Chapter 2 Reflection – Collections 2

Reflection of “Chapter 2: What’s the problem” of Doug Belshaw’s The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies.

Excerpts and Reflections

Instead, literacy should be considered on a spectrum — as individuals being ‘more literate’ or ‘less literate’ than others.”

Although it may seem odd, I had never thought about literacy as being on a spectrum before reading this statement. I remember taking standardized reading/writing test while I was in school, and obviously the scores are on a spectrum, but the thing that stood out the most on the score sheets was that dotted line that separated proficient and not proficient. In a way, the scores were always presented as a dichotomy. Looking at it on a spectrum makes much more sense.

“Before books went digital, they were created either by using a pen or by using a printing press. These tools are technologies. Literacy, therefore, is inextricably linked with technology even before we get to ‘digital’ literacies.”

“Literacy is very closely aligned with the knowledge and use of tools.”

Again, these are concepts that I had never thought of. When I thought of literacy before reading this chapter, I only thought about being able to read words and get meaning from them and writing words to give meaning.

Given unfamiliar technology (such as a computer with word processing software), an individual that was able to express themselves with pen and paper could appear illiterate if only the final product was considered because they didn’t know how to use the tools to show their literacy. In my experience teaching, I have seen students struggle with how to format data into a spreadsheet, even though they knew what the data was—they were just unfamiliar with how to organize it and input it. Because they didn’t know how to use the technology, they were not able to effectively communicate their ideas. They had what Belshaw refers to as content knowledge, they just lacked tool knowledge.

It is a simple thought—that technology is linked to literacy—but it is one that I had never thought of. Now that I think about it more, incorporating word processing software and data processing software into the classroom seems even more important since we use these means to communicate so often.

“if no-one sentient ever reads what you have written, does it count as being the product of literacy? Do you count as your own audience — as with, for example, a daily journal?”

 Earlier in the chapter, Belshaw related literacy to the ability to share ideas and transfer knowledge to another sentient being. To me, this is a very interesting idea. If we think of a daily journal—one that only the writer reads—it could be argued that the audience is the writer’s future self. As we grow older, our ideas and thoughts change, and some memories are forgotten. In a sense, we become another person. If you think about it that way, I believe even writing that isn’t shared with anyone else is still a form of literacy. Another interesting aspect of this is that some individuals practice literacy by other means, such as Braille. Also, some individuals communicate with animals, and animals communicate to humans through a variety of means, such as ringing a bell a certain number of times—essentially using a tool to communicate an idea. Does this count as literacy? This chapter is openly saying that there are other forms of literacy (such as visual literacy) that don’t rely on traditional reading and writing. So, potentially, the animals using tools to communicate with humans (sentient beings) could be considered literate. I know I kind of got a little out there with this one, but I thought I’d share my thoughts.

“We use tools for the purpose of communicating with one another. This requires both tool-knowledge and content-knowledge. Crucially, both of these aspects of knowledge are in flux in the 21st century meaning that, “Tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.”5

I think this says a lot about how fast our technology is advancing. Saying that being literate in the new world requires you to know how to learn leads me to believe that within a lifetime, an individual will need to learn multiple forms of communication and become proficient in the various forms. If this is true, today’s youth will need to be immersed in a variety of literacy methods while in school. I say immersed because a one-time exposure doesn’t really teach an individual much. Only after repeated exposure do you become proficient. If you are to master a form of literacy well enough to use it as a stepping stone for when you encounter an unfamiliar form of communication, you must use that form of communication quite often.

Additional Resources

Chapter 1 Reflection – Collections 2

Reflection of “Chapter 1: Introduction” of Doug Belshaw’s The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies.

Excerpts and Reflections

Whatever you’re looking to do, my aim is for this book to leave you asking the right questions.”

When I read this quote, it gave me the impression that this book would introduce and define various terminologies. You only ask the right questions when you are fairly well-versed in a topic. Therefore, when I read this, I thought that the book would introduce and teach the basics of digital literacy, which would be helpful because there seems to be many definitions and elements of digital literacy. It would be nice if the author would define the term as he is using it so the reader and author can be on the same page throughout the book. If he doesn’t define it in the next few chapters, I will be referring to the links at the end of the reflection for my definitions of digital literacy.

