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Doug Belshaw’s ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’ has been an absolute find! Accessible and clearly articulated, the book establishes and then builds on the premise that literacy in a digital era cannot conform to outdated paradigms; and must, by its very nature, be viewed in the plural – namely digital-literacies. Although in no way prescriptive; the book makes clear that interest-based learning is the most effective way in which to engage individuals in the process of developing their range of digital literacy skills, especially when the individual’s context is recognised as a crucial component of the learning process. (Liesl Scheepers, Educational Technologist, South Africa)
Literacy is an anti-intuitive process. This book delightfully outlines the landscape which is sometimes seen as arid with streams of reasoning that will help learners address potential issues. (Paul Martin, via email)
Besides a fresh and multi-perspective approach to what it means to be literate in a digital, interconnected world, I loved the openness of seeing a book being built chapter after chapter with conversations and feedback throughout the process promoted by Doug. This is the spirit that entices a whole new world of literacies! Thanks, Doug. You've got a big Brazilian fan. ''(Carla Arena, Educational Technologist, Brazil)
Too often in education discussion about digital literacy is left to media teacher, or if you are lucky it might pop up during a unit of work. However, what Belshaw's demonstrates in The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies is that digital literacies and literacies in general are something that we are all a part of each and every day. There is something for every teacher in this book, actually rephrase that, there is something for every learner. Too often talk about the supposed digital revolution in schools starts with discussions about tools and techniques, calls for 1:1 or BYOD, the problem though is that not enough attention is given to what the possibilities and potentials of literacies are and what this means to each of us. This book at least starts that conversation.(Aaron Davis, Middle Years Teacher, Australia)
By making the concepts behind digital literacies simple (yet not simpler!) to understand, Doug has created the best framework to date for learners and teachers alike to embed these concepts on their own learning strategies. This book has all the hallmarks of a seminal work and it is a great contribution to such a relevant topic! (Alvaro Caballero, Educational Enthusiast and Change Agent, Mexico / Netherlands)
In summary, The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies is a short, informative book written in a clear, often amusing style. If I was being really picky it could probably benefit from one less font, but that is a minor criticism and does not detract from the thoughtfulness of the debate. I think it is one of those books that cannot be read widely enough and I recommend it to anyone. Reading it will not instantly make you digital literate, but it will give you an understanding of why this is important and offers a framework to help you reflect on your own practice and that of others. (Malcolm Murray, e-Learning Manager, Durham University, England)
I really appreciate how this book complicates many prevailing notions of digital literacy, but in a productive manner. I find many popular discussions of digital literacy too simplistic to be of much value. I understand and respect Belshaw's decision to provide "ingredients" and leave developing the "recipe" to each of us in our own context. That said, for the sake of understanding each of the elements and particularly how we might distinguish between them all, I felt like I could have used some more examples. Even to provide models of how some communities have built from the elements would have been very helpful, and I think could be sufficiently disclaimer-ed so as not to suggest that the same would work in every context. (Ted Parker, Director of Digital Literacy and Innovation, King Low Heywood Thomas School, Stamford, Connecticut, USA)
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