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ICT literacy in the humanities and social sciences : course’s content characteristics and integration models


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Miljko, Andrea. (2017). ICT literacy in the humanities and social sciences : course’s content characteristics and integration models. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Information Science.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij informacijskih i komunikacijskih znanosti) [mentor Špiranec, Sonja].

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This dissertation will aim to describe the ways ICT is used in education and the way it influences learning process, learning environment, students, faculty members and education. Lack of information on the concept of ICT literacy is evident in higher education institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, without precise definition and overall depth analysis on its need within the entire academic community. ICT can not only play an important role in achieving different activities such as teaching, learning, research, application, development of curriculum and collaborative learning, but also determine the future of education system through big restructuring of methods and management. Under the influence of modern technologies, education underwent dramatic change over the course of several recent decades. New education models require the entire former so called traditional teaching and learning process to change as well as organisation of contemporary environment that is based on contemporary educational theory. Through ICT, learning can occur anywhere and at any time. Based on ICT teaching and learning no longer depend exclusively on printed materials. Behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism are the three mostly used learning theories employed in creating educational environment. These theories of learning had been developed at a time when Web 2.0 technologies of today did not exist therefore they do not adequately explain learning within the environment of new technologies. The new approach to learning model is called connectivism. Connectivism is a theory which studies the ways in which people acquire knowledge in the modern digital age. According to the postulates of this theory the bonds that people make with others greatly influence the process of learning, and learning represents the process of continuous gathering of new facts and questioning of existing knowledge. Technology has a potential to improve many aspects in daily life, including learning. It has been proven that technology increases engagement of a student and outcomes of learning. Collaborative technology is usually used to support group collaboration; however, it can be customized for the need of collaborative learning. This connection between collaborative learning and collaborative technologies is associated with computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL-Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning). However, the advancement of technology extended CSCL to other technologies. The example of this is mobile CSCL (mCSCL). The development of mobile technology made collaborative learning even more interesting, now students can use their mobile devices for learning anywhere and at any moment. mCSCL makes collaborative learning possible everywhere and therefore has advantages over the collaboration in traditional educational method. Literacy is a multidimensional phenomenon and is also the subject of research in social, humanities and natural sciences. Different disciplines emphasise different aspects of literacy; linguistics – the importance of language, cognitive psychology – mental processes employed in generating meanings, etc. Educational sciences are focused on literacy and they gather various theoretical views and results of research in creating their methods for educational literacy. Interest in literacy and its nature has been increased in the past ten years or so. This prompted awareness of the importance of literacy in everyday life and its impact on all segments of personal and social life. New ways of using literacy are reflected in the change in the definition of literacy. In the past, literacy was described as the ability to read and write using alphabetic and numeric systems relevant to a language, culture and society. Nowadays, adequate literacy also requires critical understanding and thinking about the written material, as well as creative and proper communication in writing. ICT literacy, as the subject of this paper, represents one of the literacies of the 21st century. In January 2001 ETS (Educational Testing Service) in the International ICT Literacy Panel defined ICT literacy as the ability to use digital technologies, communication tools and/or networks in solving information problems with the aim to function in information society. ICT literacy becomes an important prerequisite for socialisation and professional career. Therefore, education as an important factor of social development plays a key role in ICT literacy. Basic ICT knowledge and skills which ICT literate person should possess are continuously updated and refined as they have to keep pace with the rapid development of ICT. In addition of ICT literacy, this paper also presents other literacies of the 21st century (information literacy, computer literacy, technological literacy, digital literacy and media literacy). Information literacy represents a set of skills, attitudes and knowledge necessary when we need information in order to solve a problem or make a decision, but also when we need to articulate such need for information in terms of search and language, then how to effectively search for information, find, interpret and understand it, organize and asses its credibility and authenticity, asses its importance, forward it to others if necessary, and finally use the information for fulfilment of pragmatic goals. In institutions of the Western Balkans the concept of information literacy is largely unknown to the general public and is usually not even mentioned. Prior to the 1960s computers were mostly used in scientific laboratories or in academic environment. During the 1960s widespread use of computers in business occurs. Such computers were large machines which occupied a lot of space and were mostly operated and programed by computer experts. At that time, to be “computer literate” meant to be able to professionally manage the data. Studies have shown that there is a general consensus