Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Activity 24 Considering open learner literacies #h817open

The list of literacies provided by Jenkins et al in their occasional paper on digital media and learning is duplicated here. I have marked in bold those literacies I feel are particularly appropriate to open online learning, although it seems obvious all literacies in the list are beneficial at one level or another.


  1. Play – the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem solving
  2. Performance – the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery
  3. Simulation – the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes
  4. Appropriation – the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content
  5. Multitasking – the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details
  6. Distributed cognition – the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities
  7. Collective intelligence – the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal
  8. Judgement – the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
  9. Transmedia navigation – the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities
  10. Networking – the ability to search for, synthesise and disseminate information
  11. Negotiation – the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.
I note that in previous posts in this series I have referred to Judgement as significance and Collective Intelligence as curation, but the intent of my terms exactly aligns with Jenkins et al. In my post for activity 22 I addressed at length the need for PINC tools and literacy to support collective intelligence. Judgement is much more difficult and complex. Advanced search skills allow sophisticated discovery of resources, but determining reliability and credibility is highly specific to the unit of study being undertaken. Obviously the skill and experience of instructors plays a major role but they must be able to codify these measures that I collectively call significance. A set of rules and guidelines must be produced that students can follow to produce consistently a degree of judgement to be relied upon.

Appropriation has a degree of overlap with transmedia navigation in my view as following story flow gives the necessary context to the media content being appropriated. Significant media literacies are needed to take an assumed finished product, itself the result of potentially many hours of production, and make meaningful changes so as to reuse the product in a new context. Skills might include rewriting, diagramming and charting, image manipulation and animation, and audio and video editing. It is no wonder that media courses for these skills are in high demand. It is also not strange that a typical university teacher lacks this valuable combination of skills.

Distributed cognition requires the use of outliners, mind maps and other topic association tools. Even if the tools are well designed and straightforward to use a significant trail of experience is needed to extract benefit from these tools. If lecture notes and academic journal papers are any indication then much more experience is needed.

I would think that networking skills are best acquired by judicious use of a variety of social networks used with a degree of focus. Careful selection of 'friends' depending on your perceived quality of their information flow must be acquired over time. This same strategy can be employed on the ubiquitous forums that are usually present for all MOOCs.

Negotiation defined here as the ability to cross disciplines and appreciate different perspectives is a necessary and underrated literacy. Little attempt at teaching this in the walled gardens of university disciplines means there is a definite niche for open education to fill.

This activity has caused me to think and reflect as much as any previous activity in this course. My thanks go the instructor for setting this task.

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. and Weigel, M. (2009) Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, Chicago, IL, The MacArthur Foundation. Also available online at http://digitallearning.macfound.org/ atf/cf/ %7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDFExternal link  (accessed 15 November 2012).