We had a fantastic conference on March 8th, ‘Open Badges in HE’ (I wanted to call it BadgeCon but there you are) at the University of Southampton. Over 150 people attended in person, and 100 online, from around the world. We were very fortunate to have both the UK and US perspectives on education using Open Badges with our keynotes, Doug Belshaw and Carla Casilli. Both highly respected in the badge and education world, so it was a real honour to have them talk to us about the application and implementation of open badges in higher education. We have captured a lot of what went on during the day via Storify and the iChamps are blogging about it. It’s always after the event that the real conversations get started and I have already been talking to a range of people across the university and beyond, interested in how they might implement badges into their own practice. It got me thinking about how everything that I am involved in revolves around digital literacies skills and competences.
In the last few months since I wrote my last blog post I have been here there and everywhere, but the underlying theme of the work I do, the research I undertake and the conferences I speak at, have always been digital literacies. The importance of being able to work, live and learn effectively cannot be understated and I always bring it back to that one area. Don’t ask people to run before they can walk. If you are interested in implementing new curriculum support your staff and your students (or your customers and employees) to inform themselves of the concepts of digital literacies. Why is this important? Don’t just assume they can or they know how to use hashtags, or that they will grasp concepts if they are not engaged in the global world. I’m trying nor to use the phrase 21st Century skills (its 2016 folks) we have entered that space.
So, before you think about implementing a new concept or idea think digital literacies. What are they? Many before and after me will write reams about what they mean but essentially it is about communicating, creating, collaborating and critical thinking, with a bit of citizenship thrown in (lots of C’s). Being digital literate isn’t a state that you will arrive at and tick a box saying ‘complete’. It is something that is forever moving forward and is part of the life long learning set of skills, bring on the key phrases around agility and flexibility, being rigid and inflexible isn’t going to be an enabler to becoming effective and efficient in a global world.