Exploring digital literacies

Disclaimer: This will be long. Grab some popcorn and get ready to hear me go on and on.

Part 1:

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I think I managed to get these scores because of this course. A lot of the things I found myself capable of doing was because of skills acquires along the way here. A lot of times, I selected comfortable rather than confident because I was aware of the concept but I don’t exactly apply it in what I do. For example copyright/creative commons. I was very happy to give myself Confident in “Create and innovate”. I felt that I’ve worked a lot with content creation, and have some solid knowledge of it. I don’t think the course teaches “Tools and technology” in detail, but I would have liked to be confident in that area, in the sense I can solve technical issues, being able to select the right tool for a specific purpose and to provide technical help on purchases and implementation.

I watched the medieval help desk skit and really had a laugh. I think it depicts the older generation’s view of technology and how sometimes they are reluctant to shift from their classic method of doing things, like saving contacts for example. I think this video says a few important things including the importance of having face to face guidance when using digital tools, but not only that. I think it’s hinting at the fact that it is not enough to provide technical guidance. The help desk guy didn’t teach how to write in the book for example, or if there’s a way to edit what has already been written. So he just taught how to use the tool in a passive manner. I think this is what happens in Egyptian schools for example in subjects related to computer, they teach the use of the computer rather than how to engage with what’s on it. And I think these two skills complement each other.

Next I watched a video about Mastodon social media app. I’m in the tech field and I didn’t get its idea, but I feel that it’s not as user friendly as Twitter, and they need to work more on enhancing user experience so that people can go to it rather than twitter. Also question: the servers are still owned by companies who can monitor traffic on them. I know its not as bad as having one big company handle all data, but still the problem persists? I don’t get how the open-source feature makes it better.

Moving on to definitions of digital literacy. I think Wikipedia‘s definition is all right. It essential entails the basics of being digitally literate. I found this on Twitter that also describes what digital literacy could be and I think it is way deeper than the Wikipedia definition.  There’s this too, which is also very insightful. This is not a definition but rather the things that go through the mind of a digitally literate person. Conducting a google search, I didn’t find things that were as interesting as the things on Twitter. This article was nice because it broke it down into several aspects and explained how such defining digital literacy is not always simple. I also liked this article because it had an explanatory diagram, something which I didn’t come across a lot during my search.
My own guess for the meaning of digital skills, is the skills which make a person digitally literate. Now when I googled “digital skills”, I didn’t find a definition right away. I had to refine and write “digital skills meaning”. The one clear cut definition was in this article. It was well explained, a little flat, but good enough. This pdf also had the definition in bullet points. It was nice and I really liked seeing them them clearly specified but I felt that there’s more to the digital skills than the ones listed. I checked out a couple of other things but none provided a definition that I felt was accurate.
Searching for “digital fluency” gave better results. The first result that came out for me was this and for a “first result” I think it’s pretty good. It nicely divided different aspects of fluency and incorporated diagrams. I also really liked that there were references at the end of that page, and I actually went and checked some of them. This was a page with similar definition, but it wasn’t as elaborate.

Digital literacies, digital fluency and digital skills:

According to my understanding of these terms, digital fluency is a broad term for how well you can make use of the digital skills to be digitally literate. Example: If I can use powerpoint to create slides, then the fluency will be how well and effective I can use powerpoint, the skill would be knowing how to use it, and the literacy would be selecting the right content for the slides.

Reading the digital literacy article by POMO, I looked at some aspects to know if the site is credible or not. First, the writer of the article seems credible: she is a social media researcher, educator and speaker in Australia, her social media links are provided at the end of the page. It is however, a blog; which means it might be entirely scientific and can only reflect her views. There are no references at the end so I get the impression that there’s not much of research done on what was written.
I think the sources I got weren’t entirely academic but a lot of them referred to academic sources or even other related things. (I’d say my ones are better than the pomo website -haha)

I actually came across Dr. Maha’s article while searching for digital literacies and skills. I do agree that skills and literacies are complimentary and I like the car/driving analogy raised in the video. Might as well comment, if we were to say that the skills and literacies were interrelated and woven, then this means learning them together is a must, but I think a lot of schools/universities focus on the skills, or actually teach them both so separately, that students graduate without knowing that they are related. I believe the term fluency does a lot of tying in between these two ideas. I believe what’s written in the article confirms my understanding of the terms, and goes in line with the articles I pulled out. I found the article to be particularly interesting in the part where it talks about teaching tools progressively rather than sequentially. I think it’s important to do that, because a lot of students fail to see the purpose if the context is not meaningful. In our class, we created a class hashtag because there was real need for it, and during that we discussed how to create a hashtag and what elements a hashtag should contain. This applies with some of the courses I learn in my major, when we are asked to learn new tools to be able to work on the course project for example. I made some comments about specific parts in the article.

Doing the activity on this page I was able to pull out a few interesting pages with slightly different definitions for digital literacies and skills. This one here was well written, and had a lot of detailed explanation also about how it originated. I especially liked the first definition on the page as it was concise and to the point. The digital skills tag, had articles that I had already looked through as I was researching earlier for definitions.

