Teacher training myerscough

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Improving Digital Literacies to Support Trainee Teachers

Project Information

Project Identifier


Project Title

Improving Digital Literacies to Support Trainee Teachers

Project Hashtag

#DigiLit

Start Date

July 2013

End Date

June 2014

Lead Institution


Project Manager

Abigail Thomasson

Contact email

athomasson@myerscough.ac.uk

Project Web URL

http://abigailthomasson.wordpress.com/

Programme Name

Digital Literacy in the Disciplines

Programme Manager

Terry McAndrew

==

Document Information

Author(s)

Abigail Thomasson

Project Role(s)

Project Manager

Date

13.06.14

Filename

DL_Final_Report_DigiLitandTraineeTeachers

URL

If this report is on your project web site

Access

This report is for general dissemination





Acknowledgements

This project has been delivered as part of the HEA’s Educational Learning Technologies (ELT) and Students as Partners work and alongside the JISC Digital Literacies programme. This project was also funded by the HEA. The programme manager Terry McAndrew has been extremely supportive throughout this project and we would like to thank the E-Learning and IT teams within Myerscough College for being so proactive in getting the project running.

Project Summary

The project ‘Improving Digital Literacies to Support Trainee Teachers’ was conducted within the Initial Teacher Education department at Myerscough College. It commenced as a 16 week training programme on the use of Xerte and other FOSS to enhance the digital literacies skills with trainee teachers and new advanced teaching practitioners (ATP’s) so that they can become staff developers within the discipline of Social Sciences and Education. A VLE was created as an eco-system to sustain the project.


It was established that much support and facilitation of improving digital literacy skills with trainee teachers and their own learners would come from the teacher training department, e-learning department and the ATP’s within the trainee’s subject discipline, this resulted in a multi-discipline approach. As a result, we established much support for FE learners who became creators of Xerte learning objects and other FOSS content that would be published onto a module VLE for them to use within their specialist discipline. Trainee’s skills and confidence with technology and digital literacy skills advanced quite quickly.


The project fell in line with the college improvement agenda and ‘Digital Shift’ focus for consistent use of ILT to support and help students achieve their potential, including their employability prospects. We found that new teachers became effective in their creation of e-learning resources for specialist disciplines. They considered the collaborative, inclusive and accessible nature of Xerte and other FOSS when creating content for teaching, learning and assessment. This in turn established lessons where learners were developing digital literacy skills and creating content not only to be used as AfL but professional content that could be used for portfolio building or revision by peers. The project has helped to build a collaborative approach to ILT, where students and trainee teachers are creating content and harnessing outstanding uses of ILT together.


A wider result of the project is the start of culture shift within the college. Students, academic staff and technologists are working together coherently and have the confidence to work with and support each other through improved digital literacy skills. We have witnessed increasing communications between trainees and the e-learning and IT support teams to the benefit of the learners.



Main Body of Report

Project Outputs

Output
(e.g. report, publication, software)
''''Brief Description and URLs (where applicable)

Multi Media Presentations

Trainees were asked to practice their skills in media, information and ICT literacy through a formal PGCE assessment on ‘Inclusive Practice’, choosing from a range of software to create. These resources where shared between trainees. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BweidADLtJnsTlkzZjQzXzhFOVE/edit?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BweidADLtJnseHRrSGtDcDhUclk/edit?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BweidADLtJnsa2JJTkJLUDhyWW8/edit?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BweidADLtJnsTkxoS0JNLVdnSkk/edit?usp=sharing


Poster Conference

Trainees were asked to practice their skills in media, information and ICT literacy through a formal PGCE assessment on ‘Contemporary Issues in Education’ with an essential element of interactive content via Augmented Reality. These academic posters were shared between peers and wider community via an educational research conference. You will need the following apps to engage with the content: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/myerscough/id568027447?mt=8

college&c=apps&hl=en_GB https://play.google.com/store/search?q=Myerscough%20college&c=apps&hl=en_GB


Academic Posters: demonstration of media, information and ICT literacy


Trainee Edu Blogs

To engage with career and identity management practice, trainees were encouraged to keep a group blog for the duration of a module to record teaching practice observation reflections and general interpretations of teaching and learning theory. The blogs proved very successful in practice, with some trainees planning to use these skills with their own learners.


