New Territory: Digital Literacies Lab

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I had an idea. I talked about it with an administrator. I announced it to our whole staff. Next Monday I will convene the first gathering.

I am not the expert. I am an interested party. I am a reader and sometimes writer on the topics we plan to investigate. My goal is to build knowledge and gain some experience along with my colleagues and friends.

So I have called folks together; asked people to join me as we try to learn some stuff. Together. With each other. And we’ll have snacks.

I am not the teacher, nor will I be teaching. We are all learners. I am the convener.

I’m opening a Digital Literacies Lab at my school for a few Monday afternoons over the next several weeks. I’ve planned 5 sessions and just about everyone is invited: faculty, support staff, and high school students. It’s set up to be catch-as-catch-can, meaning that folks should come when they can and not worry about the rest.

I’ve invited my co-presenters for our upcoming NAIS People of Color Conference Seminar (p.16), Chris Gilliard and Bill Fitzgerald, to each skype in for a some Q and A around digital rules of engagement, i.e. Terms of service (Chris) and Data Hygiene (Bill). We will start out with those topics but our conversations may end up somewhere else entirely.

To convene for learning means creating and opening up space for engagement. Yes, there will be rough agendas and some resources to support us but I anticipate much feeling-as-we-go. What are the needs and major questions of the folks in the room? What kinds of resources and expertise might we have in the room to respond to and think about some of those questions more deeply? Rather than sit-and-get, these sessions will be, I hope, come-and-share-and ask-and-respond.

I envision movement. I imagine us spreading out in the room, poking and prodding our devices and each other to discover what we might be missing or have so far perhaps failed to realize. I anticipate aha moments, and slow dawnings; lightning strikes and blank stares. There must be room for all of this and more. Because learning is on the agenda.

And the rough agenda looks something like this: (from the e-mail invitation)

Oct. 2nd

What are digital literacies? What are we talking about when we use that term?

What are some skills you’d like to learn that might fall under this broad heading?

Oct. 9th

Considering the rules of engagement

How to read Terms of Service and figure out what we potentially risk when we sign on to apps and other digital service arenas

Guest speaker: Chris Gilliard, Professor of English, Macomb Community College

Oct. 16th

What is data hygiene?

How do we protect and safeguard our data across multiple devices and services?

Guest speaker: Bill Fitzgerald, Privacy Initiative Common Sense Media

Nov. 6th

Thinking about information filters

Exploring fact checking skills  (i.e., Reverse image search, tracking the source of viral content)

Nov. 20th

Data and Society (big, right?)

I have ideas but I also want to see what emerges from the previous labs before determining a specific agenda.

Now, it wouldn’t be very digital literacy-like if I didn’t welcome input from so many of you who have joined me on my journey up to this moment. Which resources – posts, articles, authors and activities would you recommend to a group of relative beginners starting out in traversing this territory?

How might you like to join us on this little trek in the information wilderness? Here’s a hashtag possibility for Twitter: #DigLitLab (unclaimed until now – just checked!).

I’m excited about being the convener and not the expert. I’m excited about learning and making space and time for learning with others. I’m excited about starting and following through. I’m excited about knowing that I don’t know how it will all turn out and doing it anyway.

 

image CC0 via Pixabay.com

 

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