Digital literacy. It’s one of those words that I’ve seen and heard, but never actually used, or thought about what it means. Needless to say, my baseline for the subject is pretty low. When I set out to do some research I found this article by the International Library Association pretty helpful. It made an important distinction between digital literacy and digital skills. Digital skills are the technical aspects of technology–how to use Microsoft Word, or how to conduct an Internet search. Digital literacy looks at how to apply those skills appropriately. If we need to give a presentation, is it more appropriate to use Microsoft Word, or PowerPoint? When we do an Internet search, how do we verify the credibility of a source? Another resource I found was an article posted on EDWeek. They broke down digital literacy into three parts–consuming content, creating content, and communicating.
As the role of technology in our daily life grows, it is so important that students know how to use it appropriately. The essence of digital literacy seems to be responsibility. Students should only create and share content they are proud of, and willing to take responsibility for. We cannot control what goes out onto the Internet. However, we can teach our students how to use their judgment to responsibly consume and create.
Going forward, I would like to know what my role as a teacher is in creating digitally literate students. Involving morality in the classroom can be difficult, because our students come from such different backgrounds. What may be appropriate to do or say online in one house, may be inappropriate in another. While it may be difficult, teaching digital literacy is going to become crucial for our students if we want them to succeed in our ever evolving world.