http://ckiernan.edublogs.org/

http://pudcream.edublogs.org/

http://thedontcarebears.edublogs.org/


Public Prezi Accounts

Career and identity management practice, digital scholarship and information literacy


http://prezi.com/0gvte0ft_cgd/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

http://prezi.com/ldzx3yoxlxf1/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share



Telligami Information Clips

ICT literacy practice by trainee and FE learners


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BweidADLtJnsTFFJOHRydnNkc2c/edit?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BweidADLtJnsdzR5bHU0UDBOczg/edit?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BweidADLtJnsYnpTTXNfUFJKUkk/edit?usp=sharing


Effective Internet Search Matt

Information literacy for embedding skills within taught lessons with FE/HE learners


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BweidADLtJnsWDNEc29ya1JQRUk/edit?usp=sharing


Trainee Xerte Outputs

Information, Media and ICT literacy development.


Lindsey Fletcher: Trainee, Sexual Selection Theory for L3 Animal Studies: http://xerte-svr-1/xertetoolkits_2.0/play.php?template_id=8 Animal Cells for L2 Animal Studies: http://xerte-svr-1/xertetoolkits_2.0/play.php?template_id=19


Ashleigh Coxall: Agriculture Student, Selective breeding of farm animals: http://xerte-svr-1/xertetoolkits_2.0/play.php?template_id=29


Clare Kiernan: Trainee, Structure of the heart for L3 Sport Studies: http://xerte-svr-1/xertetoolkits_2.0/play.php?template_id=15


VLE Weekly Programme (Captured Content)

Digital Literacy Session 1

Digital Literacy Session 2

Digital Literacy Session 3

Digital Literacy Session 4

Digital Literacy Session 5

Digital Literacy Session 6

Digital Literacy Session 7

Digital Literacy Session 8

Digital Literacy Session 9

Digital Literacy Session 10

Digital Literacy Session 15


Project Blog

http://abigailthomasson.wordpress.com/


‘How-To’ Xerte help sheet

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BweidADLtJnsa2h0YXJBOVgzbjQ/edit?usp=sharing




Project Outcomes

Outcome Type
(e.g. practice change, production method)
Brief Description (and URLs where applicable)



Observation Feedback

Generic feedback from observations around the college by the quality assurance team and ATP’s is that more effective and proficient use of ILT by the tutors is being seen and more embedding of digital skills is being planned. However our current observation team may not be aware of the further digital literacy skills being practiced by the trainee teachers and learners and this is something to be addressed. It would be ideal to work with the quality assurance team and the observation team to make them aware of the range of digital literacy skills that maybe practiced in a lesson and have the confidence to provide feedback on those skills observed.

Trainee Confidence

Trainee teacher’s confidence has improved since the start of the project. The current accredited teacher trainee programme offers no preparatory module for ICT practice or through formal assessment other than feedback on observed practice (and this is dependent of whether the trainee uses any digital methods of teaching, learning or assessment. We worked hard to embed as many digital literacy skills as possible throughout our programme and the results have been great.


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BweidADLtJnseDhwUEFOaG9jNzg/edit?usp=sharing


Start of a Digital Culture Shift

We have found a collaborative approach to ILT in practice has been created, where students and trainee teachers are creating content and harnessing outstanding uses of ILT. Students, academic staff and technologists are working together coherently and have the confidence to work with and support each other through improved digital literacy skills.

Improved Communication

The e-learning team have had an increased amount of bookings for equipment, resource creation and staff training over the last six months. As a representative from the e-learning team and initial teacher training team I am being invited to more ILT strategic meetings, staff forums and Advanced Teaching Practitioner meetings to discuss the project outcomes and outputs and cascading the 16 Digital Literacy training sessions to the wider college community. The uptake has been positive.




How did you go about achieving your outputs / outcomes?

Our IT team have been very supportive with the installation and technical support for the Xerte Online Toolkit. A server was quickly created for installation of Xerte 2.0 by our lead IT technicians. All staff and student user accounts have been associated with our Xerte 2.0 installation for ease of use.


