Why Digital Literacy Matters

What is Digital Literacy?

Digital literacy is using cognitive and technical skills to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information. One of the hardest parts I found in researching digital literacy was that it is hard to narrow down to one easily grasped idea. It is a widely diverse topic. Digital literacy includes sharing and building knowledge, virtual collaboration, digital citizenship, evaluating information online, and cloud computing. the link below in-depth on all these digital literacy components and more!

https://www.teachhub.com/technology-classroom-what-digital-literacy

Literacy is the ability to read and write and dealing with information. The easiest way to sum up digital literacy is reading, writing, typing, and working with information online or on a technological device. Handwriting becomes typing and now we have to have more research skills. Since the early 2000’s countless smart home technologies have been made available to the public. Growing up is not the same; neither is learning. Since then, every area has been going digital. Soon education will and that has only become more apparent with the recent pandemic. Much of what is done in class involves digital literacy with writing papers, reading, or solving math equations.

Why Does it Matter?

A picture I included as the closing to my first YouTube video for distance learning for my kiddos!

My school does most things online as each classroom has a class set of Chromebooks. Our administration wants as many things done online as possible. We have a math program we use everyday for math assignments. Our students need to be able to use the technology and programs and understand the platform to do the assignments. Our reading class (as well as most of our remediation) is done online through a separate platform. That program determines most of their grade. Most of our students read and write roughly three grades behind. When literacy is compromised, digital literacy often becomes more important.

9 thoughts on “Why Digital Literacy Matters

  1. Ok, Wonderful job here!! I love this post!! What a great graphic, also; well found!! I appreciate your insight on the affect digital learning has on young people’s literacy. Do you think that it is the effects of learning on digital platforms that has students’ reading “three grades behind” or is it the residual effects of educational degredation brought on by lazy societal decision making? Do you think that traditional literacy is totally distinct from digital literacy, or that the latter could be an evolutionary consequence of the former?

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    1. I could not say what is the direct cause of my students’ literacy trends as I only had them in front of me for half a semester. I would say from what I have seen it is a combination. Students never found a passion in reading. there was a spark when technology was introduced but that too eventually faded away. I see literacy and digital literacy as a square and rectangle respectively. A square (literacy) is a rectangle (digital literacy), but a rectangle is not a square. Digital literacy is broader and literacy is underneath it.

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  2. I like your views on how digital literacy is viewed. And how do you think digital literacy helps promote basic literacy? Do you think it helps or hinders it? I am at odds about reading on a computer screen can help a child become a better reader to a certain point over reading paper books.

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    1. I believe for many parts it goes hand in hand. Students can write a five-paragraph essay and the can type it. Some of the steps are different but overall it is the same idea. Digital literacy is just broader than literacy. The reading program was originally brought in as motivation I believe, but the flame has died out.

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  3. Why does it matter? I agree that students will be behind if they don’t embrace technology. I still have students that ask for a paper copy because they don’t want to record a response on Flipgrid, etc. Sometimes I feel that they want the easy way out since the worksheets usually require less problem solving, preparation, etc. However, I do believe that some students struggle with keeping things organized online (even when we as teachers feel it is very organized). The question remains, is there a way to find a happy medium?

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    1. Stacy, your example is something I would definitely challenge with students. A Flipgrid response requires planning, speaking skills, and preparation as you mentioned. A worksheet is not the equivalent. An equivalent would be an in-person opportunity to respond aloud.

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    2. I definitely struggled with finding a happy medium because my administration wanted things done online. There were times where I could not figure out what went wrong with some organization and we had to start fresh. Throughout the time I was in the classroom, I never found a sweet spot sometimes I would lean more on online resources, other times paper or class activities. I suppose that is a skill I will gain in time!

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  4. One thing really bothers me that you said, “Our administration wants as many things done online as possible.” Why? Is this to make sure that they get the most bang for their buck? I have seen this before and although I’m a big proponent for technology in the classroom, it needs to be intentional. We would never tell teachers, use the textbook as much as possible or use crayons and markers as much as possible. Technology is very much a tool that does not replace quality pedagogy.

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  5. BAsically! At my first staff meeting at the end of my first week, I heard about how their programs were not getting used enough and the school had spent money on it so we all needed to use it across grades. I completely agree!

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