Learning Specialist – Becoming more advanced in the critical element of digital literacies involves thinking about your own literacy practices. It involves reflecting on how they have come about, what has influenced you, and how your actions affect others. Belshaw

Rocky View Schools is known for being progressive and making every attempt to support learners in terms of technology. The Technology for Learning Team recently brought Doug Belshaw to Banded Peak School and the Cochrane RancheHouse to do some professional learning around how to connect digital literacies to our other district initiatives including the 21st Century competencies and RVS’ Literacy and Numeracy Framework.

Doug Belshaw is a leading educational consultant in digital literacies, open learning and open badges. His TEDTalk and PhD research focus on the essential elements of digital Literacies. On May 1 and May 2 Rocky View Schools staff from across the district worked with Doug to learn more about supporting and developing digital literacies for our learners.

Currently, RVS offers online courses to learn more about digital citizenship and media literacy through MediaSmarts. Students can take Passport to the Internet: Student tutorial for Internet literacy and MyWorld: A digital literacy tutorial for secondary students. Information Communication and Technology (ICT) is the Alberta Education program of studies integrated into every class at all grade levels in our district.

On a daily basis our learners use technology to learn at school and at home. The ubiquitous nature of connecting of learners anyplace, anytime can be amazing and frustrating. How do we ensure that RVS learners develop authentic digital literacies that are timely and relevant in an ever changing world?

With Doug Belshaw, RVS staff discussed the strategies to provide deliberate practice around technology to develop digital skills while at the same time balancing digital learning contexts and mindsets.

We spent time defining and clarifying the context of  Digital Literacies at Rocky View Schools:


Then, we spent time introducing the 8 Elements of Digital Literacies to RVS staff which include:

More information about these digital literacies can be found in Doug Belshaw’s book, the Essential Elements of Digital Literacies and from Doug’s slideshare presentation.

The next step is not creating a new digital literacies framework. Instead, we will be examining all the ideas and strategies suggested over the two days by looking for common themes. We will then focus on aligning and connecting the themes offered through Alberta Education and current teaching practice throughout the district. Rather than creating a new vision, we will be working on enriching and supporting digital literacies by focusing on how we communicate and learn in online environments to ensure learners are successful, are engaged and are supported.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Verena Roberts, Learning for Technology Specialist.

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