We set up a 14 week training programme, initially on the use of Xerte (to enhance digital literacy) with trainee teachers and new advanced teaching practitioners (ATP) so they could become staff developers within the discipline of Social Sciences and Education. Due to the skill level of the attendees, the programme quickly changed to the initial six weeks focusing on a variety of Technology for Effective Learning (TEL) resources and practicing digital literacy skills, before focusing on the Xerte Toolkit in the last six weeks. You can view a copy of the planned scheme of work here. A CPD form was sent out to all the appropriate candidates to complete and return to the CPD team and a diagnostic assessment was completed on those that wished to attend the course. The course was held on a Thursday evening 5:30-7:30 although some evenings stretched to 8pm through reflective discussions. A ‘take-away homework’ menu was created for each session to keep participants engaged and creating content between sessions.


Support was provided by the Initial Teacher Education team, e-learning team, IT team and the college Advanced Teaching Practitioners (ATPs) to facilitate the use of Xerte (digital literacy use) with trainee teachers within their subject discipline. As the trainees were from multi-disciplines, it was essential to have this support from the ATP’s so that created content could be quality assured. Support was offered via a tailored VLE, 1:1 tutorials after informal and formal observations, and drop in sessions. There was little if any uptake on the ‘drop-in’ sessions. We believe this to be due to increasing trainee workloads and the requirement for CPD to be flexible to their needs.


We aimed to support the general college learners (FE and HE) as the main creators of learning objects to then publish content for the VLE and mobile devices to use within their specialist discipline. This was difficult to monitor as much of this support came directly from the trainee teachers once they had gained confidence from the 16 week programme. We found some evidence submitted within the trainees PCET practice portfolio which, allowed for some feedback and action points on the digital literacy skills presented. However all trainees within the project were reluctant to have any in class support for developing digital literacy skills with their learners.


The project supported the college ILT strategy and fed into the ‘Digital Shift’ Group. Students and staff developers gave feedback on the success of the project after a 12 week period to the ‘Digital Shift’ group. The ‘Digital Shift’ group provided advice, guidance and strategic management to ensure consistent support and use of ILT throughout the college. This would assure that students achieve their potential, including their employability prospects.


The evaluation of the project was completed by the original group of trainees from the 16 week programme. The group was invited back for a ‘wrap up session’ where discussion revolved around the following questions: What are good examples of students using technology to develop and express their academic understanding? Is there anything you have tried with them since the project? Do you have any examples to share? What are good examples of you integrating technology know-how into your general role or teaching activities? What useful ways have you found to create subject-specific digital identities? (So, how have you managed online presence and social media? Are they in relation to research and scholarship as well as teaching/learning?) How are you sharing methods, insights and experiences, within your subject specific area and across community boundaries?



What did you learn?

It does seem shocking, but only within the last three years, has the college realised that we must make more informed decisions when using TEL, as opposed to becoming ‘blinded’ by its cosmetic appeal. This ‘issue’ prompted us to investigate the key to using TEL more appropriately and improving our digital literacy skills is a large step towards more informed decisions when using TEL.

TEL is now creating a shrinking gap between consumption and production, coupled with innovations in knowledge building and knowledge sharing, present exciting opportunities in many aspects of contemporary life (Warschauer & Matuchniak, 2010). The digital literate student can adapt to these exciting and innovative technologies quickly and easily as they arise. The more digitally literate the individual, the easier it is for him/her to adapt (Wan, 2013). We now want to make it clear to students why digital literacy skills are important and useful, as Hall, Nix, & Baker, (2013) explain, they are not only important to the subject they are learning and/or to their professional practice, but to all areas of their life.


Looking at the content created by trainee teachers and learners, I do not believe the Xerte 2.0 was too technical, especially when installed and used through a local server. Trainees could apply the basic set up of a Xerte Object within approximately two sessions. Learners would set up and create a finished product in approximately one session. The resources used to aid the trainees and learners in creating Xerte content was a ‘How-To’ Xerte help sheet and a Xerte demonstration created by Nottingham University. Members of the e-learning team were able to support the trainees and learners within sessions on small technicalities (improvements to the visual appeal etc.) Trainees and learners used the skills picked up from the 16 week programme to develop and enhance their content. We believe that the 16 week programme really helped to facilitate a ‘teachable’ approach to the Xerte 2.0 Toolkit. Without the initial programme, creators of Xerte objects and content may have lacked the necessary digital literacy skills to develop with the Xerte tool. The digital literate trainee could adapt to the requirements of the Xerte tool quite easily as Wan (2013) identifies.

