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3.6.4 Reflexivity

At the core of reflexivity with regard to digital literacy is the phenomenon that fluency with digital tools is often both the subject of and the objective means by which people use, communicate with, and, in the context of this open textbook, learn and teach with technology. The notion that our beliefs, attitudes and emotional dispositions shape and are shaped by our understandings of the social world are central to this and a number of theorists contend that technology is not neutral in this (Davis 2003; Mackenzie and Wajcman, 1999). While avoiding a behavioural reduction of this it is useful to consider familiarity and facility with technology to be a habitus that can blind and bind the user (Feenberg, 2010). Awareness of the social impact of technology is an important aim of a curriculum and a system of education that invests in technology (see 2.6.5 Digital Citizenship).

Reflection forms the basis for reflexive practice and is vital to (re-)considering learning and teaching activity from both the teacher’s and learner’s perspective. Teacher and learner reflections were incorporated into all the case studies in this project as essential components of the study (see Chapter 5: Examples of Practice). Practitioners are encouraged to reflect on how and why learners are learning and this involves adopting a critical thinking approach to reflexivity and this can be problematic in school settings:

 ‘Reflection is claimed as a goal in many teacher preparation programs, but its definition and how it might be fostered in student teachers are problematic. This is countered by the argument that reflection is unlikely to develop as a professional perspective in today’s busy and demanding world of teacher’s work’.
(Hatton et al.,1995)

(See also 3.4 Barriers and Enablers)

Both the teachers and the pupils who participated in our case studies demonstrated their commitment to embedding reflexivity within their digital literacy projects. By means of a blog, children in Case Study 8 reflected on the process of creating ‘digital blooms’ using iPads, for example. This is a type of reflexivity that:

‘enables pupils to develop metacognitive skills that can enhance their learning as they reflect on their strengths and weaknesses’ (De Andres Martine, 2012)

Practices which promote critical thinking are not particular to digital technologies, of course, but there are ways in which the use of digital technologies can facilitate activities that promote critical thinking. Hague and Williamson, (2009) suggest that the development of practice from closed enquiry to open enquiry can be supported by the processes involved in digital literacy; they identify these as: defining, accessing, understanding and evaluating, creating and communicating, (Figure 6)

Figure 6: A model of digital literacy (Hague and Williamson, 2009)
Model for Digital Literacy

Bloom’s taxonomy is a well-established model of classifying thinking by establishing six levels of complexity: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. This model was adapted by Anderson and Krathwol in 2001 in the construction of the Revised Bloom Taxonomy (RBT): remembering, understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating and creating.

The adaptation of this to create a ‘digital taxonomy’ (Figure 7) outlines the digital practices that could be related to each of these stages:

Figure 7: A ‘Digital Taxonomy’ based on Bloom (Churches, 2008)
A Digital Taxonomy

For references see 3.6.6 References / Links to Further Resources

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