Past Event details

New Approaches To Digital Literacies

Friday, 10 May 2013

This one-day event will offer new perspectives on different types of digital literacies, with plenty of opportunities for participants to join in the discussions. The morning session (11am-1pm) will be a workshop focusing on the development of ‘informed researchers’ and digital literacies, while the second half (2-4pm) will offer theoretical insights into academic literacies and popular digital literacy practices. Lunch will be provided between 1-2pm.

Facilitating Informed Research in the Digital world
Moira Bent (Newcastle University) and Jane Secker (LSE) on behalf of the RIDLs Coalition

Interacting with information is at the very heart of the research process and easy digital access to material sometimes masks the complexity of the processes involved in ensuring quality. Additionally, not all researchers are at the same stage in their development as a researcher, in the research process itself, or in their lives. This can impact on how information literate or digitally literate they may be – are they new researchers, or experienced researchers who need to develop new approaches, for example. For anyone involved in facilitating the research process, the challenge is to identify opportunities for successful interventions and to develop strategies to implement them, perhaps via formal development programmes, independent learning or point of need. 

This workshop will help researchers and institutions develop an understanding of how they can facilitate the development of “informed researchers”.

Meaning making in a digital higher education: integrating academic literacies with ‘actor network’ and ‘sociomaterial’ approaches to practice
Mary Lea (Open University) and Lesley Gourlay (Institute of Education, London)

Despite providing a series of valuable theoretical insights into the nature of socially-situated meaning-making across a range of settings, the field of Academic Literacies has, arguably, not yet engaged fully with digitally- mediated textual practices in higher education. In part this is due to the reluctance of literacies researchers to be seen aligning literacy with channel because of their concern with practice in context. In addition, some of the categories used in the field may now be hampering our ability to draw generatively on what academic literacies does have to offer.

Digital technologies are increasingly integral to meaning making and engagement in textual practices across and throughout academic practice, such that the digital can no longer be viewed as merely an aspect of textual practice. We will argue that digitally-mediated practices, texts, technologies, devices and users cannot be meaningfully disaggregated, but instead should be reconsidered in new conceptualisations of what it means to read, write and practice online. 

Illustrating our argument with multimodal data from an ongoing JISC-funded project (Gourlay & Oliver in press), we will argue that an Academic Literacies perspective can gain more theoretical purchase on this complex area of semiotic practice in combination with perspectives drawn from Actor-Network Theory (e.g. Latour 2005), see Lea in press, and sociomaterial perspectives (e.g. Fenwick et al 2011)

These perspectives raise questions for us about taken-for-granted binaries, such as text and context, author and text, device and user, and human and non-human actor – reflecting the ways in which the digital challenges and breaks down familiar binaries and creates new configurations of both practices and practitioners with their own histories and textual practices.
Fenwick, T., Edwards, R. & Sawchuck, P. (2011) Emerging Approaches to Educational Research: Tracing the Sociomaterial. London: Routledge.
Gourlay, L. & Oliver, M. (in press) ‘Beyond 'the social': digital literacies as sociomaterial practice’ in R. Goodfellow and M. R Lea (eds), Literacy in the Digital University: Critical Perspectives on Learning, Scholarship & Technology. London: SRHE/ Routledge.
Latour, B. (2005) Reassembling the Social. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lea, M R. (in press) ‘Academic literacies in the digital university: integrating individual accounts with network practice’  in R. Goodfellow and M.R Lea (eds), Literacy in the Digital University: Critical Perspectives on Learning, Scholarship & Technology. London: SRHE/ Routledge

Outside the Digital University: Popular Culture and Students’ Online Literacy Practices
Bronwyn Williams (University of Louisville)

Digital media technologies have allowed for the creation of a participatory popular culture in which individuals can sample and remix popular culture content, write back to popular culture producers, and connect with fellow fans from around the corner and around the world. Whether on computers or mobile devices, young people are often engaged in participatory literacy practices that involve reading and writing with print, sound, images, and video. What’s more, many of these digital literacy practices involve using popular culture texts and content as semiotic and rhetorical resources for composing, not just as texts to consume.

In this talk I will discuss the powerful role popular culture plays in the online literacy practices that young people around the world engage in every day. I discuss how participatory popular culture is shaping students’ conception of texts and often blurring the lines between reading and writing. In addition, the multimedia capabilities of new technologies and popular culture have given students tools for composing that are changing their ideas about genre and audience. I focus in particular on how ideas such as mosaic and collage, with their juxtapositions of disparate words, images, and video, are appealing to students and shaping their learning when they read and write online with popular culture. Finally, I will point out how, given the cross-cultural nature of online media, the literacy practices shaped by popular culture online are influenced by the ways in which images, ideas, and references are read and appropriated across borders. If we consider, in more explicit and creative ways, the influence of popular culture in student reading and writing, we can engage students in a more sophisticated and critical awareness of the intersections between in-school and out-of-school literacy practices.


Network: Digital University
Date(s): Friday, 10 May 2013
Times: 11.00 -16:00
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier Street, London, N1 9BE
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