of Long Road’s support staff. Over the past year she has gained the technical skills that have allowed her to upload many of the careers resources and information onto the VLE.  She has found this to be one of the most worthwhile projects she has worked on during her time at Long Road and writes,

“I was interested in being a part of a team that aims to improve and develop students’ digital literacy.  I’ve enjoyed working together to decide how the information will be presented, and to view the group presentations on various DL topics.  Sharing ideas with the group will prove valuable as I work on the Digital Citizen section of the project.”

As part of her regular work, Jolene has many contacts with local employers and higher education. In this role she can add an extra element and writes,

“Alongside working on the VLE, I have been making links with ex-Long Road students, various universities and local employers.  The aim of these links is to learn what is required in order to bridge the gap between the DL skills our students currently have and where they need to be when they begin university or employment. I will be asking ex-students what would have helped them to become more digitally literate during their time at Long Road, and what advice they would give current Long Road students about being better prepared for the future?”

Julie Lindsay – E-Learning and Moodle