“We’ll look at literacy as a social phenomenon as well as what happens when you add a modifier like ‘digital’ in front of ‘literacy’.

Similar to the last excerpt, this quote led me to believe that this book will discuss terminology that I am still a little confused by. I have seen many terms that start with the word digital since I began this class, but I am still a bit confused about what it is referring to; is it referring to technology use, online use, both—is it situational? Hopefully the following chapters will help clear this up.

Other Thoughts

There wasn’t a particular excerpt to choose that would demonstrate the writing style that the author seems to have, but I felt his writing style (as seen in the first three pages) deserves to be mentioned. Personally, I am use to reading technical writing. Many novels or creative writings are difficult for me to follow and pick out the meaning from. This author seems to embellish his writing with metaphors and descriptive terms—many readers like this, but I do not. All of the added fluff makes it difficult for me to pick out the meaning and stay on track. I am hoping the writing style changes as I read the next chapters. If it doesn’t, it might be difficult to derive the meanings of the concepts and terms that this text should be introducing.

Additional Resources

Search and Research – Collections II

Digital Access —An element of digital citizenship

Communication drives many faucets of life, including who we vote into office and what brands we buy. As technology advances and becomes cheaper, more of the world is able to communicate, leading to new ideas and products being shared like never before.

In early 2015, the International Telecommunication Union predicted that around half of the world’s population would be internet users by the end of 2015 —compared to 2014 when roughly 40% of the world’s population used the internet. That’s a 10% increase in one year. It’s important to note that the internet isn’t the only way that people communicate. The number of people owning mobile phones has risen throughout the years, with 7.194 billion mobile subscriptions existing throughout the world in 2015.

Despite the increase in device ownership and internet usage, the wealthiest and most developed countries are gaining internet access and connectedness faster than lesser developed countries—with 90% of the population still being offline in the world’s poorest 48 countries.

One issue that I came across while trying to find data on how many individuals throughout the world use the internet was that for some studies (and I’m not sure how many in total), Pew Research Center automatically classified smartphone owners as internet users. I feel like this assumption could produce data that is misleading because smartphones can be owned and used without access to the internet. Also, even though a predicted 69% of the earth’s population was covered by 3G in 2015, it doesn’t mean that all individuals will be able to afford monthly telephone and internet plans. Additionally, despite the high number of mobile phone subscriptions throughout the world, it doesn’t mean that it is evenly distributed; some individuals have multiple subscriptions. These elements make it hard to truly determine how many individuals have access to the internet and mobile phones.

Right now, I have very limited internet usage, which  made it hard to find more in-depth studies on internet usage. If you have any interesting links to sites or data that talk about internet usage and mobile phone usage throughout the world, feel free to leave a comment with the link and I’ll check it out. 🙂

References and Further Readings


Think About Your Thinking II – Collections II

The work out loud assignment was different than any other assignment I had ever done. I knew I had to have a general outline for what to say, but I didn’t want to script it totally because I know I tend to goof things up if it is scripted. So, I made an outline first. I tried filming a few scenes, but I found myself staring at myself on the screen instead of looking at the camera. So, I covered the screen with my outline of things to say—allowing me to be a little less distracted by myself on screen.

Editing the scenes was fine. I had no trouble there. The only trouble that I encountered was that after I had completely finished my video, I realized my computer volume was all the way up. I had spoken fairly loud while filming because I knew my computer usually doesn’t pick up sound well, but I didn’t realize that it was as quiet as it turned out to be. I finally remembered that Photo Booth usually doesn’t pick up sound all that well. If you are a student reading this and are thinking about doing this assignment, learn from my mistakes: check your computer volume and make sure to look at the camera.

I think you had us do this assignment so we could break the norm—which is to only show perfected work. It’s also a pretty common type of video found on the internet. Many people show works in progress and how they got to where they are now. It’s a way of showing and sharing ideas.

