Friday, 6 April 2012

Digital Literacy needs Visual Literacy and powerful learning spaces

I’ve just  been to the ALDinHE Conference: "Learning Development in a digital age: emerging literacies and learning spaces". (See on Twitter at #aldcon and #loveld.)

My Poster Presentation ( tackled different visual aspects of Digital Literacy – reflecting my concern that these are being sidelined, especially as directed by government policy,  for the more technological aspects (viz. ‘Harnessing Technology’). 

Coming from a Literature, Film and Television Studies background, my focus is on the constructed nature of all representational systems, including the digital – and that all media are constructed in and through power discourses. If our students cannot ‘read’ and de-code the power inherent in digital messages, then they will never be digitally literate – no matter how many blogs they write or twitter posts they make.

In a practical pedagogical sense, I am interested in harnessing multimodality in teaching and learning – and particularly in supplementing the traditional essay with IBL and PBL assignments designed to promote engagement and creativity through real research projects that don’t ‘waste students’ work’.

One part of this research interest involves exploring how students can express their ideas on studying, learning and knowledge via designing their own animations and producing their own teaching and learning resources.

We have developed a prototype resource, ‘The AniMet Challenge’, that anyone can use to challenge their students to explore aspects of studying - and then to produce animations or resources around what they discover.

If you are interested in joining in our project – please go to our AniMet Challenge:

I am also involved in exploring how students inhabit Second Life and other 3D spaces. I want to discover how they represent themselves in these learning spaces – and how powerful they feel in these spaces. My hypothesis is that these places are less inhibiting for learners – especially non-traditional learners – than the typical University – and that therefore, there is the potential for students to be more creative there than in the University per se – and that these spaces are definitely more empowering than the traditional MLE or VLE.

See for resources we’ve developed to help other educationalists join in these explorations in teaching in 3D worlds – and for more information on ALDinHE – and to access the latest edition of our Journal – please go to: