I post about what I have learned in the course Open Networked Learning ONL192.
& 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, Academia.edu 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?