With the online world growing, it is important that your students understand digital literacy. Preparing them for the skills they need to know in order to use technology safely and responsibly is a must.
The rise of edtech and the internet has opened up a new world that brings a lot of benefits. Especially to those that may not have had such opportunities before. It can empower and educate students, leading them to a path that is forever changing. Thus they will constantly be learning to stay on top.
In recent years, technology has become so advanced that we need it in every aspect of our lives. Helping to teach your students to be digitally literate will not only help them through their studies but will carry on into their work life.
Let’s start at the very beginning with the question, what is digital literacy?
What is digital literacy?
Digital literacy, also known as virtual learning and e-learning, has helped to improve the learning environment. It goes beyond the reading and writing skills, and brings an understanding of the present technology. Education has become more accessible for students due to technological advancement.
With digital literacy, students are able to learn how to do many things online. Search for information, evaluate, use it, share, and create content using all types of resources they have. This includes eBooks, videos, websites, and of course, social media.
Having good digital literacy gives students the foundation to use these tools efficiently. It is more than knowing how to use a computer or other device. Students need to learn critical thinking skills, online social engagement, and aware of the standard of behavior expected on the internet.
A prime example is with you currently reading this article. Perhaps you found it by simply googling ‘What is digital literacy?’ and stumbled upon it (we hope so anyway!). This act of researching to find knowledge is part of being digitally literate. It will be more than just you reading the full article (which we hope you will do). With our help, you will understand and gain more knowledge of this topic to apply it to your research.
For any K-12 institution and college, you want to ensure your students have the skills for the working world. Developing digital literacy skills is definitely crucial for today’s world.
Why is digital literacy important?
With students having access to any device to go online, whether it be for school or personal, understanding how to use and navigate through the digital world properly is important. By understanding how to be digitally literate, they gain more knowledge of what they are looking for but are also able to create their own content with what they find. This helps to develop their critical thinking skills, a skill truly beneficial for when they enter into the working world.
With technology evolving rapidly, especially since the pandemic happened, the use of technology even when you are not online may get more common in the future. With technology such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence being used more in our daily lives.
An example would be the Amazon Go Grocery Store whereby just using an app scanned at the beginning of your trip to the grocery store is all you need to do. Then you simply grab your items and go, paying later through the app. The e-wallet, a much simpler form of technology, is heavily utilized in society today.
Understanding and knowing how these new technologies work will be a crucial learning skill your students can have when they face the adult world. It can help prepare your students for the ever-evolving technological world. Technology is there to empower your students, but it also needs to be used properly.
Digital literacy in the classroom
Understanding just how important your students need to be digitally literate, means the classrooms need to be teaching it. We all know there are negative impacts of the internet and the upward trend of unhappiness and anxiety among children. Teaching them how to understand the internet world is just as important as it is teaching them writing and reading skills.
Creating and sharing digital content for class
Once the foundation of how to be safe online has been established, teachers can encourage their students to start creating their own content by using what they find and learn from the internet. This helps them to become responsible for creating content that can also be consumed by others in a knowledgeable and healthy way.
Teaching them how to create content using the many different formats that can be done online. There is more to creating content than just typing out an article using a document. The list is now endless, from short-form content like tweets, longer blog content, emails, and either just audio with podcasts or a full online video.
Creating digital content and then sharing their content with their classmates will allow them to enhance presentation skills. This leads to the whole group analyzing the work shown and question or debate the content. It leads to an even bigger group discussion that is held in a safe space for all the students. A great collaborative event for the classroom.
Your students will learn that any content they put out onto the online world is there forever. They need to understand the responsibility this gives them and to ensure that whatever content they do put online is something they are not just happy with but will also not hurt others.
Another important piece of advice to give them is that once they reach the stage for employment, their future employer can easily find any information they have placed online. This will help your students to think and ask the question ‘would someone employ me if they saw this?’
Being safe online
Allowing your students to understand how to be online safely is crucial. With the many threats of internet grooming, cyberbullying, and identity theft, clear guidelines need to be taught. This can ensure this doesn’t happen to them. They need the knowledge on how to protect their personal information.
With the rise of fake news being spread on social media, this topic must also be brought up and taught. Students can understand if the source is reliable or how to find one. This will help them to research from credible sources and enhance their critical thinking too.
Technology is always changing and evolving. Since the internet came bursting into our lives, you can already see how much it has changed. From the excruciating wait of trying to be connected to now video calling someone instantly who is across the other side of the world. Those that lived through the 90s have seen the drastic change. And you don’t even have to travel that far back. Just two years ago, no one knew what TikTok was. Now big brands are using the platform for their marketing ads.
With these quick changes and updates, schools and their faculty need to also stay updated. They can then teach their students all they need to know. It will also allow them to easily communicate with their lingo, relating to them better (but remember that We don’t talk about Bruno).
Technology has definitely brought about not just how we live our daily lives but how knowledge has become extremely accessible. This is why ensuring your students are digitally literate is an extremely important topic that all schools should be teaching.
If your faculty is interested in trying out the QuickSchools student information system, sign up for a free trial today! A bonus is we host webinars throughout the year. You and your faculty are always up to date and how you can use it to your advantage.