How important is digital literacy in the classroom? When you consider that every student today must learn to be responsible for how they use technology to interact with the world around them, the answer is clear. It’s crucial.
Literacy skills have always been important. Written letters transitioned to telephone skills and then internet capability. Today’s students are learning literacy in ways their teachers could not have imagined, with children as young as three years old learning technology just like they do the spoken language.
Digital literacy is just one component of teaching children how to be digital citizens. And its definition has shifted over the years creating an environment where technology has permeated the classroom to a degree not dissimilar to the workplace.
Digital Literacy Skills
Digitally literate teachers can use their skills to encourage a strong sense of digital citizenship in their students. Here are just 3 reasons digital literacy skills are of such great importance for today’s educators.
It’s Bigger Than Google
To be sure, Google is a power digital tool. But most students concentrate on the search itself instead of understanding why. To achieve deep learning, teachers must also teach students to:
- Evaluate and question their sources
- Draw strong conclusions
- Reach for new levels of creativity
Knowing how to use dozens of different software does not make a student digitally literate. Teachers must guide students into how to bring their answers to the next level.
Most students may be adept at using digital tools, but their understanding of everything these tools offer is often limited. For example, they may love posting selfies to Instagram but they may not think of it as a creative platform for art or other subject projects. Teachers can inspire students to use today’s fun technology as the powerful tools they are for expanding learning opportunities.
Encourage Lifelong Learning
Technology is now firmly entrenched in daily living. Educators must begin technological education early on, continually improving teaching techniques to support student personal and career growth.
Embracing digital literacy is key to encouraging learning from pre-k through adulthood. It is essential to a school’s success and a student’s lifelong improvement.
To increase a student’s chances of success, schools and administrators must place a growing emphasis on digital literacy, not just on teaching how that technology works.
Banner image credit: “Ipad Writers” by BarbaraLN is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0