With all the talk of “Bring Your Own Device” and the burgeoning educational apps available, digital literacy continues to be a vital element of both the formal and informal curriculum.
What is digital literacy?
Digital literacy is a blanket term understood to mean the ability to use, apply and think critically about how to use technology and the internet to navigate through one’s real and digital lives. As educators it is something we teach through direct instruction, but also through good modeling as well.
How can parents and educators model good digital literacy skills?
There are abundant resources to help educators and parents develop their own digital literacy skills. One of the most effective ways is to utilize the local branch libraries and their online resources. Many branches will offer a ‘how-to’ course. All you and your students need is a valid library card.
To develop a more advanced and tailored approach, there are many resources on the web that you can access; however, if you want a strong curriculum for both you and your students Microsoft offers a digital literacy adaptive curriculum. It has a basic, standard and advanced curriculum that teaches you everything from keyboarding tutorials to creating an online footprint. The Ontario College of Teachers advisory on Social Media (see the video resource for the OCT advisory) requires educators to pay attention to our own use of technology and our own digital footprint.
However, one of the most immediate and important resources for our students is to help them navigate around the most popular search engine in use, Google. Over the summer, I completed the “Power Searching with Google” certificate program, and feel that much more competent to teach Google searching to my students. It teaches the user about how Google conducts its searches, how to optimize their own searches, as well as translation and other dynamic Google products.
The delivery of this certificate program is a model of 21st century learning, and the content is key to success in our digital world. It operates in discreet units with assessments and a final evaluation.
Digital literacy is the key to success in our digital world
Digital literacy is something our students need, and ultimately want because it can bring intelligent structure to their lives, and makes their own use of technology that much more effective, efficient and safe. That is what we want for ourselves and our students as well.