Digital Participation, Digital Literacy, and School Subjects: A review of the policies, literature and evidence

Ben Williamson, Cassie Hague

01 August 2009

This review aims to provide a critical introduction to the policies and research on the subjects of digital literacy and digital participation, seeking to show what they mean for classroom practice. Aimed at teachers and practitioners, especially those involved in continuing professional development programmes, and providers of teacher training or practice-based Masters courses, it reviews the major research and evidence on developing digital literacy and digital participation in the classroom. It highlights the fact that there is extensive theory, conceptual development and policy on digital literacy and digital participation, yet little evidence about how this can be translated into practice.

The review aims to support and enable practitioners to start developing informed strategies to promote digital participation in real school settings by introducing them to a range of debates and key concepts and by relating these concepts to practice. It should be used as the basis for supporting the development of teachers’ professional knowledge and skills in the critical use of digital media and technology for learning and for the enhancement of the curriculum. Throughout, examples of existing and emerging practices are included as breakout boxes to illustrate the conceptual content.

The document supports Futurelab’s Digital Participation project, a programme of research and development in collaboration with teachers in primary and secondary schools which seeks to model, trial and evaluate practical strategies for enhancing young people’s digital literacy in the classroom and their development of digital participation for life.