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Monday, April 20, 2009

More on Prof. Chip Bruce's Work on Youth and Digital Literacy

by Ann Abbott

In addition to Prof. Chip Bruce's CITES Research and Learning Technologies Brown Bag talk on Wednesday, April 22, 12-1 PM at 23 Illini Hall, Prof. Bruce will also soon talk to the Scholarship of Engagement group about his work with community informatics (see announcement below). Here are a few things I'd like to highlight:

1. If you haven't joined the Engaged Illinois Ning group, I encourage you to do so. You don't have to be from Illinois to find value in it. You can network with others working on the scholarship of engagement and community service learning. Plus, the real bonus in my view is Val Werpetinski's blog. She always forwards such useful information.

2. I want to call out a link from the message below: http://chipbruce.wordpress.com/recent-work/. Not only does it include readings for the upcoming talk as well as other valuable resources. I think it also serves as a model of how researchers and practictioners can communicate about their work on the web and share their insights. Think about it, what does your digital profile show about your work? Do you have a cv posted on your department's website and nothing else? Did you ignore the department's requests for a picture to put on your page, and so now you have a "blank" picture, or no image at all. What message does that send? Is it the message you want to send? Take a look at Chip's site to see how you can communicate with the world about your work. If you think your work is valuable, shouldn't you treat it that way?

3. Okay, here's the announcement for the talk:

Scholarship of Engagement Seminar: Monday, April 27, 12:00-1:30
428 Armory Bldg
Chip Bruce, Graduate School of Library and Information Science "Youth Community Informatics"

This presentation will focus on Youth Community Informatics http://yci.illinois.edu. This is a new project in which young people in disadvantaged areas learn how to use GPS/GIS, digital video, computer technology centers, and other new tools to help their communities, through activities such as community journalism, oral history, internet radio, community asset mapping. University students serve as mentors, but are also learners in the process. The project links public libraries, 4-H clubs, schools and after-school programs, and other groups.

Some recent papers relevant to Youth Community Informatics can be found at http://chipbruce.wordpress.com/recent-work/

Here's a forwarded message from Chip Bruce about the readings:

'Digital literacy: New approaches to participation and inquiry learning to foster literacy skills among primary school children'
addresses the problem that teachers, parents, researchers, etc. see value in active, creative, collaborative new media engagement, or Digital Literacy. But reports are anecdotal and effects are not reflected in standard formal teaching practice and assessments. We need better ways to define, study, and evaluate Digital Literacy, which can document the advantages and disadvantages. Drawing from theory (esp. Dewey), models (inquiry cycle), and detailed classroom study, we developed and validated two new tools: the Digital Literacy Component Checklist and the Inquiry Cycle Activity Summary. The end result is a new definition of Digital Literacy, based neither on a narrow skills/knowledge model, nor on technical features alone, but instead on a view of the user or participant as an active, inquiring agent.

'How media ecologies can address diverse student needs' provides empirical support for going beyond simplistic claims I've seen, such as 'new tool X causes specific learning or behavioral change Y,' to considering the ways that people draw from multiple media in a constructive way.

The first two papers on that site delve more into the theory, and others report on case studies. *For April 27, the most relevant is probably the first one, the "frogs" paper.*

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