The benefits of establishing a local server were that trainees and learners could access Xerte Online Toolkits via a secure connection and use their local college login details. No new passwords or accounts were created that we had to try and remember and trainees were grateful of this. There were no requirements for exports or imports of content to and from sandpit versions because we had a local server and templates could be moved around easily through administrator accounts. An additional benefit of the administrator account from a project lead perspective, is that you could preview content by all creators across the disciplines and provide feedback and guidance where required without the need of a direct support tutorial.

Trainees actively took part in the ‘improving digital literacy’s’ programme with the first session consisting of a diagnostic assessment revolving around ICT literacy skills as this seemed the most appropriate area to start with considering the current experience of the trainees. There were many ICT literacy skills that could be developed and bought in line with the current college practices. We developed these skills within a ‘coaching’ classroom environment. Staff and students digital literacies were developed if the following areas:


Information literacy:

To begin developing the trainee’s information literacy skills, week three looked at basic search terms, advanced search terms and showcased links to shared resources such as Jorum, TES and Russell Stannard teacher training videos. The session aimed to help trainees find resources and information effectively and understand that they may not need to create something from scratch as it may already be available. In this particular session, trainees were asked to either create a ‘Help Mat’ resource on effective internet searches for their own students to use or find an ‘Outstanding Lesson Resource’ to share with their colleagues within their discipline. These activities engaged the trainees in practicing skills such as interpreting, evaluating, and managing digital information that would hopefully be shared with others.


Media literacy:

Weeks nine, 10 and 16 had a really good focus on developing media literacy. We initially looked at how staff and students should produce academic and professional communications by considering aspects of Equality and Diversity, the nine protected groups and prospective audiences for productions of content and communication through a whole group discussion. To help the trainees understand some difficulties that prospective audiences may face we used the Sim-dis website created by JISC TechDis to simulate aspects of a disability. Trainees were very reflective and concerned about their previous practice in producing content for learning. This session was very effective and a change in practice could be seen with this group.


With regards to copy right, creative commons and plagiarism it was very difficult for the team to portray to the trainees how serious this area of digital literacy can be. We used a range of resources, activities, and scenarios to inform and educate however it was disregarded by trainees frequently as a ‘pointless’ consideration as no formal checks seem to take place within the college and ‘others’ break these laws quite frequently. Trainees had no prior knowledge of creative commons licences so this area was of most use to them, however their responses and actions were highly disappointing, other than consistent reminders and direct questioning on the matter during session time; it was difficult to manage this requirement once trainees were creating in their own disciplines. Only a handful of staff and trainees will change their practice when challenged or reminded directly. I believe this is a college culture issue which will require some reform.


In week 10 of the project we commenced an investigation into Xerte as many digital literacy skills had been developed by this point. Trainees were developing skills in critical reading during the PCET programme so we focused more on the creative production of academic and professional communications with Xerte as a platform to use a range of media. Xerte can appear quite complex and some may assume that you require coding skills to create content, however the new 2.0 version is much more user friendly and trainees were utilising the different medias it had on offer to create learning content whilst considering their audiences. When prompted, respecting copyright and creative commons licences could also be witnessed.


By week 16, trainees were not only creating content through Xerte but using other creative media and ICT tools to further develop their skills. This included Augmented Reality, the use of QR codes, Prezi, and the avatar creating app Telligami, which became very popular around the college. More recently, trainees have been exploring Adobe Voice.


