Blog 1: Topic 1

I post about what I have learned in the course Open Networked Learning ONL192.

Online participation

& digital literacies

The way we should develop digital literacies is more progressive than sequential.

— Doug Belshaw.

In the past ten years, I have worked at five different universities in Finland and Sweden. During my past four years in Sweden, I have worked at three universities and lived in four apartments. It is my Swedish experience above all that has taught me flexibility and that has taught me that even middle-aged people can become more flexible than they used to be. It has also taught me about prioritizing and creative problem solution.

These experiences agree well with what Doug Belshaw talks about in his TED talk on the essential elements of digital literacies. He recommends that we should not consider digital learning in terms of linear learning where we first learn one thing and then a second thing that is based on the first one, and so on. Instead, we should think that we can first learn to use a tool a little and then, in the course of time, deepen our understanding of it, meaning that we might use a tool even before we feel that we fully understand it. We should trust the use of the tool to teach us how the tool works, in due course. Lastly, we do not need to learn all tools but can focus on ones that interest us or serve our interests.

I think that linear learning allows us a sense of security because we can control that we have learned one thing before we proceed to the next one. We feel that we know what we have achieved and where we are going. I used to love this kind of learning, but the past few years have taught me that I do not need to have full control. For example, if I need to teach several new courses in a term, I can focus on the main things that I need to teach during each course. If I then teach the course another time, I can and will deepen my understanding of it.

Of course as a university lecturer of English I can rely on my previous experience if I start to teach a new course. However, I think that most of us also have previous experience of digital tools because almost every colleague uses at least one tool, be it Facebook, LinkedIn, or WhatsApp. Almost everyone can also google, let alone understands how to click on windows on a computer screen. That is a good start. Come to think of it, some of us must be better than others even in searching for data by googling, but we do not tend to compare and get discouraged.

To conclude, when I have tried new things with computers I have also learned that people who provide IT support seldom master all aspects of the programs themselves. One can provide me with some information, and another can perhaps add to that. Yet they earn their salary by giving such advice. Why then, could not we trust ourselves to venture to use new programs even if we first take toddler steps?

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

6 reaktioner till “Blog 1: Topic 1

  1. Moi Heli!
    I had to comment on your post about Online participation & digital literacies as I think you have hit the nail right on the head! Especially where you commented that ”we do not need to learn all tools but can focus on ones that interest us or serve our interests”. I think that as we live through this rapid change of online tools and learning environments, the pressure can come that we need to ‘know it all’ and be adept at all, instead of claming ourselves and others down with the recognition that I will never know or de adept at using all, but my digital identity and litercay is also in flux.

    Thanks for an interesting read!

    Anya S. PBL 11 ‘The Eleveners’

    Gillad av 1 person

  2. I totally agree on the reasoning that the tool can teach us how to use the tool. I usually find the best way to learn a new tool is by simply using it on a real task. Not go through some tedious tutorial or manual. Learning by doing. Just remember to save your work every now and then (learnt that the hard way). Of course, it’s slow in the beginning and you will make mistakes, but overall you will probably be familiar to the tool a lot faster.

    Gillad av 1 person

  3. Hi Heli,

    What an interesting reflection. I think we have been linear and now something else is emerging. At the same time we have very linear education system, from kindergarten to higher education and even with programs at higher ed. What do you think of that? Is this a problem? And will this change?…

    Gillad av 1 person

    1. Thank you for the question! My initial reaction is that some learning will probably need to be linear and sequential also in the future. It is just that more flexibility is needed if we want to function wisely and efficiently.


  4. Hi Heli,
    I agree with your reflection. Same with me, I don´t need total control about a digital tool, I have to handle it in a good way. The more we work with it, the more we understand it in detail and then we can start ”playing” with it. I try to do this with many tools and I hope at the end I have a digital toolbox that allows me to switch between different tools as I need it in the current situation with students.


  5. Hi Heli. I feel like you are talking about me. through life’s experiences I too have become flexible in how I manage my life. I tend to adapt to change easily without much fuss and bother. This character trait augurs well in the transition and acceptance of and into the world of digital literacies. form this course I have used so many different tools but cannot say have mastered any yet.

    Gillad av 1 person


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