Think About Your Thinking I – Collections II

After I finished reading Doug Belsaw’s The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies, it became clear why you required me to read it. This whole class is based around digital literacy, and this book explained digital literacy differently than any other source I have come across. This book explained that it is a term that can be applied to a wide variety of literacies and that it is up to the author to define/describe their usage of it. After finishing the book, I still found myself wondering what some of the possible descriptions of digital literacy are. I wish Belsaw had given some specific examples so I can use them as a stepping stone for my future encounters with articles talking about digital literacy.

If I were to give a future student advice on this assignment, I would say take it one chapter at a time (no matter how hard it is not to read ahead). I started my chapter reflections by taking it one chapter at a time, but towards the end, I ended up reading three chapters in a row and then writing my thoughts. I feel like taking it one chapter at a time allowed me to process my thoughts before they were influenced by the author. By reading ahead, the author answers some of the questions that you have, making it harder to do except reflections.

Make and Share II – Collections II

I was originally going to do this assignment as two separate videos. However, after seeing how slow the upload speed was for my current internet connection, I thought finding a different format would be a better idea. So, I created two collages that illustrate the things that I like about being in field camp and the things that I miss while I’m in field camp.

For the likes, I included seeing wildlife, having some fresh food, and experiencing pretty scenery. Of course, there’s more things that I like about being out in field camp, such as experiencing the outdoors as much as possible and all the fun memories that are created. For the things I miss, I included my family members, wifi, and phone service. Typically, I wouldn’t really miss wifi and phone service. However, when I have responsibilities over the summer, life becomes easier when I have regular access to the internet and a phone. Mostly, I miss my family members and doing fun activities with them.

To make the collages, I used PhotoScape X (free version). I downloaded the program from the app store because I wanted to find something cheap that I could edit photos with, and it had pretty good reviews. I gathered pictures I have taken or created. Then, I just used PhotoScape X to compile the pictures and add the text.


Make and Share I – Collections II

I’ve been looking for a decent photo editor that wouldn’t cost too much. So, I recently found and downloaded PhotoScape X (the free version) to play around with. One of the effects that the free version comes with is called Stained Glass. If the radius is put all the way up, this cool mosaic-type image forms.

I’ve been looking for something like this recently because I thought it would be cool to ‘mosaic’ a photo that has importance to me and then use the edited picture as a guide for me to paint the image. That way, I would have a graphic painting that would have a secret meaning to me. I know it probably sounds silly, but it’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while.

Another effect is called Paint Brush. You can alter the size, shape, and direction of the strokes. If I ever find the time to paint, and the mosaic painting goes well, I thought it might be cool to try to recreate something that looks like the image below.

Work Out Loud – Collections II

17-18 Biology Unit Outlines

I filmed the scenes of this video in Photo Booth and edited it in iMovie. If I were to redo this video, I would film the scenes in QuickTime. For some reason, QuickTime seems to pick up audio better than Photo Booth. I know I could always use an exterior microphone, but because of my situation, that just wasn’t possible. This is the first video of myself that I’ve ever done and posted online, and it was a learning experience for sure. I had to really tell myself to look at the camera instead of the screen, and I had to speak louder than I’m used to because of the poor sound pick up.

In this video, I talk about the process I used to outline a year of biology. The ‘pretty, typed up’ outline that I refer to in my video is attached. I’m not yet finished planning the year of biology, but I feel like I have a solid outline and will continue to work on and refine my plan. If you have any ideas for making my planning process potentially better or any cool ideas for labs or activities, please leave a comment below. J I briefly mentioned it in the video, but I will be teaching a variety of science classes such as physics, chemistry, biology, and STEM. So, suggestions are open for all science subjects.

Components of the Video:
The Basics: the students, the book, and the calendar.
After the Basics: standards binder, hand writing an outline, typing the outline, organizing resources on my computer.

Exploring Digital Citizenship – Collections II

When I first searched Google for “digital citizenship models,” I quickly found out that my idea of what digital citizenship is was incorrect. After searching for a while and scanning over some journal articles and book excerpts, I decided to focus on three websites for this assignment. The first website outlines a course for professionals to take that deals with the nine main elements of digital citizenship. The second website outlines a unit on digital citizenship taught at an elementary school. The third website features an entire digital citizenship curriculum for grades K-12.

