That team meeting the other day wasn’t just a chance to experience the “gold level ” sandwiches (catering-speak for food that is edible as opposed to designed with cardboard fans in mind), but first and foremost to plan our project meeting for teachers and PGCE tutors which took place on the 9 February. We’re now in the process of busily writing up the notes, following up on suggestions, reflections and action points but as far as first impressions go, it seems like all the planning paid off and we are quite pleased with how the day went.
The location at the Crucible Theatre – certainly helped boost our creativity, and set the tone for the day as we spent quite a lot of time discussing the metaphors of space in relation to digital literacy. Interestingly, a number of our partners schools have chosen to develop a case study where the starting point is a physical space that they plan to augment/annotate with OERs which can be accessed via the wonders of QR codes. For instance, Jim Hildyard from Winterhill High School is planning to pilot the use of QR codes in partnership with Magna Science Adventure Centre to showcase student-produced resources about Magna exhibits. Rob Hobson from Halfway Primary is looking at tagging Heathlands parkto create an adventure trail for his pupils where they will interact with QR codes placed on the park grounds. Both mini-projects are a great example of how enhancing digital literacy skills of pupils helps widen their horizons, both in a literal and a more abstract sense – the students will come away inspired by engaging with initiatives embedded within their local communities, but they will also get a sense of what is possible via digital means of engagement with literacy. Thus, yet another way of looking at the purposes of digital literacy is that of signposting/guiding; and one of the teachers commented yesterday of how myopic the pupils can be when it comes to their engagement with digital space and it is only by enhancing their skills in that area that they become more confident in venturing further out.
Metaphors related to the world of filming were quite abundant as well, not surprising given that a couple of the cases focus on the use of visual media in the context of digital literacy. Jack Todhunter from Newman School, who has a wealth of experience in using film when teaching English and creative media, brought up the concept of out-takes in the context of digital literacy, arguing that very often, the emphasis is on showcasing polished performance via digital means. However, it is the false starts and blind alleys, the bits and pieces which end up on the editing room floor that contribute to the learning process; at the same time, revealing and exposing these out-takes can leave teaching professionals feeling exposed and quite vulnerable. This ties in with some of the questions about releasing teaching materials openly – from my experience of working with academics on two previous phases of the OER programme (C-SAP pilot and cascade project), the biggest obstacle to sharing more openly was the fear that the resources are not “good enough”, not polished enough. Striving for high quality is certainly a good thing, after all, issues of quality assurance come up repeatedly in the context of OERs, but how do you make sure that the richness of the practitioner’s journey is not lost when the world is presented with a shiny OER?