"Digital Futures in Teacher Education": Exploring Open Approaches towards Digital Literacy

This paper reports the findings of a project "Digital Futures in Teacher Education" (DeFT) undertaken as part of the third phase of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) UK Open Educational Resources (OER) programme. It builds on previous work (Gruszczynska and Pountney, 2012, 2013) that has addressed attempts to embed OER practice within the teacher education sector, and which has informed practice in teaching and learning in the school system involving digital literacy (Burnett and Merchant, 2011; Davies and Merchant, 2009). A framework for digital literacy is outlined, drawing heavily on socio-cultural models of digital practice (Merchant, 2011), that has the potential to re-imagine teachers and teaching, as well as learners and learning and which, at the same time, address the 'why' as well as the 'how' of digital literacy. This framework takes into account current debates (primarily within the UK but of relevance to European perspectives) focusing on issues of ICT, digital literacy and media literacy in the curriculum, which reflect a tension between digital literacy as a set of skills and competencies on the one hand and understandings that arise from socio-cultural and communicative practices on the other. Current understandings of digital literacy in the context of teacher education and OERs are explored and the potential for digital literac(ies) for openness is examined. This draws on data collected in the context of the DeFT project and includes meanings and perspectives on digital literacies as expressed by project participants. The effectiveness of a methodology that prizes reflexivity and participation is examined including a range of voices, including children's voices, in the meaning-making process and recommendations on the basis of the findings are made. In terms of a digital future for teacher education the paper highlights the need for practices, learning packages and tools to continue to evolve, in close cooperation with their potential users, and linked directly to classroom and schools as the site of this production.

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