Communicate & Collaborate:

In week eight of the project we adopted the term ‘digital networks’ as opposed to ‘social media’ as the later proved to create barriers as we tried to incorporate communication and collaborative skills into teaching and learning practice. Whilst the college is embracing social media in a corporative manner, it has varying views on its use in classrooms. We introduced trainees to the capabilities of Prezi for online collaborative presentation building and the collaborative features of Google docs. Both tools could be used as a means of communication and Prezi hosts its own digital network. Trainees enjoyed the sharing community of Prezi and became particularly proud of the amounts of ‘views’ or ‘downloads’ that their created Prezi content had. They also found it useful to search for content by other academics and their information literacy skills were practiced often in this manner. Further features that the trainees found useful, were the capabilities of Google doc’s’ translation options. It helped trainees to be more inclusive of ESOL students in the college. Many versions of the same document could be created in one click and trainees who have used this feature with Polish learners have stated that it is quite reliable.


Career & identity management:

Using blogs, and facilitating the use of digital network tools like edublogs and Prezi during the digital literacy and PCET programme meant that trainees would seriously consider there digital reputation. This was in light of advice and guidance from NIACE on positive digital footprints and the need for separate personal and professional social media accounts. Trainees could see much value in managing their reputations, especially when it comes to future employment opportunities once they graduate. This career management element of digital literacy skills was taken so seriously that in future we hope to make connections between this and copyright/creative commons licensing as an element of protecting their careers and identities.

It was felt that as the PCET edublogs were quite informal and reflective so trainees decided that it would be better to hide their identities through code names, but Prezi accounts were more career enhancing so they were not anonymous and content could easily be attributed.

ICT literacy:

To enhance ICT literacy, the trainees developed internet shortcuts for their own desktops and PCET e-portfolios, learnt how to create group email lists and use the more advanced features of a calendar on Microsoft Outlook. It was surprising that trainees had not already acquired these skills with the applications and services that their working environment offered. As requested by the trainees, in week two, we discovered the SMART board technologies that were on offer in most classrooms. Trainees admitted to not adopting this technology for learning and teaching practice in the past. Through small group guided discovery via online tutorials by Russell Taylor and the SMART Exchange website, the trainees were provided with a private classroom and SMART board to develop their skills with this digital device. Some trainees could already use the basic features of the SMART board so they became more advanced in addition to developing professional digital scholarship with their peers as they supported and problem solved for the small working groups.

During the final few weeks of the digital literacy programme, trainees demonstrated extensive skills in ICT literacy whilst they adopted Xerte online toolkits more frequently and began to use it within lessons and facilitated their own students to use it. It became more apparent that their own learners, who are probably more of a ‘digital native’ than they were, showed more skilful approaches to adapt and use Xerte to create content.

Learning skills:

We wanted to help trainees build technology rich environments for their learners using the readily available digital devices that the college provides, the most innovative being iBoards, the new bank of 20 iPads, the new VLE and Xerte. The iBoards and iPads would not develop learning skills alone, so we investigated the range of Google and Apple learning apps that were in the market and on offer for free. Trainees used some of week four and all of week five and six to find, interpret and evaluate apps (drawing upon information literacy skills) against criteria from the DfE (2011). Trainees can now make choices around technology use that include collaborative learning opportunities, are inclusive of many learning styles and needs, can be used as assessment for learning and develop the independence for learning as recommended by the DfE (2011). There are a range of apps that can be used and teachers can investigate these through our college Pinterest site.

In week 15, trainees concentrated on improving their VLE’s to help their own learners learn effectively within that environment. They worked on materials, external links (majority Xerte Objects), video content, and quizzes. At this point, trainees found that Xerte was much more creative and visually appealing that the created content via the VLE. The VLE can supplement a Xerte object by providing a platform for announcements, and discussion boards, which are the more collaborative features that Xerte on its own, can lack.

Digital scholarship:

Within week four, trainees analysed emerging academic and research practices that revolve around the use of digital systems. These practices included the use of Puentedura’s (2012) SAMR model and Koehler & Mishra’s (2009) TPACK concept of technology use in educational settings. Trainees explained how they met particular criteria of each model and where their professional practice required improvement. Since this particular week, we continuously referred to the SAMR and TPACK models to ensure that all our digital literacy practice could be developed effectively within their own classroom settings and learning environments.

