Defining Digital literacies focus group at LCF

The 3rd UAL Defining Digital literacies focus group took place at LCF on 5/6/13 DIAL were invited to deliver this as part of their Digital Champions Meeting. An open discussion took place and it was agreed that the group should openly exchange ideas by emailing them to Chris or posting them on the DIAL sites either the DIAL blog or clustering related content together on process.arts by tagging content related post with Digital literacies in the arts. A process.arts group could be created at any stage.

LCF and CSM are interested in a university wide debate/knowledge exchange on Defining of Digital literacies. LCF are in the process of starting some DL mapping frameworks, We are looking to collaborate on this with LCF and other colleges and to also look at the work being produced across the JISC DL programme to see if there are any DL frameworks we could adapt, some projects have focused their whole projects on creating frameworks, this was not DIAL’s approach .

The focus groups

To support a wider understanding of DLs at UAL DIAL have begun a wider UAL debate to help define UALs institutional understanding of terms associated with Digital Literacies in all aspects creative practice; including media literacies, information literacies, digital practice, digital citizenship, online identities, digital/social/cultural competencies, participatory culture, digital attributes, open practice, digital fluency etc.

DIAL have taken an agile approach to ‘Understanding digital literacies at UAL‘, we see it as a complex issue and would like to encourage as many UAL stakeholders to help ‘probe’ and make sense of DLs through this agile iterative process. We aim to collectively respond and analyse the finding as we go and work towards publishing a draft ‘institutional’ evidence base of UAL glossary of DL terms by Dec 2013.

Six college DLs

DIAL have established different relationships with different colleges all at varying degrees of integration; it takes time to embed and develop projects like DIAL, we’ve found the longer DIAL continues, the more meaningful engagement we establish. DIAL events at LCF have been very successful, booking spaces in open access areas has been easy and the staff very accommodating and projects with courses also very successful. LCF has its own learning technologist department no other college has this kind of facility and support, LCF also has plenty of fantastic digital innovators like Mark WellsOliver Furlong and Gabriela Daniels who have been involved in DIAL for some time, there are many more we have met and hope to work with in the future. The Video presentation skills were also carried out successfully at LCF and more planning in the next few weeks.

LCF also have Gavin Jenkins, Head of technical Support, who is pro-actively addressing digital literacies following a college decision to support and fund digital support and exploration, similar to CSM but with a different approach. With this funding Gavin has established a fantastic team of college digital champions, Gavin and I have met previously and have discussed digital competence framework initiatives at LCF and I was recently invited to hold a Defining of ‘Digital literacies at UAL’ focus group meeting with his team of digital champions, this was extremely positive and productive meeting and we have many exiting opportunities and ideas about how to work together on developing our combined interests.

For CSM digital literacy activities are a college priority (Jo’s role ‘Digital Projects Director’ is unique to CSM this role does not exist in other UAL colleges). The CSM digital present blog and a number of other activities, including learning studios (not exclusive to CSM these started at LCC, see the first here), case studies are the work of CSMs Jo Morrison, ‘Digital Projects Director ‘As part of her role she explores ways in which digital technologies might enhance, and potentially transform, the experience of learning and teaching within an arts and design setting. ‘

UALs other four UAL colleges LCC, WCA, CCA and CCAD have no Digital Projects Director, or learning technologist or digital champions although they do have many digital innovators which DIAL have worked with. Including Paul Lowe at LCC indicator of the learning studio, David Sims at LCC and Grzesiek Sedek (lead developer) Michele Durante (UAL student developer) part of the drupal UAL project team. The technical manager at LCC Jackson Jessop has also achieved great things with integrating digital technology innovation at LCC.

There is a lot more going on out there across all UAL colleges I’m sure, so it would be great to start to build a clearer picture of the all the UAL staff and students involved in DL innovation.

This became apparent for DIAL on two occasions, finding college support for projects like drupal UAL we found was difficult, like LCF, Jackson managed to accommodate us in his newly built ‘digital space’ without a problem, supplying a sectioned off space, computers to use and even printed posters (the digital space (this is different from the learning zones) are hard to book/find at UAL, especially if your an ‘outsider’ project). Organisational Development and Learning are working in partnership with DIAL to address on site DL training.

More about exploring DLs at UAL

Digital Literacies: There are many different levels and types of DL, these can be interest, discipline, subject, social, cultural, process and practice etc. specific. DIAL are currently producing a ‘Glossary of terms and acronyms for digital literacies at ual’.

Digital Literacies: arts practice (general top level working definition)

Self-identified digital skills and attributes needed to support personal and professional digital practice, ranging from awareness and participation, application of good practice through to participation in emergent and innovative digital practices.

Focus Group Aims: To set up and establish a ‘UAL wide’ focus group around ‘Understanding digital literacies at UAL‘. The group will debate and draw up collective ideas about how best to map digital literacies across UAL as a whole with an aim of understanding how UAL communicate art & design specific digital literacy definitions and competencies.

Focus Group Objective: As part of the process we hope to debate and define UALs institutional understanding of terms associated with ‘Digital literacies’ within all aspects creative practice, working towards publishing a list of ‘Digital attributes for employability’ and an ‘institutional’ evidence base of UAL DLs as a glossary of terms by Dec 2013.

Emerging questions for the discussion group (open to all staff and students) are: Understanding digital literacies ‘Definitions and competencies’ at UAL

What do ‘digital literacies’ mean to you?

What do ‘digital competencies’ mean to you?

Are they one and the same thing or different?

How are digital competencies different from digital literacies?

Should UAL map Digital literacies and competencies and why or why not?

What are the benefits and challenges of understanding and mapping digital literacies and competencies at UAL?

How do we map and define Digital literacies and competencies, by individual, course, subject area, college, UAL and sector?

The relationship to the eLearning approach (& tools) and real world approaches will be identified in the report, as this has been an issue in the project.

See notes from previous meetings – Digital literacies definitions focus groups.

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