In contemporary society, the online and offline domains are becoming increasingly diffuse and this is certainly the case in relation to literacy practices, which take place across both physical and online spaces (Merchant, Gillen, Marsh and Davies, 2012). Whilst digital literacy does involve digital technologies, it may also be combined with off-line practices in any one context. In addition, some digital literacies are realised in the physical world but do not involve online spaces, such as using a smartphone to make notes; whereas other digital practices take place in online spaces such as virtual worlds. However, it is not appropriate to consider these practices as being either ‘real’ or ‘virtual’ – in this sense all-digital literacy practices are real in that they are carried out by human participants.
Learning that takes place across online and offline spaces is sometimes known as ‘blended learning’. Across the case studies, it is clear that the approaches to learning and teaching blended physical and virtual domains and pupils moved fluidly across these. (See Case Study 1; Case Study 2; Case Study 3; Case Study 4).Learning contexts that enable pupils to be flexible about the use of space also benefit from more relaxed timescales. Learning can then take place across timetabled sessions, in-between sessions and after sessions as pupils access their work from home. (See Case Study 9)
According to Carrington (2005) the ‘more far reaching consequences of changes in communications technologies are seen in their impact on children’; however, this change impacts on all identities in the learning process, including teachers, pupils, parents, and communities as a whole. One example of this is the way that social networking sites have opened up a new form of interaction. Traditional pupil-teacher relationships are less apparent and teachers are more often facilitators of learning, rather than providers of knowledge. Various permutations of relationships present themselves: learners as teachers; teacher as learners; and teachers and pupils as learners working in partnership towards a common goal (see also 2.5.3 Digital Natives).
For References see 3.5.5 References / Links to Further Information