I confess to almost forgetting to writing a weeknote this week. Thanks to Mike Cooke for the reminder! It’s funny how, when we’re nudged out of a routine, things can go sideways.
The main thing I did this week was go to Kuwait City to run a workshop for the AMICAL consortium on the strategic development of digital literacies. For a variety of reasons, I flew there on Tuesday, led the workshop on Wednesday, and flew back on Thursday.
Regular readers will know that, despite my efforts to eat well and keep fit, such stresses on my body don’t always end well. And so it was that on Thursday I succumbed to a cold, and then on Friday lunchtime, after a number of meetings for Moodle, I suffered from a migraine that knocked me sideways.
It’s my fault, of course. I should know better than to put myself through these things. It was the lack of sleep that got me, I think, but had I stuck around an extra day, my only option would have been to fly back at 3am local time. That wouldn’t have been ideal either.
The workshop went really well, and I was so pleased to meet such lovely people who were so receptive to the ideas I was sharing. I received some great feedback on everything from ambiguity to managing a workshop of around 25 people.
Kuwait City isn’t a place I’d hurry back to as a tourist, but I will say that the Lebanese food I had on Wednesday night was almost worth the trip in and of itself. Delightful.
I recorded a microcast for Thought Shrapnel about the workshop, as well as publishing an article about hierarchy, context, and ways we approach the question of how we should live. To this week’s roundup of links I added some comments, which I’ll continue to do if I can prioritise it.
Things are looking up for MoodleNet as the feeds (e.g. ‘My MoodleNet’) are now working. There’s still plenty to do, but I’ve worked closely with Martin Dougiamas, Moodle’s Founder and CEO, on the roadmap and resourcing.
We’ve always had the code on GitLab, but now we’ve moved the issues there too. You can view the issue board for the current milestone here. As Product Manager, it’s my job to walk a fine line between idealism and pragmatism when it comes to choosing tools. Everyone seems happier so far.
I’ve responded to a couple of requests for work through We Are Open Co-op this week, both of which sound really interesting. I’m going to start getting stuck into some existing work that my colleagues are doing this next week.
Other than that, it’s ensuring everyone has what they need for MoodleNet, and starting to scope out a new e-book. I was going to revise and expand The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies but, instead, I’m considering one with a similar title as my AMICAL workshop using Leanpub.
The week after next I’m in Barcelona for Moodle meetings and then off to London for a co-op meetup. And no, I won’t be at BETT.
As I promised when first making it available for sale, I’ve steadily reduced the price of my ebook, The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies, until it is now effectively zero. I’ve given people the option of paying if they’d like to, but other than adding an email address at checkout, it’s free of charge.
For those not familiar with the origin of this book, it started life as my doctoral thesis, which I then updated and re-wrote in less academic language. People bought into it as I was writing using the OpenBeta process I devised (this was before Leanpub existed!). The earlier people bought into the writing process, the cheaper it was. They got updates all of the way up to version 1.0.
Once it was ready for general consumption, I sold it at full price (£7.99) and then steadily decreased the price around every six months. Although I don’t think it’s ‘dated’, I did have the idea of what George Siemens called the ‘half-life of knowledge’ in his 2006 book Knowing Knowledge. Another reason was that the financial aspect of the book was to motivate me to continue working on it: writing for an already-established audience is a great motivator!
I’ve been delighted that my ebook has been used as a core text in colleges and universities worldwide, including (quite awesomely) the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. University libraries have also ‘stocked’ it, making use of Creative Commons license I released it under.
So, what’s next? I haven’t really decided, really. I was planning to write a book including classroom activities for improving digital literacies but, for whatever reason, my heart wasn’t really in it. I’m still keen on doing work in the new literacies space, but am thinking of what kind of format would help people most. Perhaps a drip-feed email series? A series of webinars? A course? I don’t know. If you’ve got ideas, please do let me know.
All that remains is to thank those (hundreds) of people who believed in me enough to invest in the book before it reached v1.0, for those (500+) people who have bought it since, and for those who have given me feedback since it was published. If you’ve got comments / suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
If you’d like to use the ebook with your students, you might find the accompanying wiki helpful. It includes the hi-res diagrams I used, as well as space to be able to critique the contents with your students. For a great recent example of this in a Masters-level setting, check out this page on the wiki!
I’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 v0.99! The text is 99% complete, with only a small appendix to write. I also need to work on some design elements.
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!)
You can invest in v0.99 and then get the update to v1.0 by clicking below:
v1.0 is coming on June 27th!
What’s included in this version?
Chapter 1: Introduction
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
I’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. 🙂
You can invest in v0.9 and then get the update to v1.0 by clicking below:
What’s included in this version?
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
100 people. One hundred people. Every one of them has parted with money on the promise that by the end of the year I’ll deliver an e-book to them about digital literacies.
They’ve bought in to v0.1 which consists of little more than an explanation of the project. It’s all part of the OpenBeta publishing model explained here.
What are ‘digital literacies’? Why are they important? How can I develop them both personally and in other people? These are some of the questions that ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies by Doug Belshaw seeks to address.
I’m going to be working on finishing v0.2 over Easter weekend. So if you were thinking of buying into it, better be quick before the price doubles!
Since completing my doctoral thesis on digital and new literacies, I’ve been thinking a lot about how educators can use my work in a practical way.
In Chapter 9 of my thesis I come up with eight ‘essential elements’ of digital literacies, abstracted from the literature. I’ve presented these in various forms, my most popular slidedeck being available here.
After seeing me present on these essential elements, people tend to ask me one or both of the following questions:
Which is the most important element to focus upon?
How can I develop these in practice?
I’m helping with the second question through my iterative e-book, The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies, which I’ve just started (and you can buy into). The first question, however, about relative importance and focus has been bugging me.
On the one hand, I want to say that all of the elements are equally important – but that the relative priority that should be given to each will depend upon context. That’s true, but it feels like a bit of a cop-out.
So, after spending some time visualising Mozilla’s first attempts at defining web literacy, I think I’ve hit upon an organising concept: the remix.
Literacy is all about reading and writing. If we take ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ metaphorically (as we must when moving into the digital realm) then these become, loosely, understanding and processing and creating and applying.
This sounds a lot to me like remixing.
I’m going to be thinking about this further. It will form a central theme to my e-book, and I’ll be using it as an organising concept for my TEDx Warwick talk in March. 🙂
Hot on the heels of my Ed.D. thesis submission, the presentation below (click through if you don’t see it!) will hopefully be of help some of those looking to grapple with developing digital literacies in their institution or organization.