We agreed that to participate in these emerging practices and continuously develop digital scholarship; the trainees should begin to use a blog to help enhance digital scholarship. The use of a blog has been introduced as a formative and summative assessment method within the ‘Collaborative and Inclusive Practice’ module of the PCET programme earlier this year. Examples of such blogs and digital scholarship can be found within the project outputs.


Specific Challenges

Myerscough College is a diverse environment of FE, HE and Learning Difficulty and Disability learners. The project had a multi-disciplinary approach due to the nature of this land and sports based college and the current number of trainee teachers (students) which are also academic staff at the college. The trainee teachers also pulled in their own students to participate in the project. The scope of the multi-disciplinary approach facilitated by the trainees was that of the Social Sciences and Education, Leisure, Sport and Tourism and STEM subjects such as Biological sciences. Although we anticipated more due to the vocational nature of the college, there was probably too much scope here.



Recent Ofsted reports (OFSTED, 2012) have deduced that staff training and a venture into ILT to increase the use of the VLE and e-portfolios have led to significant improvements, whilst ITE sessions encourage the trainee’s use of ILT effectively to enhance learning and stimulate the interest and engagement of their students. Whilst this is very positive, digital literacy skills have been neglected from the curriculum and if we were to use OFSTED terminology, we would be inadequate. A digital culture shift was required.



Most trainees had limited pre-requisites such as some ICT literacy and some assumptions were made in that they would already be considering such things as copyright and being inclusive towards varying audiences. Many of the trainees required tailored support and guidance within the 16 week programme. As a result, we think it is very important that digital literacy is an embedded skill within a PGCE programme in order to prepare them for the digital natives they will be faced with in the near future. The 16 week programme was very helpful in making this realisation.




The Social Science and Educational discipline influenced a generic approach to the development of digital literacy skills and this provided the opportunity for a lot of content and resources to be shared and adapted between a range of disciplines. Evidence of this can be found in the attached project outputs and project blog. Surprisingly, there was no conflict between trainees and their peers’ specialist discipline within the PGCE Post Compulsory training course. A collaborative approach was adopted within the sessions and anything shared was considered and adopted by the group across a range of disciplines. Trainees would take varied approaches to using digital literacy with their learners in their own disciplines however. There were inconsistent technical frameworks used for the development of skills and digital literacy within their curriculum and this was as a result of the range of multi-media applications and programmes presented to them during the 16 week programme. Despite Xerte being widely promoted, teachers would rightfully choose methods and techniques most appropriate for their learners. We were still happy that a variety of frameworks were used, rather than none what so ever.



The trainees became very open with each other when they found difficulty in some digital literacy skills and would help each other confidently to solve these difficulties. In some instances they would meet up separately to resolve problems and this can be seen within their edublogs as they reflect on those meetings. Trainees were also open to observing each other within their own taught sessions to identify and evaluate digital literacy skills. This can also be witnessed within their edublogs. Trainees are still keen to share and demonstrate new found technologies to continue building technology rich environments for learning. Much of this practice exchange revolved around iPad apps however and this is also a current trend around the college. One area that we really want trainees to exchange practices in is that of using copyright and creative commons resources or using the e-learning team to help them create their own. We feel that trainees are much more aware of these licences and do question their peers whilst participating in formal assessments. It is the informal scenarios and use of resources that pose a challenge for copyright and creative commons use.



The Post Compulsory Education and Training team wish to deliver a module similar to the above strategy in the next academic year, this idea is supported by the colleges own Teaching and Learning department and the ATP’s alike. We have found on reflection that the 16 week programme does need some adjustment and alignment to the new professional standards framework and we hope to include the information and library services so that trainee teachers and students alike are continuously exposed to teams that aim to develop and enhance digital literacy skills.

Immediate Impact

The project has created ‘champions’ of digital literacies throughout the institution. There are a small group of five trainees who have advanced their skills tenfold. These trainees have been very keen to disseminate good practice through departmental team meetings, department CPD events and informally collaborate with others to create more digitally literate and innovative content. These trainees have also become highly respected by senior staffs who call on them to introduce concepts and new ideas within the ILT strategy group and present at conferences such as the JISC RSC North West Annual Event.