as to how to define computer literacy. In other words, the term can have different meaning for different people. In the beginning, the definition was based on the ability for computer programming. Experts in the field of computer science assume that a computer-literate person must be able to read and write computer programs in at least one joint programming language. For those not trained in computer science, computer literacy assumes being able to use computer for practical purposes. Technological literacy can be defined as ability to use, manage, assess and understand technology products and systems. Such ability, however, requires certain mental abilities such as: problem solving, visual image, critical thinking and concluding. Development of these competencies is crucial for technological literacy. Media literacy in the recent years became highly significant branch of communication, the job of which is to educate media audience for effective and quality approaching, analysing, evaluation and use of the media. In the modern media environment, media literacy is probably more important than ever. Cultural studies and critical pedagogy have begun to teach us how to recognize the omnipresence of media culture in modern society, the growing trends towards multicultural education and the need for media literacy that solves the problems of multicultural and social differences. In order for the most important process for mass media to begin, also important for media literacy, digitalisation had to take place. Digitalisation implies merging text, images and sound on a new platform that we call multimedia. The development of information and communication technology and its integration in all areas of social life lead to the development of digital literacy. In the humanities and social sciences ICT literacy plays a valuable role. It enriches education and encourages deep and authentic learning. In recent years the humanities and social sciences have focused on the imperative need for ICT literacy. This shift occurred when the students and the faculty members became dependent more than ever on ICT in scientific research. Even though this change took place, one question about ICT literacy remains infrequently asked in the literature. As students conduct scientific research they employed their ICT competencies in everyday practice – regardless of how well they are able (or not) to measure the standards of ICT literacy set by university authorities. In order for students to be able to respond to challenges in the era of ICT domination, they must acquire skills and competencies related to the use of ICT, and in order to do so, they of course need ICT course. ICT literacy is an important prerequisite for socialisation and professional career, it is therefore necessary to provide ICT literacy during formal schooling. Higher education system faces challenge of transformation of curriculum and teaching and learning process to enable students to effectively function in this dynamic, information-rich and continuously changing environment. Systematic integration of ICT literacy in university curriculum is not a process that will happen overnight. It requires careful planning, cooperation and coordination of schools, departments and institutions of higher education. Traditional education is based on cognitive learning, therefore, on theoretical knowledge and its application. In that sense attention was paid to what is known and understood, how it is explained, connected, applied, analysed and synthesized with understanding and valorisation of the learnt as the final outcome. In defining outcome of learning, the terms such as define, enumerate, name, call, analyse, and calculate, project, etc. are used in order to demonstrate the achievements of students. Bloom suggests certain active verbs that characterize the ability to demonstrate the achievements of students; such verbs are crucial for writing the outcome of learning. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, unfortunately, there is no systematic approach to defining curriculum based on the outcomes of learning. On the contrary, there is significant heterogeneity in that sense and each higher education institution develops its own approach. Special problem is the formulating learning outcomes at the course level and the entire curriculum which is primarily in the domain of teachers. Attention must certainly be paid to the role of learning outcomes more than it was the case earlier. This thesis will also provide insight to the current level of ICT literacy of students and faculty members, representation of ICT courses in humanities and social sciences studies at the University of Mostar, differences in ICT literacy etc. The survey was conducted over the students and faculty members at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Mostar. The examinees anonymously filled the questionnaire which consists of two parts. Part one refers to personal characteristics of the examinees, their habits of using and working on computer and is adjusted to students and teachers. Part two is a proficiency test of 15 randomly selected questions identical for all examinees, drafted in a way to examine how skilful the examinees are in information and communication technologies, i.e. how ICT literate they are. The studied variables are presented descriptive-statistically as arithmetic mean (age) and as frequencies and percentage, depending on whether they are categorical or continuous variables. Each question in the ICT literacy test is separately shown through the frequencies and variables according to the accuracy of the answers of the test sample. Also, the results of the ICT literacy test were shown on the interval scale, treating the answers to the test as a simple linear combination of correct answers. Based on the test results, the model of systematic development of ICT literacy is suggested. Bloom’s taxonomy will determine outcomes and competencies requires for ICT literacy, i.e. for ICT literacy course.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: ICT, education, higher-education environment, literacy, ICT literacy, learning and teaching, outcomes and competences, course
Subjects: Information sciences > Knowledge organization
Departments: Department of Information Science
Supervisor: Špiranec, Sonja
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij informacijskih i komunikacijskih znanosti
Date Deposited: 17 May 2017 09:15
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2017 14:51

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