DIGITAL LEARNING ARTIFACTS: MULTIMODAL TEXT PRODUCTION AND ITS EFFECT ON LEARNERS’ DIGITAL LITERACY AND THEIR COMPREHENSION OF SUBJECT ISSUES
Which learning methods and practices are most beneficial in achieving digital literacy? How is the relationship between digital literacy and subject learning? These are the main questions in a Norwegian action research project following a group of pupils in lower secondary school for two years. This paper examines to what extent pedagogical approaches, involving secondary school pupils using digital artifacts for producing multimodal text presentations, have positive effects on pupils’ digital literacy and comprehension of subject issues. The researchers work collaboratively with the teachers and learners to explore ways of enhancing learning through systematic use of ICT. The training programs are organized with special emphasis on qualifying the teachers to design and supervise learning processes based on a knowledge production perspective. Conducting learning processes in this perspective implies that pupils are encouraged to pursue creative approaches to school work and actively apply digital media for constructing presentations and communicate their comprehended understanding and interpretation of subject issues and established subject knowledge. Our theoretical approach implies that subject learning outcome can be enhanced by emphasizing the knowledge production perspective (KPP). In addition, we have a hypothesis that learners develop a higher level of digital literacy being producers rather than consumers of digital media content. Being a knowledge producer implies that the learner is a producer on two levels: both as an active knowledge constructor according to constructivist theories and as a producer of digital representations of their knowledge. We believe that the ability to express oneself creatively and appropriately with digital media is of great importance for future learners and must be considered as an essential part of digital literacy. Digital storytelling and animation have been introduced as substantial parts of the learning processes in the project school. Being a work in progress, the investigations do not allow presentation of very conclusive comments at the present but more substantial results will be presented in a short paper in early 2009. However, preliminary results indicate that the ICT-based KPP approach is promising with respect to certain parts of pupils’ digital and curriculum-based competence.