Unit – 030 Managing the Digital Literacy Learning Environment

1.3 – Analyse a minimum of three different methods of communication that can be used with digital literacy learners.

Use of mobile phones:

Given that the mobile phone is so common amongst my learner group it would be amiss of me not to consider it’s use when teaching digital literacy. Mobile phones have come a very long way in recent years in terms of what they can do, indeed they are extremely advanced now and phones like the Apple iPhone essentially mean that you are carrying a mini computer around in your pocket. The advent of the Smart phone means that not only can the phone be used to communicate in the old school way of simply talking to each other via the phone, but it can be used to send text messages, emails, social media, pod casts, face time, Skype, it feels like the list of ways to communicate is endless. A word of warning though, not very student has a Smart phone, and not every learner is tech savvy enough to be able to access all of the aforementioned methods of communication. Indeed, I know a few people that still possess (and are happy with) a phone that would be considered a ‘brick’ in modern terms. So, whilst mobile phones do offer many levels of communication for some learners, it may isolate some learners who aren’t yet up to date with their particular phone. One must also remember that communicating with a mobile phone, with the exemption of voice calls and face to face calls (such as Skype) their is always the possibility of things being ‘lost in translation’ and the use of emoticons must be managed so as not to send the wrong message.

Use of e-mail:

The use of emails can be a good form of communication with our learners, well, it is for those that remember to catch up with their emails on a regular basis! I for one am guilty of not checking my emails, only to find that I missed the email that told me what to prepare for the next class, of course this meant that I wasn’t ready for the said class! Emails, again can be misread, misunderstood and the use of emoticons can be misleading. Emails are a great way to send information but are limited in the amount of data that can be sent, particularly when sending large picture or video files. Emails can be a very good way of evidencing work and can be useful if a ‘paper’ trail is required.

Use of Social Media:

The use of social media as a means of communicating with learners is still, in my opinion, a bit of a taboo subject in some teaching settings. Some people (usually the younger crowd) are very much for it, and some (usually the older crowd) are very much against it. The reason that the older people don’t feel it is appropriate is (again, only my opinion) is that they do not understand it, and are fearful that it cannot be managed. Used appropriately, I feel that the use of social media offers a wonderful opportunity to meet the learners of this day and age where they are at. Nearly all the younger learners that I have met, have Facebook for example. Some of the most interesting projects that I have  been involved with in the classroom have involved Facebook. What I have found that it needs careful monitoring, security settings have to be set accordingly and strict guidelines have to be in place with the learners so that they know what is and what is not acceptable (such as the use of offensive pictures and language). In the classroom close attention must be paid also to whether the learners are actually working or simply communicating with all of their friends and family when they should be concentrating on their work. There are also concerns when using social media about maintaining professional boundaries, but again this is the teachers responsibility to manage. Social Media is such a intrinsic part of today’s society that it would be wrong for teachers not to embrace it and make it a part of the learning process.

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