Category: New Literacies (page 2 of 14)

An update on ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’

The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies

As regular readers of this blog will be aware, ever since finishing my Ed.D. thesis in 2012 I’ve been working on an iterative e-book called The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. I’m excited to announce that I’m planning to launch v1.0 on 27th June 2014.

This is an ‘iterative’ e-book because people have been able to buy into it ever since v0.1. You can find more about this ‘OpenBeta’ model here. Fundamental to the process is getting feedback from readers. I’m glad to say that you haven’t let me down, and the book is better as a result. Thank you for that.

The aim is for the e-book to be practically useful while not being shy about theory. People have said that it’s proving useful for use with trainee teachers and other undergraduates, so I’m glad it’s already having the desired effect!

My plans for getting to a v1.0 release of The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies are as follows:

27th May
Release v0.99 of the e-book. This will be textually complete and form the basis of a crowdsourced copyediting process that will take a few weeks.

27th June
Release v1.0 of the e-book. This will have benefitted from more eyes than just mine in terms of coherence and copyediting. Should they agree, these people will be given special thanks in the foreword. It will definitely be available in PDF, and I’ll work with people to get it available in ePub and Kindle formats.

Ongoing
I’m not the only conduit for ideas in this space, so I’m planning to follow the lead of people like Yochai Benkler and create a wiki to accompany the book. This will be structured in a similar way to the wiki that is a companion to Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks.


A few points to finish off.

  1. Now is be a great time to buy into the book. It’ll save you a couple of pounds compared to the price of v0.99 or v1.0 (you get the updates for free).
  2. This was never about the money. Yes, I’ve been able to pay recurring digital subscriptions from my Paypal balance instead of my credit card, but that wasn’t the aim. The financial element here was to get people to buy into the process early. Once this happened, I could ask for feedback – which I’m delighted to have received on a fairly regular basis.
  3. If you’d like to get involved with the launch, please do get in touch! Examples: the visual design of v1.0, translating the book into another language, or making Bitcoin payments a reality. I’m @dajbelshaw or you can email me at dajbelshaw@nullgmail.com.

A special thanks once again to those who have encouraged me and provided feedback over the last couple of years. You’re all very kind. We’re nearly there – just this last hurdle to clear!

More on this next week with the release of v0.99. đŸ™‚

Writing and publishing openly online

Ian O’Byrne, Assistant Professor of Educational Technologies at the University of New Haven and a big help when defining the Web Literacy Map, invited me to participate in the recording of his latest podcast, Digitally Literate.

Other than Ian and me, the participants were:

  • Gideon Burton – Asst. Professor of English, Brigham Young University
  • Rick Ferdig – Summit Professor of Learning Technologies; Kent State University
  • Charlotte Pierce – IPNE.org / peeragogy.org
  • Kristy Pytash / Assistant Professor, Literacy Education, Kent State University
  • Verena Roberts  – Open and Online Educational Consultant

We discussed the options for writing and publishing online, as well as the barriers involved (and more philosophical issues surrounding it).

It was recorded using Google+ Hangouts on Air, so you should see the embedded YouTube video below:

Don’t see anything? Try clicking here.

New to digital literacies? Read this.

Earlier today John Sutton asked for my “top few accessible reads overviewing digital literacies”. I was walking my son to his new school at the time, so responded that I would write a quick blog post later. Well, here it is.

Right off the bat I’d go for Howard Rheingold’s Net Smart. It’s wonderfully written by a (gentle) giant of the field. What I like about it is the mix of anecdote and academic research. It really is well put together.

After that, it’s slightly trickier to know where to turn – for a couple of reasons. First, the books in this field tend to be more academic than perhaps they need to be. Second, they’re also more expensive than they need to be. £20 for a text-based book is not my usual idea of money well spent. I’d rather dip into the Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy (available free online) – especially articles like Towards a Transformative Digital Literacies Pedagogy (Thomas, 2011)

Having said that, anyone who wants to get to grips with the field of digital literacies really does need to read Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel’s Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies and Practices. I enjoyed (re-)reading it. You might also want to try James Paul Gee’s What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.

I haven’t read everything that’s come out around digital literacies since I finished my thesis, but it’s important to realise that there’s different understanding of what the territory looks like depending upon which sector you’re in (schools, universities, formal/informal) and where you are in the world. The ongoing work of Henry Jenkins is venerated in North America so it’s probably worth reading the free MacArthur report he wrote with some others in 2009: Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.

Other than that, and perhaps some work by David Buckingham, it’s difficult to point you towards something specific. There’s some great work by Stephen Downes and by Helen Beetham, but their work is more wide-ranging than just digital literacies. Downes’ excellent presentation Speaking in Lolcats, for example, is almost an hour and a half long. You can find Beetham’s work scattered around the Jisc Design Studio (a wiki).

Finally, while I’m slightly wary of tooting my own horn, I did spend six years looking at the field of digital literacies in my thesis. While that in itself is not as incomprehensible as some academic work, I am (taking my time in writing) a more accessible version of it. It’s an ebook called The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies which you can buy it now (currently at v0.9) and you’ll get v1.0 when it’s finished. I hope that helps John and some other people.

If there’s something I’ve missed that you’d recommend, please do mention it in the comment section below! đŸ™‚

Image CC BY-NC-SA Tyler Wilson

v0.9 of ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’ now available! [E-BOOK]

The Essential Elements of Digital LiteraciesI’m delighted to announce that the latest iteration of my e-book The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies is now available. This takes us to v0.9!

Those who invested in previous versions have already received their free update, according to the OpenBeta process I devised. Or at least they should have done – ping me if not. đŸ™‚

You can invest in v0.9 and then get the update to v1.0 by clicking below:


(v0.99 coming 27th May 2014) 


What’s included in this version?