Around the project group and the ‘champions’ we have created a buzz for these ‘new digital literacies’ that have come onto the academic scene. Digital Literacy skills may not be a new concept for some, but the college is now more aware of the improved focus on ICT and that it is no longer just a case of ‘just throw some ICT in to tick a box’, the culture is changing. More attention is being given to these additional skills, as the trainees; ATP’s and the Head of Teaching and Learning are promoting them widely and creating further questions and further research and we are very excited.



The first opportunity to disseminate project outputs and outcomes came at our Annual Contemporary Issues Conference held in April 2014, where some trainees chose digital literacies as a contemporary issue within lifelong learning and presented their case via academic posters (found within the output list). There were 40 external delegates in total from the academic community and 146 website views over a three month period.



Many trainees have academic Prezi accounts and edublogs and share their content online with no restrictions to access. Both sets of digital media provide site analytics such as views and downloads For some trainees the statistics are quite impressive. There are a few examples of such accounts within the outputs list



Trainees are now more open to the idea of allowing learners to collaborate on assessments through the use of social media. They find the creation of a positive digital identity of benefit to learners and this allows them to become more socially responsible. Developing digital identities of learners was problematic as creating teaching sessions on digital identity awareness and management or even showcasing achievement through sites such as twitter, LinkedIn, scoop-it or WordPress became slow (due to available bandwidths or out of date resources) or worse banned.



In terms of creating digital content, a major achievement has been the consideration of inclusive features and potential audiences. For example, most learner assessments that are collaborative would be presentations and trainees have a more inclusive attitude towards this kind on content creation. They now focus on ensuring that their own learners consider their target audience with references to equality and diversity.



One very effective digital literacy attitude change has been the way trainees and academic staff and senior managers view digital tools, apps and devices (ICT Literacy). The majority of academic staff have embraced the SAMR model by Puentedura (2012) and spend more time considering and reflecting on new and potential ICT rather than embracing it because of its cosmetic appeal.



We feel that there is more interdepartmental collaboration and cross communication between academic staff and this is slowly progressing to support staff such as the e-learning and IT departments. More academic staff are aware of the e-learning department and are demanding a little more from the team in terms of creating images and videos in addition to booking the available ILT resources. The project has successfully raised the profile of the team. Sharing and disseminating of projects and ideas for content creation or technology know-how is still limited, however the ATPs and trainees will share practice between each other and are left to disseminate between teams. There are ideas for more collaboration between teams and their ATP’s. So community boundaries are not being breached that often and this is partly due to the current college culture.



Finally, senior management have become more aware of the need for digital literacy training and technology enhanced learning training amongst academic and support staff. They wish for projects such as this to continue on a wider scale. Digital literacies and technology enhanced learning are now part of strategic planning for the new academic year and the future.

Future Impact

We want to continue this ‘improving digital literacies’ programme but we plan to deliver a shorter version to attract a larger staff uptake. We are hoping to deliver a six week programme once every term. This is anticipated to be delivered on a different day each time the six week programme commences so more staffs have the opportunity to attend.



This project has also sparked the need for weekly lunch time sessions to engage more staff and students with improving their digital literacies. We are planning to conduct twice weekly lunch time sessions with approximately 12 activities over a term. The activities delivered in the lunch time sessions will be prioritised in terms of the learner needs at the time. Each of these sessions will be produced as an online version too in preparation for our new staff and student online training hub.



All of our stakeholders will be impacted in terms of the planning, preparation, delivery and attendance within the above programmes. We would love to publish the online versions through Jorum for example. A team that will be impacted heavily through these future impacts will be the Library services. We wish to include them more in terms of the new ‘student training hub’ proposed for September 2015. They may help to create online content and possibly deliver digital literacy sessions to learners throughout the course of the 2015-16 academic year and beyond.



Now that we have senior management incorporating the continuation of the digital literacies project within strategy we can track the impact much more effectively by working with the Quality Assurance team. The impact of the ‘improving digital literacies’ programme can be tracked via a review of lesson observation feedback and the introduction of new prompts on the annual course and area self-assessment reports. We also plan to add a new question within the student surveys for induction, mid-term and end of year. There is potential for a staff survey to be produced, but we feel that this should be stream lined to obtain staff feedback on other areas of the college and not just CPD. The VLE data will also be a useful tool to track the interaction with the ‘training hubs’



Our programmes, information and sites will be disseminated via the Lancashire/Manchester Information Learning Technology groups by our e-learning manager.

