Secondary students' online use and creation of knowledge: Refocusing priorities for quality assessment and learning

Kay Kimber, Claire Wyatt-Smith


In this increasingly convergent and digital world, young people are reportedly using new media with high engagement outside school, yet disengaged in those schools where technology access is low or restricted. Such an apparent disconnection is magnified when predictions of their futures are tied to requisites including technological expertise, adaptability to change, innovative capacities and complex problem-solving abilities. Such future oriented capacities challenge traditional views that basic literate and numerate proficiency is sufficient for academic success. They also raise questions about the sufficiency of digital engagement for developing higher order critical and creative skills. Collectively, these future oriented capacities heighten educational imperatives for improving the quality of young people's learning outcomes in this rapidly changing online world. This article addresses these issues. It draws on diverse literature sources and an Australian research study (2003-2008) into secondary students' curricular digital literacies (Appendix A) to present conceptual advances in understandings about how to recognise, talk about and value signs of quality learning in student-created multimodal products. Finally, the article offers an assessment framework with potential for assisting students and teachers to access core concepts and mobilise those essential capacities for enhancing performance when using and creating knowledge online.

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