Digital literacy and CODE (Code, Collaboration & Design)

Submitted by: Rasmus Fink Lorentzen
Abstract: By Rasmus Fink Lorentzen, Associate professor, PHD, Teacher Training Education, VIA UC, Denmark

This research project is in collaboration with Ulf Dalvad Berthelsen, PHD, Aarhus University.

Keywords: digital literacy, learning design, coding

The aim of this ongoing research project is to develop and apply learning designs, which integrate the visual coding software Scratch in existing curriculum in the Danish secondary school, thus achieving a better understanding of teaching practice aimed at developing digital literacy.

Digital multimodal texts dominate the contemporary media world and thus challenge the way we understand the term literacy (The New London Group 1996). In this project, we use the overall term digital literacy (Lankshear & Knobel, 2015) to describe the ability to create and use digital text specifically in computer games. In specific, we focus on the process of coding multimodal animations using the visual block coding software called Scratch (Resnick, 2017).

Research question:

• What characterizes learning designs, which integrates Scratch in the school subject Danish as a first language?
• Which teacher competencies are necessary in order to integrate these learning designs in a school context?

The theoretical framework is multimodal theory (Kress, 2010). This allows us to perceive digital texts as a combination of motivated signs e.g. a language of its own.

The research design of the project is based on a Design-based research-methodology (Barab & Squire, 2004). We have developed and tested several learning designs in cooperation with 7 teachers at a local school. These interventions took place during a year, which has led to a plentitude of data.

Learnings designs, Scratch designs and think aloud-video recordings of teachers designing plans.

Preliminary findings:
1. Students seem to benefit from working in experimental ways more similar to informal literacy cultures outside school.
2. Teachers integrate and reflect upon Scratch in design workshops, but find it difficult to change practices in their classrooms. The biggest challenge seems to be of cultural kind: teachers do not perceive themselves in relation to computer games and programming. They lack professional terms, which causes them to treat digital texts superficially.

Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. The journal of the learning sciences, 13(1), 1–14.

Kress, G. (2010). Multimodality - A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. London, New York: Routledge.

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2015). Digital Literacy and Digital Literacies. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, Special Issue 2015(2015), 8–21.

Resnick, M. (2017). Lifelong Kindergarten - Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers and Play. MIT Press.