What is Digital Literacy and How to Use it in the Classroom

What exactly is digital literacy?

Digital literacy has several definitions, info graphs, explanations, and interpretations. The majority of them share something in common. The American Library Association defines digital literacy as the capacity to utilize information and communication technology to discover, analyze, create, and transmit information, which requires both cognitive and technical abilities. To be considered digitally literate, you must possess certain abilities. These are the abilities:

Creativity and creation

Students must be able to innovate. Not only for the now but also for the future. We must educate them on how to use their knowledge to create significant objects and ideas. This demands imagination. Allowing pupils to be creative and include their hobbies and a unique flair in their work empowers them and prepares them for the world to come.

Communication/Netiquette
Communication that is both effective and appropriate is essential for digital literacy. Students must be able to share what they have learned, their views, and questions, and interact with their classmates to completely learn online. During live sessions, students will communicate verbally, but they will also communicate through essays, projects, presentations, assessments, and other assignments.

Netiquette is concerned with internet safety. Students may be unaware that their digital footprints will follow them for the rest of their lives. We must teach them to communicate respectfully at all times. They should also understand what constitutes inappropriate behavior, how to identify it, and who to report it to.

Collaboration
Collaboration is another life skill that students will take with them into the future. Students must comprehend the task and how to utilize the tools provided for that work to collaborate online. Face-to-face collaboration is not required for successful collaboration. The sky is the limit once pupils comprehend the platform. Sharing, listening, taking notes, and understanding each person’s position is all part of digital literacy communication.

Functional Knowledge

Most youngsters are at ease with technology. It’s part of their generational standards, just as my Walkman and Nintendo were for me and my contemporaries in the 1980s. Nobody had to teach me the fundamentals of these instruments. It was entirely natural. Children nowadays seem to be born with basic functional skills. They employ abilities such as online browsing, downloading, opening and shutting documents, utilizing applications, filming and editing movies, publishing to social media, and others. This occurs in their spare time while they are on social media, watching YouTube, and iPodsssaging with friends. Even small children are capable of manipulating V-tech toys, cell phones, and Osmos. There are a lot of kid YouTubers. Some people have their own channels, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and so forth. These talents transfer to class and academics, requiring our instructors to comprehend them to add value to the competence they already possess.

Although kids have these intrinsic talents, they need also to have additional functional skills relevant to the platforms and technologies utilized by the educational system to achieve digital literacy. Pupils must learn to type on a keyboard. Texting on a laptop or desktop is quite different from texting on a phone’s touchscreen. Many parts of technology have evolved throughout time, but one constant is the layout of the keys on a keyboard. Our pupils will work in jobs that do not now exist and will address issues that do not yet exist. It is critical to have strong functional skills in technology.

Thinking Critically
Any school situation requires critical thinking. Students must be pushed with rigor and the appropriate degree of constructive effort, forcing them to think more deeply than they would usually.

What is the Importance of Digital Literacy?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid shift from face-to-face to virtual learning demonstrated the importance of digital literacy. Virtual learning is now the sole mode of instruction and learning in many school districts. Students and parents are learning how to navigate new systems and accurately complete assignments. Even for hybrid students or those who still attend school face to face daily, computers and other devices such as Clear Touch boards, Promethean boards, iPads, clickers, and a plethora of applications and websites are used to complete assignments.

Consider this: what would you do if all of the technology you own and use every day stopped working for a week? How would you behave? What methods would you use to communicate, teach, and learn? How do you pay your bills, order food, listen to music, or watch movies? It is critical to have the skills necessary to thrive with digital literacy.

Methods for Promoting Digital Learning in the Classroom
Examine what your students already know and can do. Assign groups of students with varying abilities to work on assignments together. We all know that students can learn from one another. Teach pupils how to utilize the internet responsibly and how to assess which sites are reputable and worthwhile.

Allow students to choose how they want to complete assignments. Provide a selection board with multiple options. For example, students could complete any given assignment with a video presentation, a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation, a brochure, a journal entry or blog, a song they wrote, and so on. Allow students to share their skill sets with you. Teaching is the highest form of learning.

Encourage the five Ps of digital citizenship. Passwords, Private Information, Personal Information, Photographs, Property, Permission, Protection, Professionalism, and Personal Brand are examples of these. Students must understand the protocol; their responsibility to be smart, safe, and kind; and the potential consequences of using the internet and other digital sources.

Digital literacy is important for more than just students. Teachers and other school personnel must have these skills as well to provide their students with the best and most comprehensive education possible. Many teachers struggle with technology and simply do not comprehend it. Some people may find it intimidating. Degreed teachers who graduated 20 years ago or more did not learn about digital literacy and how to apply it in the classroom in college. This is why teaching has always been about personal and professional development.