Digital Mediums and Digital Literacies

I have become increasingly interested in three interrelated areas: 1) employing digital technologies in the classroom (iPads and Prezis); 2) utilizing digital spaces to open collaborative research projects (Comment Press); and 3) examining technology as a medium.  The relations among these three areas is somewhat obscure to me, but I sense an underlying concern with representation and exposure: how do particular technologies mediate content?  Using iPads in the classroom, for example, alters social dynamics even as it sustains a more vibrant syllabus—the technology mediates content in a way that both limits and expands.  Comment Press (a plugin for the popular WordPress blog platform) can support interactive collaborative work, but it enforces a form of navigation that I find both liberating and confining.  All this is to say that while I employ digital technologies to enhance my teaching and research, I am also increasingly aware of those technologies as digital mediums that represent images and texts in fascinating and frustrating ways.  I would like to think more about technology as a medium and the kinds of literacies we require to be more reflective users of it.

Categories: Digital Literacy, Session Proposals, Session: Talk |

4 Responses to Digital Mediums and Digital Literacies

  1. Ken,
    this sounds great! When you use iPads in the classroom do all the students have them? I find with both iPads and laptops in the classroom/lecture hall that the distraction factor is huge. I’m also curious whether anyone has used any (or is developing any specifically Jewish Studies) Inkling books in the classroom. I love them but can never find ones that are relevant, and I am also concerned about the access issue. Other general followup question: where/how do they teach digital literacy at your school?

  2. kkoltunf says:


    I received a grant here at Haverford College to use iPads in the classroom. The way I do it is that I have three iPads that I disperse around the table for eleven students to use in class. When a student wants to look up something or show an image, s/he grabs an iPad and then projects it on the larger screen (we can actually project/mirror up to four ipad screens). At the end of class I collect the iPads, so this is “public” technology and actually works well. Students do not hide behind their laptops (very few bring them to class – I have a policy about how they can and cannot use laptops in the classroom), and they really can’t use the iPads to check email, chat, etc. You can check out my syllabus and read about what I’m trying to accomplish:

    Now to the question of digital literacy, I think we need to sit down and talk about that one!! I look forward to meeting you and continuing this discussion.

  3. Ken,
    thanks for posting the link to the syllabus–very helpful! I’d love to hear more about how you project/mirror the iPads at THATCamp.

  4. Barbara says:

    I just gave my first open book, open laptop midterm. Interesting experience, and probably one that I will tweak and repeat, looking forward to sharing with thatcamp participants next week,

    Sent from my iPad!

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