Week 4

Hook: Decoding in Digital Spaces

This week we examine how to decode the navigational, operational and stylistics of digital spaces. This includes decisional factors that are embedded into digital texts and media that illuminate inherent biases and understanding. Characteristics and conventions within modes of digital text will be examined. Norms and practices in digital environments will be explored e.g. safety, behaviours, privacy, sharing.

At the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • distinguish specific code breaking skills required by students and teachers to effectively access familiar and unfamiliar digital resources (e.g. D2L, Zoom, Twitter)
  • analyze common operations, conventions, navigational mechanisms, stylistics and modalities found in digital resources
  • critique and evaluate the affordances and biases of digital resources to determine their efficacy in the classroom with an eye to digital citizenship, student safety and exceptional learners
  • justify teaching and learning about code breaking (operations, conventions, navigation, style, modality) as part of curriculum delivery 

Direct Instruction: Code Breaking – more than < html >, Java, or #hex code

Code breaking focuses on how digital spaces are accessed, used, understood and created for a variety of user populations. What affordances are ‘baked into’ the tools to ensure the user experience is positive and productive? What assumptions are made by the creator and/or the user in order to access and understand how to move within the digital space?


Elements of code breaking outlined in Hinrichsen & Coombs

Listen to the embedded recorded podcast created by one group of students from last year’s 3516 Course work and posted to Soundcloud to deepen your understanding of code breaking as a digital literacy.

Week 4 Decoding in Digital Spaces

Guided Practice: Activities

  • Contribute to the D2L discussion forum. Use one of the prompting questions to guide your post and a response to a classmate’s post.
    • As mentioned above, you can contribute annotations and notes on the Hinrichsen & Coombs article using Hypothes.is as a substitution for the D2L discussion contribution. This is your choice of where to add your voice in digital spaces.

From your own experiences, where have you had success or faced challenges in ‘breaking the code’ in order to access, use, understand or create in digital spaces?

​How can you teach students to decode digital spaces effectively?

How can you integrate digital literacies into teaching and learning about ‘code breaking’ when introducing or using web or electronic resources?

  • Explore and ‘code break’ in Google Draw.

Take a moment to add to our shared and collaborative Google Draw space(s). Since there is limited room on one page in Google Draw, there are several spaces where you can tinker and play while you decode the tools, stylistics, conventions, and mechanisms in Google Draw. Select one of the links below. You can add an image from Unsplash, Pixabay, or Morguefiles. OR you could find an icon from either the Noun Project or Flat Icon. Each of these sites can be accessed free (but some may require a login for downloads).

Google Draw – page one

Google Draw – page two

Google Draw – page three

Google Draw – page four

Google Draw – page five

JOIN into the optional Zoom session with Melissa Jansen, TVO Ambassador. This session will be recorded and posted here for future reference. This will focus on the many tools and resources available through TVO for Ontario educators.

Independent Practice: Inquiry Project

FEEDBACK: As part of your ongoing independent practice to develop your critical digital literacies, this week you will provide feedback to your group in Google Chat as you each share and talk about your inquiry project plans. By sharing and examining each other’s projects, you will continue to iterate and shape your own project work.

MAPPING YOUR PROJECT: This week you should also explore some resources that will help you complete your project. Examine not only the information that directly relates to your question, but also work on the concept map for your project. You can create this visualization in Google Draw, using the shapes, colours, icons, arrows, lines, weights, styles to depict how your project will be sequenced, elements that will be included in your project, links to URLs that have key information for your project, etc. This map is not a static image but can be iterated and shaped as you progress further into your project.

Keep in mind that this map will be submitted at the end of Week 5. Consider carefully and critically what digital tools you may use to create and share your inquiry project with your classmates, cohort members, and instructor(s). Consider carefully how this project can be incorporated into work you are completing for another class/course so this work can inform and support your efforts to complete other tasks.


Return to your Grade Grid to capture what you have accomplished this week. At the end of this week your instructor will review the grade grid and confirm your progress through the course.

Supplemental Resources