Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research
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Copy, cut and paste: How does this shape what we know?

Research team: Elaine Khoo, Craig Hight, Rob Torrens, Bronwen Cowie (Research Mentor) and participating University of Waikato lecturers.
Project dates: January 2013-December 2014
Partnership: Faculty of Education, Faculty of Science and Engineering and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Screen and Media Studies)

Description of the study:

The project is funded through the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI).

This research aims to explore, examine and theorise how the notion of software literacy is understood, developed and applied in tertiary teaching-learning contexts and the extent to which this understanding is useful when translated into new contexts of learning with and through software. We view this understanding as crucial and relevant to ensure all students and lecturers are better supported in teaching and learning processes that are mediated through and focused on software. This research asks the question to what extent and how does student software literacy develop and impact on the teaching and learning of discipline specific software in formal tertiary teaching settings?

We define software literacy as the expertise involved in selecting, using and critiquing the software when this is used to achieve particular goals. We hypothesise that there exists three progressive tiers of development towards software literacy.

Copy, cut and paste are functions naturalised and embedded across different software but are poorly understood as tools that shape our engagement with knowledge, culture and society in the 21st century. Most people develop proficiency with ubiquitous software packages informally through everyday engagement. Tertiary students are assumed to be able to translate this informally developed knowledge and skills into formal settings to successfully accomplish learning tasks and process. Emerging evidence internationally and locally indicate a dearth in this digital generation’s basic academic literacy skills for successful learning despite their technological competency. This research is important to investigate how students acquire knowledge and skills to use software and the extent they are able to apply and extend these to successfully learn and act in formal tertiary learning contexts.

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