S1-CT3-6 - Designing Digital Literacy Activities Using an Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Approach

1. Innovative Practice Work In Progress
Julie Henry1 , Alyson Hernalesteen1, Anne-Sophie Collard1
1 NADI, University of Namur (Belgium)

This paper presents an innovative collaborative and interdisciplinary approach integrating computer and digital media literacies to build a critical citizenship-oriented digital education.

Digital education is a growing concern in contemporary educational policies. The economic and societal stakes are important. The companies cite a lack of workers trained in digital tools and experts in various fields related to IT. At a more general societal level, the media environments are now largely digitized and permeate most of our practices, whether informational, cultural or political.

Faced with these challenges, three aims of digital education have been identified: to teach computer science as a fundamental discipline, to modify young people's representations of the digital world with a view to encouraging their integration into IT sectors, and to aim at digital citizenship education to enable citizens to be autonomous and critical in their digital practices.

To meet these different challenges, an innovative interdisciplinary approach is proposed to design digital education activities aiming to train critical and digitally literate citizens. This approach is inspired by design-based research methodology. It consists of conducting an iterative process that articulates phases of designing educational activities, implementing them at various levels and analyzing the results of these educational practices carried out in a collaborative manner between researchers (activity designers), practitioners (teachers) and experts in digital media and computer science. The design of an activity aimed at digital education has four stages: the appropriation of the subject matter, distancing oneself from the expert knowledge in order to focus on fundamental matters, defining the course of the activity and creating teaching materials. All these steps are iterative and are subject to critical analysis in order to identify the main areas for improvement.

This approach takes shape through two research projects aimed at children and young teenagers: a first project targeting artificial intelligence literacy and a second one, cybersecurity literacy.

The AI literacy project was first tested with 75 future teachers. Subsequently, tests were conducted in five classes of children aged 10 to 14. Data on the representations and issues raised were collected via questionnaires (pre and post) from 85 children. The cybersecurity literacy project is in progress and will be finished for Augustus. 

The critical analysis of the approach is at interdisciplinarity and collaboration levels. The crossover of computer literacy and digital media literacy makes it possible to give meaning to digital literacy activity. On the one hand, it contextualizes it in a problematic linked to media practices and, on the other hand, by providing a framework to develop a reflective approach to these practices. However, the balance between the two axes is difficult to find. Indeed, the purpose of digital media education tends to take a back seat, due to the complexity of computer science concepts to be addressed.

Collaboration with teachers leads to a " ready to use " educational activity that corresponds to their expectations and reality in the classroom. It is therefore important for teachers to gain autonomy, but it is time-consuming and makes project management difficult.