Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Educating With "Bit" Of Literacy

I am still working on bettering my web 2.0 blogging habits. It turns out that a number of visitors reach this webblog through the Paradigm Online Writing Assistant, so another reminder to be careful with my writing. Looking to proper grammar and spelling is in addition to technological issues related to web 2.0 correspondence. This post from Good Experience combines both an educational perspective and a technological one.

Good Experience - Educators and bit literacy by Mark Hurst
The educator's perspective on bit literacy is slightly different from that of the businessperson. Rather than focusing on productivity in the workplace, the educator is more concerned with giving students basic skills to organize their thoughts, know their resources, and properly research their papers. Resourcefulness is important, as is evaluating digital sources.

Here's one educator's review of Bit Literacy (by the president of NAIS, the National Association of Independent Schools) and a transcript of a Web chat I conducted recently with the same folks.

Some of the lessons I wanted to take away with me are:

Compelling Principles, Sensible Tips and Awesome Ideas from Bit Literacy

1. As long as one always empties the inbox at least once a day, bit literacy gives users the freedom to choose when, and how often, to engage the bits.

2. Use the same discipline for one's media diet.

3. First learn, and then, in the business of schools, teach how to evaluate digital sources by surveying

4. Model proper sourcing and citations. When you keep and/or pass along interesting articles, save them in "clip format": i.e. copy and paste the article, source, author, title, date, and the URL into your e-mail — then save and/or mail to friends, so you are modeling source authentication.

5. Use "bit levers."
Bit levelers are what Hurst calls the digital equivalent of Archimedes' fulcrum ("Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I could move the earth") to achieve the Jim Collins goals of using "technology as an accelerator.":
  • Use keyboard commands (CTRL-S to save, CTRL-C to copy; CTRL-P to paste, etc.) to keep the hands on the keyboard and away from mouse, saving precious time.
  • Use macros. Create your own macros (ask your IT director to show you how) to streamline laborious tasks, similar to using Find and Replace in a Word or Excel document.
  • Try ActiveWords (PCs) or Typinator (Macs): Google for the free downloadable trial versions of these applications, which allow you to create shortcuts for actions (opening a file, folder, or program) and for words, phrases, or whole messages that one frequently types.
  • The downloadable Google Search Bar includes amazing tools:
    • Scholar Search for ERIC and other database listings of scholarly articles.

Many of these I already do. I will endeavor to do better on crediting people for their work by providing fuller citations. Others, I will give some more thought.

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