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Digital Literacy Toolkit: updates and reflections

Digital Literacy Toolkit: updates and reflections

The Student Privacy Initiative at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society has continued to iterate on several outputs related to the Digital Literacy Toolkit, working to build and support trust in connected learning environments by empowering learners, caregivers, and educators with the knowledge and skills to minimize and manage risks online. We continue to be excited about working with a number of partners doing innovative work with educational stakeholders: MIT Scratch, New York Public Library, Press Pass TV, NuVu, National Writing Project, the Engagement Game Lab, the Walnut Hill School, WGBH, and iKeepSafe.

Just this past week, in fact, we published our first version of privacy and safety curricular modules for middle and high school students, designed to be used by classroom teachers, librarians, and other informal learning educators. These modules are meant to be used individually, but they can also be combined into playlists, and remixed to fit an educator’s particular needs for a community. Stay tuned for updates though - as we continue to pilot modules (and if you pilot, let us know what you thought!) - we’ll iterate towards a second version, to be available on the DLRP soon.

A couple of weeks ago we also released the prototype of a platform where we are hosting the curriculum and other educational resources related to safety, privacy, creative expression, and information quality. Tentatively called the Digital Literacy Resource Platform (DLRP), the website is an evolving repository of various kinds of multimedia educational content and resources created by the Berkman Center, with the support of our trusted partners and colleagues. We have built the DLRP using Drupal, an open source content-management framework written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License. This framework has enabled the implementation and management of a database of educational resources, organized in accordance with a taxonomy we created. All our tools have been annotated with metadata according to type of tool, intended audience, school grade, media format, release date, and thematic area.

We received great feedback from experts and other grantees at the DML-trust challenge grantee workshop that took place in UC Irvine on January 28. Among other things, we’re looking forward to future collaborations with our fellow grantees! In terms of specifics, the comments and suggestions during our presentation and the roundtable have been very useful for defining our next steps in terms of curriculum and website design.

  • Audience: We have designed the website and its functionality expecting four different types of users: school administrators, teachers, and youths. This kind of multi-audience approach creates a big challenge in terms of user-centered design. At the moment, the language and categories we are using for organizing the different resources make sense for educators and school administrators, but they might not be understandable to parents and youths. How can we modify this language so that it is more relevant for parents and young learners? Can we design a menu interface that is more appealing to youths and parents?
  • Distribution: How will people find the DLRP and the educational resources? Do these resources appear on a Google search?
  • Method for collecting feedback: Getting feedback from our potential users is important, but so far our prototype only includes a contact form and an email address. Are there other ways to get this kind of feedback? What kinds of user testing do we need to conduct?
  • Interoperability: Are the tools interoperable? How can they be plugged into external resources? Can they be easily shared outside the platform?
  • Scalability: How could this prototype be taken and scaled up? How do we create and involve more partnerships?

We plan to address all these issues as we continue iterating on the DLRP and adding new resources to it. Check it out, try some of the tools, and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you.

- Paulina, Andres, and the Berkman Center team

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