Preparing Students to be Literate Digitally in a Digitally Literate Environment of Their Own

In our everyday interactions, we utilize a variety of digital texts and tools to create and curate a digital identity. We have websites linked to other websites. Social media links connecting this work to the work of peers and colleagues. We use social networks to tweet, blog, and post our ideas and share his out with the world to review. All of these components…and more…comprise our digital identity.

Where do we learn how to read, write, and communicate in these digital spaces?

If you’re like me, it’s a lot of trial and error. It’s spending your own time making and breaking things online. Watching the work of others to see what you would like to create. It is also a lot of time and money spent testing out new tools, platforms, and ideas as many new ones pop up daily.

Becoming digitally literate in a domain of one’s own

In trying to identify opportunities to build the skills and practices individuals will need in digital environments, Kristy Pytash and I wrote up a submission for the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. In this submission, we contend that if we really want students to be digitally literate, they need to have a personalized learning space online that provides more than just a snapshot of their participation in one class or one school year. We argue that students should have a “domain of one’s own” or one canonical address online that students build up from Pre-K through higher ed.

With a place of their own online, they can read, write, and participate, and build, edit, revise, and iterate as if it were a digital portfolio. In this commentary we’ll examine exactly what a “domain of one’s own” is and how teachers and schools can implement this initiative. In addition, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of providing each student with a domain of one’s own to use as they start their literate career in our schools. We believe students need opportunities online where they can create, build, and modify digital artifacts that represent their identities as learners.

Request for comments

We would love your commentary on the manuscript that was submitted for review. We will address any & all comments and suggestions and fold the feedback into the final published version. You can access (and comment on) the Google Doc for the commentary here.


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Originally published at W. Ian O’Byrne.