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Andy Lane


I enjoyed the slidecast but came away thinking it didn't match up well to the post. By that I mean the slidecast talked mainly about a modern day skillset that relies on digital technologies or tools. the relationship to literacy or literacies being only partial. To over analyse, person(s) to person(s)communication involves the manipulation of words, numbers, sounds, 'symbols and pictures'. Words can be as speech or written text, and the skill of understanding (aka listening/reading) or manipulating them (speaking/writing) are known as oracy and literacy. Similarly, symbols and pictures, static or dynamic involve graphicacy.

Now forget the terminology for a moment, the issues are with being able to be a participant in society and everyday life and work either because you can understand/interpret/enjoy the communicative outputs of others and/or because you can make your own outputs that others can understand/interpret/enjoy.

For me, the interesting developments are how technology defines and determines which mode of ***acy is used and who is able to use it (effectively). I have long written and promoted the use of diagrammatic techniques (graphicacy?) for understanding and interpretation but this has been hampered by tools (pen and paper) and costs in producing printed paper based diagrams. Digital tecgnologies are changing the affordances of graphical representations greatly such that it is becoming a serious area of research and activity (despite practice being hampered by no agreed grammar for such outputs). Video use has been even more influenced by digital technology such that skills of producing and interpreting such outputs are more widespread and more familar than ever.

Even more interesting, is how compentent do we all need to be in the different ***acies as well as how competent in the technologies that enable us to participate (if we want to) in that particular form of communication?

Lots of diagnosis and no prognosis I am afraid - the abiding role of academics. Hmm but perhaps there is a research proposal in this and at least I can stick to simple digital literacy to write it ....


Hi Andy, thanks for the comments. I think there may be a bit of a mismatch as you say between my talk, and some of the broader literacies stuff. What I have been thinking about is digital skills or scholarship in higher ed, and a lot of the dig lit work is aimed at schools.
I think video is a good example - on the one hand Dean Shareski and others have argued that video could be one of one those key skills for young people now, because it's so ubiquitous. But does this mean technical stuff like editing, adding soundtrack, uploading? Or does it mean being able to conceive an idea and convey it via video? Or does it mean being confident in front of a camera? Or is it some more abstract skill that is realised through video? Or all of these?
(I think this is what you've said in your penultimate para).
I think there are general aptitudes we can encourage and skill sets we can foster without getting too bogged down in very specific technologies.
Yes, definitely some research proposals in this.

Lou McGill

I hope that our ongoing JISC funded research study on Learning Literacies for a Digital Age (LLiDA) (Helen Beetham, Allison Littlejohn and myself) will contribute some useful information for this current dialogue.

Due to report in the next few weeks, we have focussed on actual practice in HE/FE but also infomed by schools work. The study has included desk research, institutional audits, snapshots and exemplars of current practice and an examination of frameworks. see http:/www.academy.gcal.ac.uk/llida


Hi Lou, yes looking forward to the report, will be interesting to see the range of stuff that comes under this umbrella.

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