Masters of Education INF530 – Blog Task 2: Connected Learning and Digital Literacy in Education

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Connected learning in an education context is becoming an important consideration for all educators working with the digital native generation. We are now responsible to plan, prepare and cater for young learners who have grown up in a digital world that continues to rapidly change. Technology continues to grow and develop and this has direct effect on learning based on what is available to users.

These continued developments challenge the way we think, connect and share using the internet.  Connectedness suggests a relationship between a person and the Internet not captured or described adequately by traditional use measures—particularly measures based on time, such as hours of use per week (Jung, Qiu, & Kim, 2001) instead it is though that internet connectedness can be defined as a ‘multidimensional conceptualisation of the importance of the Internet in a person’s everyday life.’ (Loges & Jung, 2001)

Through learning and using the internet to discover and learn about topics that are of interest to the individual, users are engaged in their learning and connect to topic content on several levels. Loges and Jung (2001) explain that that connectedness is composed of three dimensions: (a) history and context, (b) scope and intensity, and (c) centrality in one’s life.

Western Sydney University (2018) defines Digital literacy as having the skills you need to live, learn, and work in a society where communication and access to information is increasingly through digital technologies like internet platforms, social media, and mobile devices. It is important for today’s educators to provide young learners with the tools to navigate and work in a digitally literate environment, however a question I pose is:

How does an educator who has been teaching and working in a non-digital world teach digital native students to be skilled and prepared for a world that they have little or no knowledge of?

This is a real concern for many highly effective traditional teachers currently working in our classrooms and through personal experiences in the workplace, teachers often express that they are having trouble keeping up with the ‘new technology things’ and that students know a lot more than they do in the area of digital connectedness and literacies.

It is one thing to own a computer that is connected to the internet and yet it is another to use it to communicate, collaborate and engage with others online. Many studies investigate the digital divide between senior citizens who are born from a non-digital background to digital natives who will live work and grow online. Studies by Cody et al. (1999) and White et al. (1999) suggest that ‘providing training to the existing generation of seniors may increase their willingness to use the Internet, and that increases in seniors’ well-being can result from activity online.’

While online collaboration and connectedness races ahead for young learners, it is also important not to forget older citizens (both in and out of the workforce). Support and training will assist to reduce workplace stress for teachers and provide them with skills to teach young students to become connected and literate digital citizens.

“I had (and still have) a dream that the Web could be less of a television channel and more of an interactive sea of shared knowledge”  Tim Berners-Lee

Word Count – 511 Words


References – 

  • Digital Connectedness using social media for conferencing (accessed March 2018)
  • Imagining the Internet – a history and forecast
  • Jung, J.-Y., Qiu, J. L., & Kim, Y.-C. (2001). Internet connectedness and inequality: Beyond the “divide”. Communication research, 28(4), 507-535.
  • Loges, W. E., & Jung, J.-Y. (2001). Exploring the digital divide: Internet connectedness and age. Communication research, 28(4), 536-562.
  • White, H., McConnell, E., Clipp, E., Bynum, L., Teague, C., Navas, L., Craven, S., & Halbrecht, H. (1999). Surfing the Net in later life: A review of the literature and pilot study of computer use and quality of life. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 18(3), 358-378

4 thoughts on “Masters of Education INF530 – Blog Task 2: Connected Learning and Digital Literacy in Education

  1. Julie Lindsay

    Yoong, some valuable thoughts and references shared around digital literacy and connected learning. Make sure you refer to each resources – I am not sure of the point of the Sue Beckingham slides? Be careful about assuming younger people are more digitally literate than older people – this is often a fallacy. Good use of contextual hyperlinks. A good effort.

    1. yoongy_28 Post author

      Hi Julie, thanks for your feedback. It is a generalisation of mine, I guess that younger people are more computer literate than the older generation. This is something that is definitely evident when I simply look at the scope in abilities of our staff, irrespective of age, gender or background. It is something that I continue to work on with my readings and studies…the ability to not generalise, rather to look at both sides of the coin.

  2. sam.beattie

    Great post/s Yoong Chin. I really enjoyed reading all your blog posts and I feel that you and I (and many others I know) are in the same professional predicament in regards to school leadership and challenging ourselves and colleagues to build digital literacy capabilities.
    For new teachers, it is a huge undertaking to be integrating connected learning principles through digital technology concepts whilst also learning how to be a teacher. For experienced teachers, I find some are reluctant to build their capabilities in digital technologies because, in their opinion (which may be right), digital technology in education has no real impact on school ‘core business’ as learning. To this I reply with this quote from Future Lab (2010), “digital literacy is the ‘savvyness’ that allows young people to participate meaningfully and safely as digital technology becomes ever more pervasive in society.” I like the term ‘savvyness’. I also really like Starkey’s (2011) ideas that effective use of digital technologies aligns with effective teaching practices and teaching practice is based on a teacher’s beliefs about the nature of learning, teaching and knowledge.
    Many experienced teachers I have worked with in their own opinion seem to lack the skills needed to be effective teachers using digital technology. As you discussed in your blog, training for these teachers is needed, however in a time poor vocation, and working within professional learning budgets and the other gamut of teacher disruptions, much of this professional learning needs to done in their own time which many educators just do not have. Another INF530 student recently sent me an article by Luckin et. al (2012). The article for me made clear many new ways to support teachers and students to build their digital knowledge whilst also staying true to school ‘core business.’ The article outlines the ‘proof, promise and potential of Digital Education’ (Luckin et al, 2012).
    I think the first step is to help all teachers understand and accept the world we are teaching in. Technology innovation has far surpassed the traditional notion of innovative schooling and we are playing catch up.
    I recommend reading David Price’s ‘Open’ (2013). Although written 5 years ago and we have seen many technological advances since then, Price describes in detail the potential future of education and how education has moved and is moving toward to the future.

    Reference List

    Hague, C. and Payton, S. (2010). Digital Literacy Across the Curriculum (Futurelab Handbook). Bristol: Futurelab

    Luckin, R., Bligh, B., Manches, A., Ainsworth, S., Crook, C. & Noss, R. (2012) Decoding Learning: The Proof, Promise and Potential of Digital Education. Nesta. Retrieved from

    Price, D (2013) Open. Great Britain. Crux Publishing. In text citation, Price (2013)

    Starkey, L (2011) Evaluating learning in the 21st century: a digital age learning matrix, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20:1, 19-39, DOI: 10.1080/1475939X.2011.554021

  3. Sam

    Hi Yoong,

    Thanks for your comment on my blog and for letting me know about this article. It is good to know that other people are on the same journey as me!

    As you say, ensuring there is digital inclusion will be very important. I saw a really interesting talk recently by the Goodthings Foundation (I blogged about it here – If we do not bridge the “digital divide” you talk of, then our society and our teaching will be poorer as a result.

    Great blog!


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