Pedagogy and the New Literacies in Higher Education

Pedagogy and the New Literacies in Higher Education

Carol A. Brown
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch059
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Having the ability to understand and use digital technology is an important skill needed for the 21st century workforce (Goodfellow, 2011). In higher education, Web 2.0 and other collaborative resources impact pedagogy, research methodology, and relationships with colleagues and students. Creative use of digital resources enhances traditional instructional methods such as inquiry-based learning, situated learning, and collaborative project-based learning. Generative learning theory is applied through organizational, integrative, and elaborative strategies, which are supported through a variety of digital tools all within a constructivist environment. Digital resources are best applied using 1) collaborative spaces in cloud computing, 2) digital tools for engaged learning, 3) presentation software for course content, and 4) access to electronic textbooks. Pedagogical decisions associated with use of these tools are an important part of the new literacies for 21st century learning. The relationship between digital resources and pedagogical practices in higher education are explored in this chapter.
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Use Of Digital Resources And Constructivist Learning Experiences

Constructivist learning is well known to educators as a paradigm in which the learner uses prior knowledge to support the acquisition of new skills and understanding (Abbott & Ryan, 1999). According to John Abbott, former director of 21st Century Learning Initiative (Abbott, 2008), all knowledge is embedded into an idea, image, or emotion experienced prior to the new learning. Because of the distinctiveness of each individual learner, no two people will acquire the same conceptual understanding as any other person. Thus flexibility in methods, varied instructional resources, and open-ended outcomes lead to individually constructed knowledge. Constructivist environments are supported by several instructional methods employing a variety of tools, activities and resources. For 21st century learners, many of the resources are digital in format, requiring special skills for adapting resources to the learning experiences (Beetham, & Sharpe, 2013; Gill, 2013). This chapter begins with a discussion on generative learning strategies which are reported useful for enhancing reading comprehension (Wittrock, 1989).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Situated Learning: Instructional events in which the student interacts with materials or solve problems situated in an authentic setting. Emphasis is on authenticity followed by practice in an actual life experience.

Infotention: A term coined by Harold Reingold refers to the use of appropriate tools to work efficiently within a digital environment. Use of digital tools becomes automatized resulting in a higher level of productivity.

Differentiated Learning: Began as instructional method for meeting the needs of diversity in the classroom. Instruction is planned to address individual needs based on culture, language, physical, and cognitive abilities. The use of digital resources can help differentiate instruction for both face to face as well as distance education.

Learning Management System: An electronic resource designed to arrange, organize, and display all the learning materials and resources needed for a class or learning experience. These might include documents, hyperlinks, audio/video podcasts, asynchronous and synchronous communication tools, student rosters, and a grading system.

Complex Problem Solving: Defined through the lens of higher education, this is an instructional strategy designed to engage the learner in higher-level thinking. The learner must think strategically and examine multiple resources to identify a possible solution(s). Typically a complex problem is designed around several different elements and factors contributing to a question or puzzling situation. It involves analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of resources.

Information Literacy: According to the American Library Association, the term refers to the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information.

Crowdsourcing: As it relates to digital literacy, crowdsourcing is a type of online dialog in which contributors bring together varied backgrounds, experiences, and levels of expertise related to a defined topic. The crowd contributes to the discussion with the understanding that a common goal will be reached for the benefit of all contributors.

Engaged Learning: Instructional methods that include active and collaborative activities designed to connect concrete applications to professional and civic life.

Information Overload: The state in which a huge influx of information interferes with understanding an issue, making good decisions, and performance on the job. It is known to contribute to job dissatisfaction and high levels of stress.

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