Watching this video, I got some insight on the uses of digital literacy. The ones which were relevant to me including:
Knowing how to locate information, and ways in which this information is presented
knowing how to engage with information online, and how to critically think of it
to be able to communicate with people online in the right manner
to collaborate on work related assignments without having to meet in person

In response to this thread, I feel that one of the most important digital literacy aspects I’ve acquired is the awareness of what I put in and add on digital platforms. Knowing about how social media sites are moderated and how data is collected and used caused me to give a lot of thought to what I share with others. In the Egyptian context, I would say that moderation is very intense, and so being careful with what is being posted is crucial for one’s safety.
The term itself (digital literacy) is a term I’ve only recently come to know, and so the discovery process was enjoyable.
An aspect I would want to know more about or that I feel still lacking, is the ability to evaluate information sources, a lot of time I take what I read for granted and forget to assess the sources of my information. I believe, however, that this is something that could be acquired by practice. It is important given the amount of fake news on social media especially in Egypt, where almost everyone is just posting random untrue things.

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I felt like the above comment responded to my thoughts. Haha ^

Moving on to the activities in this part of the module. I’ve used the 7 digital literacies diagram to add tools or examples for each:

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I’d say my competencies in each of the tools I’ve suggested ranges from average to a bit above that. (Hence my mention of them). For some, I didn’t mention specifics, like digital note taking and reminder tools, so here I must say that I’m very below average. I’m very manual when it comes to keeping track of things, and studying. I wanted to mention things like WordPress and Soliya but didn’t know under which umbrella they’d fall under.

I did the iTest also to self -asses my digital literacy. The results were pretty interesting (and accurate too -I’m actually impressed)

I think I learned a lot about myself from this, and I liked the way the results are laid out but I believe there was a slight inclination for the questions towards a digital skills rather than literacies.
The other test was not as interesting, and the results were kind of generic, so I skimmed through it very briefly.

Moving on to the third part of this assignment: (yay, I’ve made it this far!)

I decided to explore two stations from the website: Blogging and online identity.

Blogging:

reflect

I think the words that relate to a blog (for me ) are conversational and regular. And I think these are sort of the typical blog features. It was interesting to know that blogs are sometimes used for academic purposes. I mean, I understand that it can be used as a form o f collaboration, assessment, but as a tool to showcase work in progress or work prior to research, this is interesting. Because I only use my blog for entertainment/courses purposes but it never occurred to me that I could use it for my thesis for example. It was also interesting to see private blogging platforms (Blackboard and Moodle), because for me a blog=public space. And so this changed my perception a little.

Within the context of Egypt, I’m not very sure if blogging is a very common skill. I think people take it in a way that a blogger would need special writing skills to blog (which isn’t exactly true)

Online identity:
One of the things I was encouraged to try is to google myself while logged in, and from another browser where I’m not logged in and no particular data is known about me yet. I did so, and the result was different! The logged in one had my Tumblr profile in the beginning and the other one had my LinkedIn at the top.
When the lesson talked about unacceptable behavior, I could only think of cases around me: a lot of people are impersonated and FB refuses to close down the fake account, I get a lot of creepy messages. I think as well learning how to deal with these things as a victim, a system should hold social media apps responsible too.
On a happy note, I did really well in the Online Identity quiz =)

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Within the context of Egypt, there are many thinks that I believe a lot of people aren’t aware of. The exposure that one faces online is very real and very details, and we “accept” it on a daily basis in Terms and agreements. I know a lot of people who have been blackmailed, one way or another through things they’ve shared on social media, or messages that they exchanged.

Overall comments:

I broke down this entire assignment over a week or so. Each day I’d do and write about a certain part, and so this is one of the reasons the post is not very cohesive. I must admit it was pretty long, and towards the end, I was starting to lose interest. (Let’s hope this didn’t affect the work’s quality)
It would have been nice to have the tasks in this assignment divided over the entire semester, so as to make it feel less intense. I wasn’t able to do the last 2-3 modules in the (2nd) section because I felt that they were redundant, and that doing them wouldn’t add to what I was writing for this blog. However, I would definitely do them leisurely for the sake of exploration. I’ve also created an account on Mastodon to see how it works, maybe I’ll like it better than Twitter. I learned a lot through these activities.. About myself and about the different ways one can be digitally literate.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Exploring digital literacies”

  1. Quick comment on Mastodon. Because it is open source, anyone can install it on theiyt own server and the creators aren’t a big company but non-profit people. I imagine if it takes off some corporate entity might buy it (probably Twitter started out similarly but not open source, I can’t remember) but for now, Mastodon instances are not owned by companies, at least not the one I am on or the ones my friends are on

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  2. Good suggestion to break it down. This assignment is meant as an alternative to a missed class (because of one of the vacations or something) so that’s why it’s one big assignment. But I also can see how it can be divided up so that each part is due a different week. There is probably no way someone did it all in one sitting, I think

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