Week 4 – digital literacies

Continuing my reflections on the webinar on online presence and digital literacies, I would first note that I don’t believe Cultural, Constructive, Creative and Comunicative skills are so distinct of digital modalities. Digital tools of course can enhance and accelerate the development of such skills to some extent (even to great extent), but I don’t believe these are definitive elements of digital literacies per se. I have the same take on the claim that Confident, Cognitive, Critical and Civic mindsets would be so directly connected to the digital era. Sure, if we consider that we need to be more aware of what we post as we reach huge communities so easily, these mindsets are maybe more important than in other modalities, so I can relate to that part. I just find it problematic how digital literacies are branded as something radically new. I can rather relate to the recycling/remaking idea which emphasizes that several literacy skills that we develop in different contexts are integrated and transformed into digital modalities, and of course digital literacy practices also influence ‘offline’ activities.

Another rather direct distinction in the suggested materials that hit me was the native vs. immigrant or resident vs. visitor dichotomy. Here again I have witnessed a rather unreflected celebration of native/resident communities. Native speakerism is a pretty problematic concept in linguistics as well so I don’t quite see the point why it is worth adapting to this context as well. Sure, the recommended materials to some extent have noted that literacies can be understood along a scale so being native doesn’t necessarily mean to be perfect. However, emphasizing nativism can discourage people with ‘non-native’ digital identities, suggesting that non-natives cannot really help so-called natives. Thinking about languages, I have experienced that I can help my native English speaker students in academic writing even though I am not a native speaker – but still, I have built some specific skills, and they can benefit from dialogue with me.

Just like the person in the scenario, I feel confused in this course. Not because I can’t handle devices or software nor because this would be my first online course (I’ve taken some already and also taught online). I simply find communication in this course chaotic and opaque. Quite often I feel I just simply quit because I don’t really need another layer of assignments in my life which then lead to frustration rather than a rewarding experience. Anyway, I don’t yet quit so let’s see what emerges from this mess.

4 thoughts on “Week 4 – digital literacies

  1. Hi again, Tamás! Very good points you raise here regarding the digital literacies. Definitely hardly exclusive to the digital domina, but as you said enhanced and accelerated in this space. I also completely understand that the notion of “natives” is rather problematic especially from the perspective of a linguist. That is why I personally prefer the continuum residents visitors to describe our relation to tools and platforms. And is the reason for White’s continuum not a critique of the native vs immigrant dichotomy? If you don’t mind I would really like to hear more from you which parts of the communication of the course you experience chaotic and opaque. Was it in regards to the online presence and digital literacies or something else? And lastly, I really do hope that you do not quit! I get a feeling that we could have a lot of fruitful discussions over the next weeks!

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    1. Hi Jörg, it’s great to see that the post was actually read 🙂 Earlier I participated in an in-service training where we were asked to produce loads of reflections and texts of different kind but got no feedback — just a stamp at the end that the course was indeed completed.

      What I meant by chaotic and opaque communication refers especially to our small group where I sometimes couldn’t simply follow what we were actually doing. Messages come and go about practicalities like rescheduling meetings and that’s what I kind of sense that there is pressure to do something but it’s not clear how and why. I think one of the problems is that we all are pretty busy if not overloaded, and this course is not a priority to me either. So I contribute to it till I think I can still take something from it but I don’t feel I need to push it at all cost.

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      1. Hi Tamás! It’s definitely read and thank you for the clarification! Totally understandable situation in collaborative online learnig, especially in the PBL format, I guess. Really hope you hang in there. I am sure that you will get something out of it!

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  2. Hi Tamás, I fully agree with your thoughts on digital literacy and on the nativeness concept. Also, it seems to me that as time goes by, it doesn’t matter that much anymore if one grew up with the internet or not. Similar to the concept of being online/offline having lost most practical meaning in academia. You seemlessly change from one to the other depending on the task at hand.

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