ETL504 Digital literacies

Digital literacy learning is a constructivist process. Constructivist learning occurs when new information is built onto and added onto an individual’s current knowledge, understanding and skills. We learn best when we actively construct our understanding. Constructivist learning is active mental work. Individuals draw on their experiences of the world around them to make sense of what they percieve in order to build an understanding of what is around them. (Pritchard, 2008)

Given the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum (ACARA, 2015) there are two that deal with digital literacies relevant to these readings. These are Information and Communication Technology and Critical and Creative Thinking. ICT General Capability refers to students ‘ learn to use ICT effectively and appropriately to access, create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively in all learning areas at school, and in their lives beyond school.’ This provides students with real world skills that they can use in the classroom that they could further develop beyond the classroom. The learning is relevant and applicable in the student’s daily life making this an authentic activity. Critical and Creative Thinking occurs when students ‘learn to generate and evaluate knowledge, clarify concepts and ideas, seek possibilities, consider alternatives and solve problems.’ This can work into social constructivism, where dialogue becomes the vehicle by which ideas are considered. Learning does not necessarily have to take place in the classroom and the knowledge can be scaffolded. Students can work together in small groups to expand on their learning.

According to Wall and Ryan (2010) digital literacy is a set of skills, processes and attitudes that enable a learner to utilise information so that the learner can manipulate the information to construct knowledge. The three components to of digital literacy skills include ICT literacy, information literacy and critical literacy. ICT literacy includes how to productively use the tools including web 2.0 tools. Information literacy is a critical process of locating, selecting and organising information. This takes ICT skills and incorporates Critical and creative thinking. Critical literacies are higher order learning and problem solving and helps students develop solutions to problems. It teaches students to learn how to think in order to learn. This is developing the student’s metacognition. Students learn how they learn and can be encouraged to experiment with different approaches.

This demonstrates digital literacies as a form of constructivist learning. Students interact with what is known and what knowledge they are adding to, they learn that learning is a social process, learning becomes situated in that they can apply the learning beyond the classroom and it is a metacognitive processs. The General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum are relevant and applied.


ACARA. (2015).  General capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from

Pritchard, A. (2008). Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom (2nd ed.). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Retrieved from EBook Library.

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