The DigiLit Leicester project is a two year collaboration between Leicester City Council, De Montfort University and 23 secondary schools. Digital literacy is increasingly recognised as critical for learners to thrive within digital society. The project focuses on supporting secondary school teaching and teaching support staff in developing their digital literacy knowledge, skills and practice, and their effective use of digital tools, environments and approaches in their work with learners.
In order to understand what current practice looks like, a digital literacy framework was developed in consultation with schools and staff, mapped to classroom practice. This framework defines 6 key strands of digital literacy for secondary school staff: Finding, Evaluating and Organising; Creating and Sharing; Assessment and Feedback; Communication, Collaboration and Participation; E-Safety and Online Identity; Technology supported Professional Development. Practices within these six strands were assigned to four level descriptors: Entry, Core, Developer or Pioneer.
The Results are in!
The DigiLit Leicester framework was used to create an online survey, which was open from April to July 2013. The survey is designed to help individual staff members reflect on where they are in their use of technology, and provide schools and the Council with information to inform our planning and next steps. All staff who support learning in the BSF schools – teachers, classroom assistants, specialist provision and library staff – were invited to complete the survey. 24% of the the 1,912 eligible members of staff completed the 2013 survey – or 450 staff members.
The new project report provides a high-level summary of the city-wide findings of the DigiLit Leicester survey, contributing to a clearer understanding of the current digital literacy confidence levels of secondary school staff, and includes recommendations that the project team will be taking forward within Leicester schools.
- 52% of staff across the city who participated in the survey classified their skills and confidence at the highest level – Pioneer – in one or more of the six key digital literacy areas.
Staff who score at Pioneer level are typically confident with a wide range of different technologies and approaches to using these to support learners. They may be helping colleagues develop skills, and producing resources for others to use.
- 26% of all those who participated in the survey placed themselves at Entry level in one or more of the six key areas.
Entry-level competencies are typified by personal, rather than professional application of technologies. Practitioners with a strand score at this level will currently not be taking advantage of the ways in which technology can enhance school based practice.
- Staff rate their skills and confidence highest in the area of E-Safety and Online Identity, with 43% of respondents scoring at Pioneer level.
- Staff feel least confident in the area of Communication, Collaboration and Participation, with 12% of staff rating themselves as Entry level and 47 % falling within the lower levels of the framework (at either Entry or Core level).
While the city as a whole scored strongly on the E-Safety and Online Identity strand, corresponding scores for Communication, Collaboration and Participation were not in alignment – as would be expected given the close relationship between competencies and practices within these areas. This suggests that e-safety education is being managed within a context of restriction and limits on access to certain technologies and digital environments. Whilst effective, this approach has been identified as potentially limiting to online opportunities and the development of digital literacy.
- Forty-three per cent of staff rated their skills and confidence in the lower levels of the framework (Entry and Core levels) in Creating and Sharing.
While creating and customising resources for classroom use is a common practice amongst school staff, Creating and Sharing was the second lowest scoring strand.
At Developer and Pioneer levels, the strand covers collaborative creation of resources, supporting learners in creating resources, and the creation and development of Open Education Resources. These findings are in line with European Commission concerns that education and training providers are currently not taking advantage of the use and creation of Open Educational Resources, running the risk of “losing the opportunity to innovate the teaching and learning practices, to increase the efficiency and equity of the education and training provision and to raise the digital skills of learners necessary for a more competitive and knowledge-based economy” (European Commission 2013).
Find out more by downloading a copy of the report on the survey results here:
During the next phase of the project, the team will be working with and supporting staff in developing school based approaches across the framework strands. In line with the survey findings, the team will focus on surfacing and sharing the work of Pioneer level staff and increasing the confidence levels of staff working at Entry level.
Key activity areas will be:
- Facilitating school based and school led activities and projects that support staff digital literacy and professional development
- The development and curation of information and guidance in the use of social technologies to support collaborative practice and participation
- The development and curation of resources for staff relating to open licencing models and the production, use and remixing of Open Educational Resources.
- Promoting the approaches included in the Technology Supported Professional Development strand, as a way of supporting staff in developing and participating in effective professional networks.
We are looking forward to sharing the work that the city takes forward!