Unit 3: Analyzing Research Sources

Introduction

As sources of information have moved from books to the world-wide-web, many new kinds of sources are available in digital format. Understanding how to read, analyze and make connections between these sources is essential to developing understanding of topics during research, but this requires a set of skills called Digital Media Literacy (DLM). Botturi, L. (2019) describes digital media literacy according to two different views. "The first root is the tradition of Media Education (ME), which defined media literacy as the ability of a citizen to access, analyze, and produce information for specific outcomes. This definition emphasizes its critical nature, and puts forward the skills required to access messages, critically understand them, and to actively use a variety of instruments and formats for generating original messages. Critical understanding in this domain means learning about (a) the audiovisual languages that the different media use; (b) how media represent realities and the relationship between fact and fiction in the media; (c) the production processes of media messages (d) the relationship between the media and audiences While these ideas can be traced back to Len Mastermann’s seminal work Teaching the Media (1985), many later authors built on that basis in the following decades. Nonetheless, questions remain about how far, and in what ways, media education needs to be adapted or extended to tackle the challenges of the contemporary digital media environment.

The second strand that contributed to the development of the contemporary idea of DML has to do with technologies. In the early 90s with the diffusion of the web, and then at the turn of the century with the spread of social media and mobile devices, the technology landscape began a still-ongoing transformation. This raised many issues in terms of employment opportunities and democratic participation, so that states put digital skills high on their agendas, and promoted programs to support the development of functional skills, like the European Computer Driving License (ECDL) . Further developments in this domain came to define digital competences frameworks, like the European DigComp or JISC. Digital literacy education is supported by ad hoc educational environments and tools for coding (e.g. Scratch1 or AppInventor2) and educational robotics (e.g. Thymio3). The recent emergence of the concept of computational thinking (Wing, 2006), which originated in the area of technical sciences and engineering, echoes the stance for critical understanding proper of media education. Computational thinking is “thinking (...) about how humans solve problems in a way that can be operationalized with and on computers, and expresses the need to move from a functional to a broad cultural approach in digital literacy education, underlining the importance of understanding digital technologies in order to use them effectively, safely and in an active citizenship perspective."

These two views on DML both involve developing skills that help process and analyze digital media. This will be necessary when completing research as there are so many sources on the internet, it can sometimes be difficult to know what it real and what is just trying to catch your interest, but offers no real educational value.

Activities

Let's start by taking a look at what Digital Media Literacy is and how it will a play a role in the lives of students. Research involves sifting through not only written articles, but also videos, audio files, pictures and other digital media. This can become overwhelming if you have not developed an understanding of what digital media is, and how it can be searched for effectively and used for research assignments. In this video, the Professor describes digital media literacy through the lens of job related skills. He has an intersting view on digital literacy but explains why we need to learn how to navigate the digital world in order to succeed in school and life after school.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEnTrDhpCps

Assessment

Links

Unit 4 [1]

Mini-course home [2]

For further study here are some links on research: https://libguides.ucmerced.edu/think_like_a_researcher/read_lesson

http://www.kathleenamorris.com/2019/02/26/research-lessons/