Fostering Digital Literacy between Schools and the Local Community: Using Service Learning and Project-Based Learning as a Conceptual Framework

Fostering Digital Literacy between Schools and the Local Community: Using Service Learning and Project-Based Learning as a Conceptual Framework

Corrado Petrucco (Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology, University of Padua, Padua, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/ijdldc.2013070102
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This article proposes the use of a conceptual framework for developing digital skills at school using Service Learning and Project-Based learning approaches. In this context, an important role is played by “digital citizenship” understood as a stimulus for participation in the community also through social software. The author also presents the results of a project carried out by students in technical high school on a very sensitive local issue: the installation of new antennas for mobile phones and the dangers of radiation. The students measured cell phone emissions and created videos that were distributed in a blog, accessed by both the local community and the general online community. The project results were positive on various levels, both at school, evidenced by an improvement in student performance and the motivation to learn, and socially, by satisfying the knowledge needs of the community.
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Promoting Digital Literacy As “Digital Citizenship”

It’s interesting to note that the meaning attributed to “digital literacy” has in fact changed over time: until a few years ago, the prevailing interpretations related to the mastery of purely technical skills, now associated with these are also relational and participatory skills, extending the meaning to incorporate more elements including essentially the concept of “digital citizenship” (Mossberger, 2008). The report “Digital Competence in Practice” (2012) of The Institute for Perspective Technological Studies of the European Commission, is an interesting example that tries to specify the concept as a convergence of multiple illiteracies, including precisely participation, socialization and learning: “Digital Competence is the set of knowledge, skills, attitudes [...] that are required when using ICT and digital media to perform tasks; solve problems; communicate; manage information; collaborate; create and share content; and build knowledge effectively, efficiently, appropriately, critically, creatively, autonomously, flexibly, ethically, reflectively for work, leisure, participation, learning, socialising, consuming, and empowerment” (Ferrari, 2012).

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