  • Preface
  • Contents page
  • Chapter 2 – What’s the problem?
  • Chapter 3 – Everything is ambiguous
  • Chapter 4 – Why existing models of digital literacy don’t work
  • Chapter 5 – The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies
  • Chapter 6 – Curiosity created the LOLcat
  • Chapter 7 – Remix: the heart of digital literacies
  • Chapter 8 – Coding and the web (*NEW!*)

This means that the book’s main chapters are finished and all that’s left is the introduction and conclusion to write and a bit of copyediting to sort out. If you buy into the book now, you’ll receive the finished version as soon as it’s ready!

Got questions? I might have answered them in this post announcing the e-book!

Header image CC BY-NC-SA Tc Morgan,
book cover background CC BY pranav

v0.7 of ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’ now available! [E-BOOK]

The Essential Elements of Digital LiteraciesI’m delighted to announce that the latest iteration of my e-book The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies is now available. This takes us to v0.7!

Those who invested in previous versions have already received their free update, according to the OpenBeta process I devised. Or at least they should have done – ping me if not. đŸ™‚

You can invest in v0.7 and then get every update to v1.0 by clicking below:


v0.9 now available!


What’s included in this version?

  • Preface
  • Contents page
  • Chapter 2 – What’s the problem?
  • Chapter 3 – Everything is ambiguous
  • Chapter 4 – Why existing models of digital literacy don’t wory
  • Chapter 5 – The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies
  • Chapter 6 – Curiosity created the LOLcat
  • Chapter 7 – Remix: the heart of digital literacies (*NEW!*)

This chapter has a nice mix of theory and practical suggestions about how to get started improving your digital literacies by remixing stuff online. If you buy into the book now, you’ll receive the rest of the chapters as I write them – free!

Got questions? I might have answered them in this post announcing the e-book!

Image CC BY pranav

Zen and the Art of Digital Literacies [video + article]

About this time last year, the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA) kindly invited me over to keynote their annual conference. I had a great time and presented on Zen and the Art of Digital Literacies.

Subsequently, I was asked to write it up as an article for the inaugural issue of the ILTA’s journal, which has been published recently. They’ve done a really nice job of creating a responsive, web-native, open-access journal that also include the video of me presenting.

Check it out here: http://journal.ilta.ie/2013/05/21/zen-and-the-art-of-digital-literacies/

(you should also take time to go through the other articles in the issue)

v0.6 of ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’ now available! [E-BOOK]

The Essential Elements of Digital LiteraciesI’m pleased to announce the latest iteration of my e-book The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies is now available. We’re now at v0.6!

Those who invested in previous versions have already received their free update, according to the OpenBeta process I devised. As I’ve already stated, all profits from this book will go to the #LettingGrow campaign.

You can invest in v0.6 and then get every update to v1.0 by clicking below:


This book has now reached v0.7 – click here


What’s included in this version?

  • Preface
  • Contents page
  • Chapter 2 – What’s the problem?
  • Chapter 3 – Everything is ambiguous
  • Chapter 4 – Why existing models of digital literacy don’t wory
  • Chapter 5 – The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies
  • Chapter 6 – Curiosity created the LOLcat (*NEW!*)

This has probably been the chapter that’s been the most fun to write, especially given that it contains some of my favourite memes like Success Kid and Y U NO guy. If you buy into the book now, you’ll receive the rest of the chapters as I write them – free!

Got questions? I probably answered them in this post announcing the e-book!

Image CC BY pranav

Two online gatherings you should be part of (today/tomorrow)

Earlier this week I led an #etmooc session on Digital Literacies. The slides for that are here and the video, audio, chat and etherpad archive can be found here. I’m involved in another couple of online gathering-type things in the new literacies arena this week that may also be of interest.

1. Twitter chat for #etmooc

I’m following up the above Digital Literacies #etmooc session with a Twitter chat at 10am PST / 3pm EST / 8pm GMT tomorrow night (Wednesday 20th February 2013). You don’t really need to do anything apart from follow the #etmooc hashtag and tweet accordingly.

2. Web Literacy standard online gathering

A couple of weeks ago we had a great kick-off online gathering for Mozilla’s upcoming work around a new, open learning standard for Web Literacy. There were many who couldn’t attend so we’re running the session again this Thursday (21st February 2013) at  9am PST / 12pm EST / 5pm GMT.

Further details are at http://weblitstd2.eventbrite.com. The recording of the previous session, along with some of my thoughts around the subject can be found here.

I’d love to see your name pop up at either or both of these events. Do take part if you can! đŸ™‚

Image CC BY paul_clarke

Recording of my #etmooc session on Digital Literacies now available.

Last night I led (what seemed to be) a well-received session for #etmooc on digital literacies. While you can catch the whole thing again through the Blackboard Collaborate recording, you’ll need Java to do so. That’s why I’ve used the free Publish! tool to create digital artefacts from the session and uploaded them to the Internet Archive.

[archiveorg ETMOOCT3S1DigitalLiteraciesWithDr.DougBelshawChat width=640 height=480]

You should see a video above. If not, click here or try the YouTube version!

Many thanks to all those who took part in the session – and for the kind words in the chat and on Twitter afterwards. I really enjoyed the experience!

Direct links to digital artefacts

Why not (legally) download the whole archive using your favourite bittorrent client? Try uTorrent, for example. đŸ™‚

T3S1: Digital Literacies with Dr. Doug Belshaw (#etmooc)

I’m running my first-ever MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) session on digital literacies as part of #etmooc. Anyone can join in at 8pm GMT on Monday 18th February 2013. The link you need is at Point 4 here. Slides below or on Slideshare!

[slideshare id=16552231&style=border: 1px solid #CCC; border-width: 1px 1px 0; margin-bottom: 5px;&sc=no]

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