Digital literacy means being literate in digital tech. The idea is that a person using tech or, more specifically, web technologies must be aware of the right way to utilize them. The abundance of resources, tools, and apps makes it easy for anyone to fall prey to the ill effects of the web. Being digitally literate helps one to find and avoid practices that are not ethical.
Classrooms educators have taken the responsibility for helping learners become digitally literate. Digital literacy in the classroom is essential to be addressed because learners are doing most of their work online, so it’s essential to teach them about the ethical use of the web. Teaching digital literacy in the classroom is crucial as it is one of the essential skills educators must foster and inspire in the classrooms.
The elements of digital literacy are cultural, cognitive, constructive, communicative, confident, creative, critical, and civic. Educators should consider the following pointers as they contemplate teaching digital literacy in the classroom:
- Teach learners to evaluate and question their sources. Learners need to know the difference between a trustworthy and untrustworthy source. With the abundance of sources, learners must be able to compare and evaluate the sources they use.
- Teach learners how to draw a strong conclusion. Learners may be able to find the right answer to a problem, but what good is that search if they’ve only memorized the logic to get them there? It’s up to educators to teach that logic and to contextualize the answer.
- Push learners to new levels of creativity. Once learners have a deeper comprehension of the answers they find, push for creative application of that knowledge. This could be anything from posing related questions to having learners utilize other digital platforms.
- Digital literacy doesn’t mean knowing how to utilize every piece of software that learners will encounter. Educators should inspire learners to seek out and learn the software they need to know to do what’s required.
- In a culture where learners are constantly sharing content, they may not know what plagiarism is, let alone when they’re doing it. Educators should set clear anti-plagiarism policies at the beginning of each year.
- Cyberbullying takes place through the use of technology and is an issue in schools and online communities. And while today’s learners may be digital natives, they still need to be taught that social norms apply to online behavior. Resources should be applied to stop cyberbullying and to help learners who are being bullied. Being an excellent citizen of the digital world is no different than it is in the physical world.
- Read past the first page of Google. SEO controls a lot of what appears on the first page. Most of us only have the patience to scan what shows up on the first page. Teach your learners to delve deeper, search in different channels such as Scholar and News, and keep going until information no longer seems relevant.
- Evaluate two or three other sources before concluding. The best research approaches a topic from as most angles as possible. If you’re crafting an argument, search for facts that may prove your theory wrong. If you’re looking for supporting evidence, be sure it comes from a diverse selection of sources.
Can you think of any additional tips for implementing digital literacy in the classroom?