I chose the first website because I believe it outlined the nine elements of digital citizenship very clearly. It also is a very good resource for potential professional development courses within the teaching profession (and most professions for that matter). I chose the second and third website because they provided ideas for teaching digital citizenship to children in grades K-12. I’m assuming (and I may be wrong) that many of the students in this class are educators. Therefore, I thought these resources would be most useful and have practical applications.

The first and second website cover the same nine elements of digital citizenship. Both websites describe these nine elements as digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and digital security. The first website gives detailed descriptions of what each of these terms mean, whereas the second website provides short descriptions of each and links to external websites for further exploration of terms and ideas. The second website also has many images with easy to remember sayings—allowing students to remember and practice the application of these nine elements. Some of my favorites can be seen below. It is clear to see that the first website is catered towards an adult population and the second website is catered towards a primarily level population.

In contrast, the third website focuses on applying digital citizenship. The curriculum outlined by the third website focuses less on defining the elements of digital citizenship and instead focuses on how students would use the various elements. The curriculum focuses on eight main elements: privacy and security, digital footprint and reputation, self-image and identity, creative credit and copyright, relationships and communication, and information literacy. Although none of the elements are identical in name to the previous two resources, there is a fair amount of overlap between the curriculum and the previous to sites. After reading a description of each element, it becomes clear that (using the previous two websites’ terms) the curriculum covers aspects of digital security, digital etiquette, digital health and wellness, and digital law. However, unlike the previous two resources, the curriculum does not put emphasis on digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, or digital rights and responsibilities. Instead, the curriculum includes information literacy—something that the previous two sites did not include. I summary of the concepts covered in each resource, and how they compare/contrast can be seen below in my Make and Share for this assignment.

I believe including information literacy is very important because people are exposed to such a wide variety of information online, and a fair amount of it is not reliable or accurate. Being able to determine which information is reliable and which is not is a vital skill in today’s world. It is imperative that people understand how to research a topic and obtain reliable information. I believe the adult training website and the primary grade school unit could have been improved by including information literacy. Similarly, I believe the curriculum could have been improved by adding digital commerce to the curriculum. Today, so many transactions are online. In the future, I could see even more transactions occurring on the web. Being able to recognize safe vs unsafe in terms of transactions could greatly benefit the next generation (and the current).

I believe teaching these the nine elements of digital citizenship is very important because we utilize online resources for many things throughout the day. Being able to safely and effectively navigate through and utilize online resources is a must.

Today, I feel like there’s a pervading idea that today’s youth are tech savvy. We see them constantly using their smartphone and assume they must know how to use technology and online resources. From my experience, this is not the case at all. If you think about it, the majority of smartphone use by teenagers consist of using apps like Facebook, Snapchat, or various gaming apps. These apps are simple and easy to use. They are designed for the mass public to be able to pick them up and use them with little to no training. When these same kids that are pros at Snapchat are put in front of a computer and asked to write up a simple document, many are lost. When you ask them to find information online, many have no idea where to start or what to read—many just click on the first link that pops up and use that information.

As educators, I believe we should integrate elements of digital citizenship into our classes because many students will not get exposure to these elements anywhere else. I was lucky enough to be raised with computers. I remember in 1st grade, we had “computer free time” if we were finished with our work early. The computers weren’t as sleek as they are now; they were box-shaped and used dial-up. I also had access to a computer at home from an early age, and as new models came out, I was gradually exposed to them. Many kids nowadays are not so lucky. Many have never had a computer at home because the household only uses smartphones. Therefore, integrating technology use and digital and information literacy into the classroom would greatly benefit the future generations.

Who to Follow – Collections II

Who to Follow

Turkle is a great resource for learning about how technology influences our mental health and relationships with others. Turkle would be a great resource for exploring the Digital Health and Wellness element of digital citizenship.

I put my “Who to Follow” assignment in PDF format because my access to the internet has become even more limited, and when I have access, I need to focus on obtaining material, instead of formatting it correctly in a blog post. I hope the PDF format is acceptable. If it is not, please let me know so I can put it directly into a blog post.