Andrew Eynon’s Library Blog

A blog about librarianship in Further Education

Archive for the ‘PEDL’ Category

Digital Literacy issues in Further Education

Posted by andrewey on November 9, 2011

The following issues were highlighted in a discussion with college staff (as part of the PADDLE project):

Learners are relying increasingly on the use of their own technology for study and for assessment. Learners are therefore sometimes ‘bypassing’ college technology in order to use technology which they are more comfortable with, have personal control of and which is, possibly, more advanced. This raises issues about provision of public wi fi for learners and wi fi access to college networks.

Tutors are allowing the use of the learner’s own technology (for assessment) where it is possible to capture and store the use of such technologies (in line with traditional assessment methods). This raises the issue of the barriers to learning faced by the technology ‘have nots’.

Tutors discussed the pros and cons of using external social media against social media designed specifically for educational use (including Moodle). The general feeling was that learners should be able to use the technologies they are more comfortable with (eg Facebook, Twitter) but that more is needed to be done to educate learners in their effective and safe use. It was recommended, where possible, for learners to create different accounts for educational and personal use.

The issue of the use of social media in the context of work based learning was also discussed. here the observation was made that many employers block the use of social media sites by staff (and therefore work based learners). In this context if was felt the use of education specific social media would therefore be more appropriate.


Posted in Digital Literacy, PADDLE, PEDL | 1 Comment »

Simplified Digital Literacy skills audit

Posted by andrewey on August 12, 2011

Having conducted our intial Digital Literacy Skills audit with a number of students – both peer e-guides and their fellow student cohorts – we have significantly revised the initial set of audit questions.

The main issues with the initial audit were:

  • Too many questions – students found the initial 23 questions too long and repetitive (with questions seen as being  to similar)
  • Questions not linked closely enough to training/support materials – the new set of questions is clearly linked to support and training on offer making a much clearer diagnostic tool and providing a more manageable PDP for learners
  • Did not concentrate on core skills – web 2.0 skills were seen as cutting across other Digital Literacy skills and are no longer audited separately
  • Did not differentiate between different skill levels – the initial audit included questions relating to skills at different levels, these were unclear and contributed to learner confusion 

The initial results were surprising in that the weaknesses in Digital Literacy skills identified related to searching for information and effective use of Moodle rather than the expected areas which were Web 2.0, e-safety and use of the College ICT network. However given the survey was conducted in the spring then most students will already have acquired skills in relation to the basic use of ICT, Moodle and a greater awareness of e-safety issues.

The new audit includes only 7 questions but now has two skill levels built in (essential and desirable) with room to expand to a third level (‘nice to have’ skills). If learners positevely respond to the level 1 skills set then they will be prompted with the level 2 questions. Those who score weakly at level 1 will only be presented with those skills questions and corresponding PDP (of suggested training needs).

The initial and revised audit questions are contained in the attached spreadsheet

eGuide Audit v2 criteria

Posted in Digital Literacy, Information Literacy, PEDL | Leave a Comment »

How we selected our Digital Literacy peer e-guides

Posted by andrewey on May 26, 2011

For the pilot stage of the project (January-June 2011) we aimed to identify between 10-20 peer e-guides. We aimed to cover as broad a spectrum of courses as possible (covering levels 1 to 4), including both FE and HE learners. Consequently we targeted individual tutors in each Curriculum area to identify suitable learners to act as peer e-guides.

Project team members discussed the project aims with individual tutors. In addition, tutors and learners were given a brief document summarising the project and e-guide requirements.

The central project hypothesis was that learners look primarily to their peers for ICT support. Furthermore within a given cohort of learners one or more students will naturally emerge as the ones to whom other learners look for support. This hypothesis has proved correct in terms of the project experience so far. Most of the peer e-guides were selected by their tutors on this basis – although a few were selected by volunteering.

We were suprised at the high level of interest amongst staff and students at a very busy time of the academic year. We quickly identified 25 learners to act as e-guides. We allowed tutors to select more than one e-guide from their cohorts- mainly to ensure that all the Digital Literacy competencies were covered. In practice this provided more peer support amongst the e-guides and has enabled the e-guides to assist learners on the same programme of study but in a different cohort.

The benefits of the project were promoted to the e-guides solely in educational terms (ie would look good on CV, improve ICT skills, open up opportunities for further qualifications). Other incentives (ie prizes) were not revealed until after the initial briefings.

Only 3 of the e-guides identified dropped out prior to attending one of the briefing sessions. Of the 22 e-guides who attended the briefing session; 21 completed the intitial Digital Literacy skills audit and 2o attended at least one of the initial training sessions. E-guides were drawn from only two college campuses: Rhos & Denbigh, to facilitate supporting the pilot stage of the project.

The breakdown of e-guides by level of course (from Rhos campus) was as follows:

  • Level 1 = 2
  • Level 3 = 8
  • Level 4 (ie HE) = 6

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Digital Literacy Skills Audit

Posted by andrewey on February 24, 2011

As part of our PEDL project we have developed a skills audit to give a baseline measure of the digital literacy skills of both our peer e-guides and their student cohorts. The e-guides and learners will retake the skills audit at the end of the project to measure the distance travelled.

We wanted a skills audit which was brief , simple to complete but which also indicated future training needs. We found the style of the skills audit used by Salford University ideal. We have now produced our own set of questions, based around the definition of Digital Literacy we are using, covering:

  • Use of College network ICT services
  • Moodle
  • Digital skills for learning – use of common application software
  • Information finding skills
  • Referencing and plagiarism
  • E-safety
  • Web 2.0 technologies

We are currently piloting the audit but aim to make it available online to learners for September.

Posted in FE Libraries, Information Literacy, PEDL | Leave a Comment »

What is Digital Literacy?

Posted by andrewey on February 18, 2011

For our PEDL project we have used the term Digital Literacy to represent a broad range of skills – specifically basic ICT skills, information skills and e-safety. This offers a potentially broader remit than Information Literacy. Furthermore, Digital Literacy is probably a more widely understood term outside the library community (particularly with the link to Digital Inclusion).

With regard to basic ICT skills we are focussing on the skills needed to make the most effective of the college ICT network (eg e-mail, file handling, basic applications software) and our Moodle VLE.

The Information skills strand will cover making effective use of internet searching, accessing e-resouces and referencing/plagiarism.

We will also have a cross cutting strand on the use of Web 2.0 tools in a teaching and learning context.

We found the following documents useful when defining Digital Literacy:

Digital Britain (DCMS and BIS, 2009), The Heart of Digital Wales (WAG, 2009), Digital Inclusion in Wales (Welsh Affairs Committee, 2009), Delivering Digital Inclusion – A strategic framework for Wales (WAG, 2010) and Thriving in the 21st century: learning literacies for the Digital Age (JISC, 2009).

Posted in Information Literacy, PEDL | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Peer E- guides and Digital Literacy (PEDL)

Posted by andrewey on February 15, 2011

Firstly, apologies for the lack of activity on this blog over the last 12 months or so.

However, I am going to make regular use of the blog to post the findings of a JISC e- learning project I’m currently managing.

The project works on the assumption that learners gain much of their ICT knowledge from their peers rather than from formal training.

Consequently we will train up student peer e-guides to provide informal ICT and information skills support and, most importantly, to use the e-guides as advocates for the support available through the Library & Learning Technology Service.

Posted in FE Libraries, Information Literacy, PEDL | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »