There was great discussion in class this week (and not just about a certain entertaining Google Reader Tutorial…). We framed our discussion on screencasts by talking about different types of literacy first, all related to information literacy. We talked about how digital literacy–a term the government, among others, likes to use–perhaps doesn’t quite cover issues related to information, its systems, its management, etc. We also talked about transliteracy, a concept I still need to let sink in and wrap my mind around.
My first take on transliteracy is that it means new ways of communication, or the morphing of one type of communication into another (reading a blog instead of a novel was one example from class). It also seems that transliteracy is about how we’re taking our analog communication “tools” (books, magazines, handouts are more literal examples) and creating digital tools from them. How do screencasts come into this? Perhaps screencasts are the next best thing–or just as good as–your friend or boss or teacher sitting beside you and showing you how to do something on your computer. A related concept that was also emphasized was transferability–that is, pointing out how a new skill can be used across platforms, programs, devices, etc. It may potentially be challenging to take the skill out of context to what you’re teaching and connect it somewhere else for the user, but when I think back to being taught new technology, it was very helpful to learn that a certain command could be used for a variety of functions when working at the command line on a computer. We also touched on whether online learning is working–we have no answer for this now, but a good thing to keep in mind as this class progresses.
To that end, a theme that emerged for me from this week’s class was problem-solving. It first came up when we talked about the context for our screencasts. Why does the topic matter? What problem is it solving? I like the idea of solving a problem for someone, easing their burden if something is stressing them out and I have some knowledge to pass on. Screencasts are a really neat way to do that, packaging up a little tool and delivering it easily online for anyone to find and use at their leisure; they can even pause and replay parts as needed. I’m glad we talked about target audience in relation to the ADDIE model. It’s one thing to identify the problem, but you also need to tailor your solution to your audience; being warm and friendly is a given no matter the audience, but the way you put that across may be different depending on your audience (based on their age, for example).