Kate studied digital literacy as part of her MA and has been interested in developing this further; the case study enabled her to think about how her understanding of digital literacy had progressed by focussing on her classroom-based practice.
From my observation throughout the project, the children appeared competent and confident to access and use a range of technology in order to communicate with peers, teachers and a wider global audience through blogging. This confidence grew as the project developed and I felt that we, as a class, were forging a path of modelling high-end technology in a world restricted by the high costs of hardware by making the most of what we had.
When thinking about the confidence of her children Kate recognised that they live in a technological world and as such they instinctively, and naturally, respond to the digital technology presented.
My six and seven year olds were probably more confident than my own 14-year-old secondary school student. I realised that all I had to do was present them with the technology and they instinctively moved between programmes, games and the web to create a feedback-laden world that was rich in communication and dialogue.
For Kate, these reflections have helped her define her understanding of digital literacy:
Digital literacy here was about being digitally literate; using technology with confidence; applying skills to a new platform; using knowledge in a range of contexts.
Digital literacy for my children is having the confidence to have a go. Having the skills in place to touch the screen and not be scared: ‘The undo button means we don’t have to worry if we make a mistake.’
When thinking about any problems she faced during the project Kate said:
There were problems to overcome, but most of these centred on the technology - charging, emailing finished pictures, compiling the final mural – and were battled out using trial and error on my part. The children had no problems with the task. They had no barriers to overcome, as iPads are so user friendly; they took to them straight away.
Kate is passionate about sharing experiences and working with others to develop their use of technology but recognises that a good way to do this is through a supportive, hands-on approach, and by networking with others who have the same passion and the skills. She also comments on the incentive the project has given her to continue with her professional development:
Because the technology was introduced to other Key Stage 1 colleagues by Richard in a supportive and relaxed session, other teachers are open to using the technology again and have enjoyed using the set we have in school. Our school development plan for this year has embedded the use of iPads, and I will be researching further the use of the iPads in the classroom, and searching for apps of a similar quality to Brushes (perhaps for the music curriculum).
It has been interesting for me after studying digital literacy as part of my MA studies to see how my ‘real’ life understanding has progressed through a project routed in classroom based practice, not practice forced by MA enquiry. This whole process has been really organic and focused on my children, their interests and my passion.