Developing Digital Literacies programme meeting

We had a busy day on Tuesday at the Developing Digital Literacies programme meeting, looking at the wealth of resources projects and associations are producing, and trying to plan ahead for how these will work together as a programme output.

It didn’t get off to the best of starts: to lose one morning presenter may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. Helen, our synthesis consultant, was lost in transit, and Jay, our evaluation consulant, was stuck in traffic, but thankfully Jay arrived before Myles and I had finished our introductions, and was able to step in and put a useful marketing slant on some of the work the programme support team have been doing around project outputs and messages, in terms of how to get these messages heard and how they help institutions address challenges. Slides

The main activity of the morning was an hour-long ‘trade fair’, at which the projects and professional associations involved in the programme displayed two of their outputs and shopped for others’ outputs which were useful to them. Everyone had plenty of interesting outputs to show, and a real interest in others’ work, and the activity generated a good buzz, as well as some useful collaborations. This is my first experience of working with lots of professional associations within an innovation programme, and I found their outputs, approaches and insights from their members really useful. I was only sorry I didn’t have a chance to get round to talk to all of the projects and associations.

I was interested to see what the panel discussion on digital literacy frameworks would offer: I’m normally very suspicious of any project who says they’re building a ‘framework’, as the term can cover a multitude of sins. However, I found the discussion of these digital literacy-related frameworks for professional development really useful. It was interesting to see that not many of the projects were using such frameworks, but those which had had found them useful as a starting point for discussions. The panellists all seemed to take a pragmatic view of frameworks, and there was general agreement with David Baume (SEDA) who stressed that the usefulness of frameworks lies in their use as climbing frames – take the bits that interest you and use them to get you where you want, rather than following them slavishly. I’ve certainly found such frameworks useful in getting my head round the digital literacy work, though as a couple of delegates warned, we need to be careful that they don’t perpetuate an over-homogenised view of the area – or the mistaken assumption of a common language or common practice where in fact these don’t exist.

After lunch delegates worked on the ‘promise’ and pack of resources the programme was making in four (or five) key areas: employability; self-assessment and self-development materials; the digitally literate organisation (and digitally literate senior management, which may or may not be the same thing); and tools for teaching and curriculum teams. The detailed outcomes are still on flip-chart paper and post-its, and will feature in a future post, but generally project outputs seemed to meet the promise in these areas fairly well, except for employability, where more work is needed to think through what the messages are here and what sort of outputs are most relevant. We also need to engage relevant professional organisations. Slides from the afternoon session.

Helen has updated the Design Studio pages to reflect the outputs coming out of the projects; see in particular staff development materials; materials designed for students; and organisational development materials.

Thanks very much to Dr Bex Lewis for creating the story of the day using storify.

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