Module 5 Digital Literacies: survive or thrive?
It was always the intention of the DiLitE project to highlight how the teaching of ‘basic literacies’ could draw further on the way most literacy practices are now carried out digitally and mediated through technology as opposed to being conducted primarily with pen and paper – but the project team never anticipated that a global pandemic would bring about such swift and radical change to both everyday life and our professional field. Suddenly, specifically digital literacies and digital literacy practices have come to dominate our social, professional and communicative lives. Change has rarely come as fast as it did through 2020 – particularly to the world of education where teachers across institutions from primary schools to universities suddenly had to switch how and where they deliver learning, and the tools they use to do it. Practitioners working in the field of ‘basic literacy’ with low-educated learners – who are often refugees, or socially disadvantaged in a myriad of ways – have had the particular challenge of not only changing their entire working habits, but also the challenge of supporting learners who are perhaps the least well equipped to adapt to these new ways of learning. So, how are we – practitioners and learners alike – to thrive, as opposed to just survive in this new world?
- Pandemic, adapt, change
To thrive in the new world of digital literacies, we need to embrace multimodality, include sociolinguistics in our teaching, and move toward participatory models that see diversity as a foundational principle.