How is digital citizenship approached in your school or experience?
Digital literacy was only recently implemented with the year 7’s. Last year I ran a few HASS classes with the then Yr 7’s and realised that they were absolutely incapable of doing very simple tasks such as saving documents, referencing with more than URLs, uploading documents and even using MS word. I was flabbergasted. So I set up a formative assessment task with a rubric to see what the students were capable of doing and then present that information to the AP for teaching and learning. I used the general capabilities continuum, specifically the ICT and CCT components; and used the stages of the continuum as benchmarks to assess the students. The task showed me that nearly ⅔ of the year 7 students from last year were unable to do very simple tasks and were averaging at a year 4 level. Their information literacy was minimal!! The ramifications of this information were immense. How were these students going to progress through high school and complete their educational tasks sufficiently if their baseline was so low? How were they going to be active and informed citizens? How did these students get this way after being mostly at BYOD schools? And, how did we miss this?
Most of the teachers assumed a basic level of digital literacy and citizenship due to the ‘digital native’ tag. After all, these students were adept at using youtube, playing music, taking photos and using Snapchat! There are also expert at hiding their screens when teachers are nearby, and consummate at switching screens when caught out!
The upshot of my assessment of last years Yr 7s is that there is active interest in embedding ICT and the GC within the curriculum. I am in the process of re-writing the Year 7, 8 and 11 RE units of work to make sure that ICT and CCT are appropriately addressed and assessed. As there is no explicit curriculum for RE, I have free range to make it skills based and use inquiry to teach the content. The only problem I am having is with some of the teachers that are disagreeing with my approach. Luckily I have permanency and am willing to take the risk.
Has the school in which you work (or know best) developed an information literacy policy?
My school is currently in the process of implementing an information literacy policy. My colleague is writing it in collaboration with the AP of teaching and learning. The plan is to align information literacies with the general capabilities continuum and then coordinate them to the year levels. The theory is that once we have the framework we are going to use it to implement the various aspects of across the stages and curriculum.
We are using a few of ANU policies as an end point for our framework. Ideally we would like our students to be at this level by the end of year 12 so we thought if that is the goal then we can use the ‘backwards by design’ process and stage the levels backwards according to year levels. I am using the framework that my colleague is writing as a basis for my work with RE.
These are the policies we are using to structure our framework on;
How is information literacy approached in your school or experience?
Information literacy is still currently a disorganised program. Whilst some teachers implement aspects of it in their teaching and learning, there is no whole school approach to informational literacy. In addition, there is limited true inquiry within our school. Granted there are a plethora of ‘research’ assignments that bore both students and teachers. But real, true inquiry projects are missing. This is primarily due to teachers citing overcrowded curriculum and lack of time. But here in the ACT, there is such a large range of flexibility allowed with the national curriculum. There is no need for so much explicit content instruction and rigid assessment tasks. Unfortunately, there is a strong cohort of teachers that persist in repeating the same teaching and learning activities that were taught from two decades ago. The only difference is that students now present their tasks on MS Word and or a powerpoint. But by the same token, we have other teachers that inspire students to do their best within the parameters they have thrust upon them.