Many US teachers know that digital literacy skills are of the utmost importance in educational institutions. Still, this fact doesn’t make it any easier to teach it. First, it is essential to find out what these skills are and why they are so important.
What is Digital Literacy?
The main idea behind digital literacy skills is knowing how to use modern technological devices effectively and in the right way. It has gone a far way from the usual typed books and now includes not just eBooks, but even websites, videos, and social media platforms.
In the US, digital literacy has become a highly valuable course, and in many of its states, specific standards for teaching has been created. Here are the main topics that are recommended to include in the curriculum:
- Safety online
- Information literacy
- Digital communication rules
- Digital footprints knowledge
- Information literacy.
Why Is Digital Literacy So Important?
Students must be able to learn to use all of those services to pursue educational tasks, find inspiration, and come up with unique ideas to share in class. Thanks to this skill, students will be able to succeed more easily after graduation. Moreover, after acquiring such skills, they will know how to interact with digital platforms and use their services more effectively.
Students should have a good understanding of the digital technology world and literacy skills since it can help them:
- Remember new information
- Find answers
- Interact with people from any place in the world
- Create digital projects to enhance the learning process and demonstrate an understanding of new material
- Learn to come up with striking conclusions
- Enhance creativity.
How to Bring Up Digital Literacy in Class?
Remember that technology shouldn’t be brought up as a substitute for the traditional teaching and learning activities. Yes, it can be of great help, but it cannot be a replacement. Students should be taught to use the available technology tools to solve problems and increase their creativity.
For example, if a student has been given a writing task and needs some assignment help, he or she should be able to use technologies to do research and to make the writing process go more smoothly. Moreover, students should be aware of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
Here are the other main points that should be brought up when teaching digital literacy skills:
Social Media Usage for Learning
Nowadays, some students may have even more skills of using social media platforms for communication and collaboration then teachers. So, you should not focus on teaching the students how to use those platforms, but to explain and show how they can benefit from using social media in an educational context. For example, on Twitter, one can make polls for research purposes.
Learn to Manage Digital Distractions
Without a doubt, online resources have made the learning process a lot easier in many ways, but it also has many distractions that come with them. The research concluded that many of the students, as well as teachers, struggle with digital disturbance. If you tend to scroll through your social media accounts and at the same time try to do some homework assignment, then you are also one of those people and need to learn how to manage this problem.
Research says that people that try to multitask in such a way tend to get much lower grades then they wish they had. Some of the practices that may help you with managing this distraction are – turning your phone notifications off when studying, setting a goal for phone/laptop usage, making tech brakes, etc.
Help Students Go Beyond Their Comfort Zone
Everyone has a comfort zone when it comes to using technology. However, not everyone may realize it. For each person, it means something different. For example, you might be used to writing short paragraphs and hashtags on Instagram. It means that it is your comfort zone. Getting out of it will presuppose writing more personal and in-depth posts to share your opinion with others. If a student is already familiar with text blogging, you can offer that student to try something more out-of-the-box, for example, podcasts, or video blogging.
Not all of the sources found online are credible and can be trusted. Yes, it is a good thing that so much information is available online, but this also increases the chance of finding misleading information and fake news. So, it is essential to teach the students to analyze the information that they find over the Internet and become critical thinkers.