Conclusions

Completing this digital literacy project has produced many outputs for the trainee teachers and students alike to enhance or use as models of good practice. This project was small scale but deep in terms of the impact it had on the general college community. It has been rewarding in that the college is now more aware of the digital literacy skills that academic and support staff require in order facilitating best practice with the learners.



It is important that ITE programmes and general CPD programmes take digital literacy skills into consideration and develop where appropriate. More importantly, if academic staff are to support their learners and enhance their digital literacy skills in preparation for employment they must practice and develop their own digital literacy skills to a high standard just as they would with their subject specialism. Digital literacy cannot be ignored and should have as much emphasis as the DfE requires for Maths and English skills within a curriculum.



This project would not have been successful without the support of many college teams and management staff. It is essential for the IT team to be swift during the installation and training of Xerte within their team. The E-Learning team have been essential with their availability to support trainees and learners in their creation of Xerte Learning Objects and other outputs when required. The embedding of this digital literacy project within the ITE curriculum and CPD programming has been invaluable and supported well by the college ATP staff and senior management. The effects of this level of support can be seen within our prospective future impacts.

Recommendations

  1. Xerte 2.0 or above should be installed and used through a local server to provide the most inclusive use of the FOSS.
  2. Ensure other departments such as library and student services become partners within the digital literacy drive
  3. High levels of support from management are essential and including them within a digital literacy upskilling programme can be motivational.
  4. Digital literacy is an embedded skill within a PCET programme in order to prepare trainees for the digital natives they will be faced with in the near future.
  5. Make connections between career management and copyright/creative commons licensing to help teachers/learners take digital literacies seriously and protect their future careers and identities.
  6. Help to change a culture of poor embedding of digital literacy in academia by challenging tutors skills more widely through developmental observation practices.


Implications for the future

Technology Enhanced Learning is not just about adopting and using technology in and outside the classroom. It requires the practice of all seven digital literacies for TEL to become sustainable and meaningful. CPD teams and academic developers should focus on digital literacies more so than just technology its self.



Working alongside the ITE, CPD and E-Learning teams we hope to deliver a six week programme each term and weekly lunch time sessions to engage more staff and students with improving their digital literacies. For this to be successful, we hope to have the library staff participate in such developments and support us in the future.



As the poster conference, blogs, VLE and ‘how-to’ help sheets are well established, we will continue to manage and update these areas as the future ‘improving digital literacy’ programmes continue. The original 12 week digital literacy programme will be completely embedded within the part time, two year PCET programmes.

References

Armatige, A. (2012). LBC Initial Teacher Education Inspection Report. Manchester: OFSTED.

DfE. (2011). What is the evidence on technology supported learning? Department for Education.

Hall, M., Nix, I., & Baker, K. (2013). Student experiences and perceptions of digital literacy skills . The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 207-225 (3).

Koehler, M., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9 (1). 60-70.

Miller, R. (2001, November 02). Greater Expectations to Improve Student Learning. Retrieved April 02, 2014, from Association of American Colleges and Universities: http://www.greaterexpectations.org/briefing_papers/ImproveStudentLearning.html

Puentedura, R. (2012, June 7). The SMAR Model - Enhancing Technology Intergration. Retrieved Sept 1, 2013, from Digital Learning Team: http://digitallearningteam.org/2012/06/07/the-samr-model-enhancing-technology-intergration/

Reece, I., & Walker, S. (2000). Teaching, training and learning. Sunderland, Tyne & Wear: Business Education Publishers Ltd.

Wan, N. (2013). Can we teach digital natives digital literacy? Computers & Education, 1065–1078 (59).

Warschauer, M., & Matuchniak, T. (2010). New Technology and Digital Worlds: Analyzing Evidence of Equity in Access. In A. Gruszczynska, G. Merchant, & R. Pountney, Digital Futures in Teacher Education (p. 193). Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University.


Appendices (optional)

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