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Archive for January, 2013

The Big Ideas of Digital Learning

Posted by jturner56 on January 28, 2013

As we prepare for a curriculum mapping examination of our curriculum offerings I was inspired by Wiggins and McTighe’s (2006) Understanding By Design to reflect on what constitutes the big ideas of Digital Learning (DL) (in support of our Digital Learning Infusion approach).

Here is my first attempt, which very much invites reflection and reaction to help refine and validate.

Big Idea 1: DL is built on 1 and 0
An understanding of binary mathematics underpinning programming logic would help one be a digital age builder.

Big Idea 2: DL will change
Moore’s Law points us towards an unprecedented rate of technological change that requires adaptation and presents opportunity. Already through multimedia, the web, social media and so much more.

Big Idea 3: DL is both personalized and connected
One’s personal identity embraces choice, but learning in the digital age cannot be unitary. It effects and is effected by human and non-human connections

Big Idea 4: DL provides an extension to human capacities
Whether one sees this as through controllable tools, personal constructive potential, or hybrid human-machines digital technologies can extend human capacities.

Big Idea 5: DL requires new learning dynamics
Traditional transmission learning structures are insufficient for learning in the digital age (some would say pre-digital as well). New learning to add value from new information dynamics, handling ever-changing operations, being a digital age citizen, and problem solving are being re-defined by the core mechanics of the digital age.

Big Idea 6: Learn from the past as we prepare for an always unforeseeable future.
From Socrates to Newton to Dertouzos we are always learning pertinent lessons from our past while subjecting ourselves and our environments to critical appraisals.

Do we pay enough respect to this in our curriculum designing?

Add, argue or just reflect. But please contribute.


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The difference between Digital Learning and Digital Literacy
- a practical perspective

Posted by jturner56 on January 25, 2013

Digital Literacy paper

This paper explores the in-school implications of Digital Literacy. Starting with charting the historical journey around Gilster’s (1997) definition, it arrives at a current view of “an evolving agenda” (Shapiro 2009). Comparisons to a similar exploration of Digital Learning identifies differences that enable a Digital Literacy developmental context to be identified. This builds on previous Digital Learning contexts (Turner 2010) based on threshold concepts.

After looking at issues arising from  curriculum importance and cultural considerations, a practical framework for in-school teacher Digital Literacy development is proposed that includes exploration of general issues, skill development, digital literacy evaluations, evidence, and resolution of in-school issues.. Gillen and Barton’s (2010) T&LR framework is used to identify shortcomings for future work.

The intention of this paper is to help generate a useable approach to digital literacy for teachers and students. Development that is academically sound, practically worthwhile and of value to the learning community. It is a learning journey.

Gillen, J. & Barton, D. 2010. Digital Literacies. Research briefing for the TLRP-TEL (Teaching and Learning Research Programme – Technology Enhanced Learning. London: London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education.
Gilster, P. 1997 Digital Literacy. New York: Wiley
Shapiro, H. 2009. Supporting Digital Literacy: Public Policies and Stakeholder Initiatives. Final Report: Topic Report 4: Conclusions and recommendations based on reviews and findings. Danish Technological Institute. Available at: 22 September 2012
Turner, J. 2010. Threshold concepts and digital learning.  Available at

Feedback is welcomed, or if interested in publishing elsewhere please contact

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My Presentation on “Teacher Learning” to 21CLHK this Saturday

Posted by jturner56 on January 21, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-01-21 at 1.49.57 PMClick on graphic (or here) to access

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The value for learning in curriculum mapping

Posted by jturner56 on January 20, 2013

Back for a new year and thinking about how three things fit together

  1. How technology supports deep conceptual learning (arising from reading Peter Rillero and Helen Padgett’s Supporting Deep Conceptual Learning With Technology (From T.H.E. journal 01/15/13)
  2. Planning for the Curriculum Mapping days at the school in mid-February, which involves Skype planning with Maree Alcock from ASCD
  3. How Understanding by Design (Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, 2005) impacts on the above two.

In summary key points arising included

  1. “Technology can help educators move students’ focus away from rote memorization toward deep conceptual learning by building on prior knowledge and making connections between concepts.”
  2. Schools and teachers need to see their educational responsibility as beyond just skills/concept transferal if education is to be truly valued
  3. The importance of the ownership (within teachers as well) and clarity of the essential / key questions that students take on to learn.
  4. Educators must continually ask “where is the evidence?”, “what value in it?”, “what do we learn from this, and from this what next?”

Putting this together, curriculum mapping/planning/processes, and the inclusion of learning technology in these processes, needs to be framed in a structure that

  • provides clear learning objectives that promote deep learning (not superficial “coverage”)
  • maps as a processes committed to progress and value. Melds the individual with the community to the extent possible.
  • in linked to objective evidence enabling progressive reflection for improvement

How well are we as educators doing this? This is the perennial question for educators.

The question of mapping might start in terms of bureaucratic responsibility, but needs to move quickly to learning value across the community.

It can be evaluated against the 3Ps > Purpose, Progression and Partnership

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