Month: December 2016

Introducing the Digital Equity in Libraries Project

It’s been a pleasure sharing the findings from the Digital Literacy Acquisition research project as well as insights from other researchers.  As we move into 2017, we’ll be turning our attention to the Digital Equity in Libraries project that we’ve been conducting in collaboration with the Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon and with the support of a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (Grant # LG-06-14-0076-14).  

This work is part of a bigger effort toward digital inclusion within the metropolitan Portland area and is consistent with the Multnomah County Library’s determination to be a place where all people feel welcome and are safe to learn.  You can learn more about Portland’s digital equity and inclusion work in an article published in the Journal of Digital and Media Literacy.  Two of the authors, Cindy Gibbon and Matthew Timberlake, are members of the Digital Equity in Libraries team.  We are excited about the work being done in Portland and are hoping to see this type of work extended to other geographic areas.

During 2017, we’ll be sharing material from conference presentations, posts about our ongoing analysis, and papers that describe our methods and findings.  We are excited about this work, and we hope that you will be too.  

If you know of individuals or organizations that would be interested in this work, please share our blog with them.

We also continue to welcome guest bloggers. If you would like to be a guest blogger, please contact gloriajacobs@email.arizona.edu

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Digital Literacy Acquisition and The School to Prison Pipeline

We are honored to have been able to contribute a chapter to the newly released book Understanding, Dismantling, and Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline edited by Kenneth J. Fasching-Varner, Lori Latrice Martin, Roland W. Mitchell, Karen P. Bennett-Haron, and Arash Daneshzadeh.  This important volume contains chapters from scholars who dig deeply and thoughtfully into the relationships between schools and prisons and how vulnerable populations, and people of color in particular, are set on a destructive and seemingly inescapable path by the school-to-prison pipeline.  Our chapter adds a slightly different spin on our previously shared work into the role of digital literacy acquisition among and incarcerated population being prepared for reentry.  We draw from the same data and theoretical framework, but in the chapter we argue forcibly that the systems in place that keep access to the internet away individuals preparing for reentry serve to keep people in the pipeline.  We suggest that changes to policy that allow for digital literacy acquisition within the structure of a reentry program may provide an exit from the pipeline.  We hope you’re able to get your hands on a copy of this book. Let us know what you think!

Volunteers in an Adult Literacy Library Program Case Study

The Volunteers in an Adult Literacy Library Program case study describes how one library, in its role as a community anchor institution, served to connect people through volunteerism to the community through the digital literacy acquisition program. The case study describes the setting, how the digital literacy acquisition program fit within the mission of the library, and how the program functioned within the community. The digital literacy acquisition process is described as a people centered process. Volunteering as a tutor in the program was found to contribute to a sense of belonging and connection, provide a way for individuals to serve the community, and provide opportunities for growth and expanded perspectives. Because libraries have the unique mission to provide services to a wide population and are free of many of the more restrictive mandates of workforce development or similar programs, libraries are able to connect with a diverse array of individuals who might not otherwise have opportunities to learn digital literacy or to volunteer. As such, the findings from this research argue for continued funding of programs such as the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program within library settings.

Let us know what you think in the comments section. What have you experienced as you’ve worked to develop volunteers within your organization? How might the findings we set forth in this brief help you continue thinking about ways to serve your population of learners?

Tutoring Strategies and Organizing Learning

Tutors and lab coordinators developed a set of strategies they used for responding to learner needs and for organizing learning. These included tools, protocols, and a set of behaviors that shaped the tutor-facilitated aspects of the digital literacy acquisition process. The Tutoring Strategies and Organizing Learning brief describes the strategies that tutors used to foster successful engagement with technology among a wide variety of learners.

Let us know what you think in the comments section. What have you experienced in the area of supporting tutors as they develop skills in supporting learners acquiring digital literacy skills? How might the findings we set forth in this brief help you continue thinking about ways to serve your population of learners?

Learners Who Become Tutors

Finding tutors to support learners within a digital acquisition program can be a challenge. Our research found that one powerful approach to finding tutors was to recruit successful learners.  The Learners Who Become Tutors Brief describes the experiences of learners who went on to become tutors in a digital literacy acquisition program. It details the reasons why these learners went on to volunteer and the unique connections they made with learners to support them.

Let us know what you think in the comments section. What have you experienced in the area of transitioning talented learners into the role of tutors? How might the findings we set forth in this brief help you continue thinking about ways to serve your population of learners?