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Multiple Iterations: Designing Tools for the Digital Literacy Toolkit

Multiple Iterations: Designing Tools for the Digital Literacy Toolkit

Our tool design process has relied on multiple iterations, and we plan to continue in this way. Although we have released the latest versions of several learning resources (elementary curriculum, fair use infographic/video/podcast/guide, one privacy analog game, the website prototype, the Minecraft Family guide, the federal student privacy law guide), we keep our communication channels open for feedback from our audiences and will iterate on them when needed. We are also currently iterating on resources from our Digital Literacy Toolkit that have not yet been released to the public, including the full middle school/high school curriculum, and one analog game.

Given the multi-audience nature of the Digital Literacy Resource Platform and its technological complexity, our design iterations have happened at a somewhat slower pace than the ones we have had with other learning resources. With the help of the Berkman Klein Center team of developers as well as with designers from the MetaLab studio, we have worked in ways to improve the DLRP. We have been able to design more navigational features (menus and filters), improve the search engine optimization, and optimized the website for disability access. We continue to iterate on ways in which we can provide more opportunities for feedback and to allow users to interact with each other.

A feature that we would like to provide but have not been able to address yet is specific user-centered interfaces that appeal to each of our audiences (youth, parents, teachers, school administrators). Given our technical and human capacity, we have decided to maintain the interface we have for now (one general multi-audience interface). In the future, we plan to overcome this challenge by running workshops and usability tests, initially with teachers and parents, and later with school administrators and young learners. Based on the feedback we get from these workshops, and if our technical and human capacity allow us, we will experiment with the creation of multiple user-centered interfaces. 

A challenge for the adoption of our tools, particularly our K-12 curricula, is the lack of existing structures for teaching digital literacies in the classroom. While administrators and teachers are often interested in providing online risk management strategies to their students, teachers typically already have a lot of required topics they must cover. , Even for those educators who are most enthusiastic about digital literacy instruction, it can be difficult to find the time to work in new curricular material. An additional challenge will be integrating our tools for teachers and administrators systemwide, particularly into their existing professional development programs and pre-service teacher programs. Finally, inequity of digital access-- that is, the varying capacities for students, parents, and educators to get online-- means that parts of the materials may be inaccessible for some, particularly when a curriculum incorporates videos or other material requiring high bandwidth.

In order to overcome the issues related to the implementation of our tools in schools we plan to collaborate with local teachers by providing a “train the trainer” session at BKCIS, as well as generate and share suggestions or “best practices” for how teachers might integrate aspects or all of the  curricular modules across their school’s entire curriculum such that no one teacher would be required to make too many additions to her own classroom. Moreover, we will continue to promote our learning tools among organizations that train teachers and administrators and design strategies to include the materials  into their programs.  (For instance, on September 30, 2016, one of our team members will be presenting our materials to roughly 100 educators through a webinar hosted by iKeepSafe and Bright Bytes.) We have also intentionally designed our materials such that the vast majority of the content can be accessed and incorporated into classrooms in a low tech or analog fashion; for instance, while our “Internet and You” elementary curriculum links to “Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius” videos from WGBH, the bulk of the curriculum can be used without the videos.

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