[Air-l] Request on studies about digital literacy andtelecenters

Heidelberg, Chris Chris.Heidelberg at ssa.gov
Fri Feb 9 14:23:15 PST 2007

My research concentration for my dissertation is "Edutainment &
Convergence: How can entertainment techniques and technology can be
utilized in higher education." I can probably help you based on my
literature review. I am defending within the next four weeks. Email me
off line and we can talk. 

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Dr. T. Michael
Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 4:24 PM
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: Re: [Air-l] Request on studies about digital literacy

I teach writing on WebCT to a population of mostly at-risk
African-American and Latino students community college students. Many of
them speak and write English as a second language. Many of them feel
that they are not good in school and would rather not be in school but
also feel that, without more education, they will be forever stuck in
dead-in jobs making less than they need to live in comfort. 

I have them collaborate heavily in the online forums.
I tell them that, in an ideal world, I would have five students per
class and would walk each of them individually through the composition
process from initial brainstorming through first draft and revision to
the final draft. I have twenty five students per class so they have to
do much of this work as peer collaboration with my guidance. 

I talk a great deal about e-mail threads in the forums as being a hybrid
form of conversation that leave written traces behind in the form of the
individual posts as the conversation unfolds. I encourage them to
construct their essays by cutting and pasting their forum posts into a
Word document to get "stuff" that can then be shaped into something more

Students often respond in turn to my responses and the responses of
their peers to their posts in ways that further develop the themes in
those original posts. I very consciously try to work with students in
their ZPG (Zone of Proximal Development) by asking question designed to
encourage them to further articulate their own previous discourse. 

Once I model this "not-knowing" approach, others pick it up very rapidly
and learn that you do not have to give someone the answer to their
dilemma to be helpful but only witness that dilemma in an accepting way
and ask questions about the dilemma that will keep the conversation
about their lives and concerns going. 

I call this approach "writing in order to read" and talk about how a
good question can create a space horizoned by that question that is a
place for the person being questioned to fill up with an expanded
discourse still firmly rooted in his or her genuine concerns as
previously expressed. 

By brainstorming through e-mail threads which are written but like
conversation in the sense that the audience talks back, students learn
audience analysis and how to further articulate their point of view in
response to feedback from their audience. This is a much more social and
collaborative approach to writing than what most are used to and
students who started out not enjoying writing and taking my course only
because they can not graduate without it often become very active in the
forums, make "A"s to their own astonishment. I think it is the
collaborative and social aspect of this approach that appeals to these
students. Many of them are only taking distance classes because their
schedules are made so hectic by jobs and families and come into the
class a little technophobic and wary of the process. 

I do not assign specific topics but only tell them that they must
demonstrate competence in several different patterns of essay
development, for example, illustration by example and
comparison/contrast. Many of them choose to write about whatever
dilemmas and difficulties they are experiencing in their lives.
They are much more self-disclosing online than they would be live and
some seem to profit greatly from telling their stories and having these
stories witnessed by a group of peers.

I emphasize that getting the story of what is going on in your life down
in writing is a form of consciousness raising that makes it easier to
see what is going on clearly and to respond adequately. This is
especially true when seeing a pattern of behavior clearly for the first
time once it has been captured in a written description of "how thing
happen in your world" makes it possible to change that pattern of
behavior in positive ways. 

Students routinely collaborate to help one another come to see their
life situations more clearly and plan out strategies for getting from
where they are to where they would like to be. This approach lessens the
gap between school and the world where students live by making school a
place they can talk together about whatever difficulties they are having
in life.
T. Michael

--- Dani Matielo <dacamat at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear AOIRers,,
> I am a researcher from the Laboratory for Digital Inclusion and 
> Community Learning, from School of the Future, in Brazil, and I am 
> currently focusing my research on digital literacy and how online 
> competences develop among telecentre beginner users.
> I would be extremely grateful if anyone could point me to some study, 
> preferably qualitative but also quantitative, regarding this theme, or

> also some study about digital competences and low income population. I

> have read some theoretical work about it, but couldn't find yet 
> empirical data or descriptions of experiences.
> Thank you in advance for your help,
> Daniela Matielo
> --
> Dani Matielo
> dacamat at gmail.com
> dde_carvalho at uoc.edu
> dani at futuro.usp.br
> http://digitaloging.blogspot.com/
> "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to 
> live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same

> time, the ones who never yawn or say an uncommon-place thing, but 
> burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles." ~ Jack Kerouac 
> _______________________________________________
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