I’m working on a project that will develop and trial a web-based digital literacy framework for Years 5-8. The resource will specify student understandings and provide teaching and learning activities and resources that critically interpret the following media; still images, sounds, moving images and digital text.

In our discussions we have come to realise that there are some broader issues and questions that also need to be addressed. I suppose it’s giving the context for the framework, with the over- arching aim of critically examining the rise of the digital world and what it means to be living in it.

Suggestions of some of the things that might be looked at, in addition to the activities being developed, include the following:

• History of the net-where has it come from? What are its characteristics? How does it affect our thoughts, behaviours and values?
• Examine the shift from the dominance of the written word to the rise of digital/image/ symbol-what does this mean for how we understand the world and our place in it?
• Social networking and identity-what does it mean to have a virtual identity or identities? Is a virtual relationship different from a face to face one? For example, one of the distinguishing features of the net and social networking sites is the fact that our sense of who we are, and our sense of the ‘other’ is increasingly mediated by these digital technologies. We meet people in cyberspace, not face to face. How do we know who/what is real? And in many ways, and I suspect for many people, the ‘virtual’ is becoming more real than the real. Being ‘popular’ is now measured in different ways-its how many ‘friends’ I have on My Space or Facebook
• Who ‘owns’ stuff on the web? What does ownership mean in cyberspace?
• The creation of knowledge on the web-collaborative wikis for example-knowledge creation is now co-authored-what does this mean about how we think of ‘experts’ Wikipedia etc

Now these are BIG issues I know, but I reckon these are matters that can be re-defined in ways so kids can meaningfully discuss and think about them.

So my question to Classroom 2.0 is; who else is thinking about these questions with their students? If so, what’s going on? Has anyone developed resources or activities that tackle these BIG issues? Might a group be interested in starting a discussion? Who knows of students’ work in this area?

I welcome any comments-thanks Mark

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