Thursday, 1 September 2016

Embedding Digital Literacy

Incorporating digital literacy and technology into lessons and activities is a sure way for teachers to facilitate their learner's construction of knowledge and meaning; it certainly is a great way to promote higher level thinking.

Is embedding digital literacy in your curriculum working for you?

Digital literacy learning applies to the more traditional academic disciplines of reading, writing, and maths; as well as other areas of academia. There is no question that taking advantage of technology to embed deeper meaning into subject areas will enhance the learning environment. Technology would provide opportunities with collaborative learning, creativity, sharing, as well as allow all learners to participate in the learning process.

How Can We Embed Digital Literacy in the Classroom?

Technology is an advantage in the teaching environment for the following reasons: 

  •  Motivates learners because of their enjoyment and ease of use with various technological mediums
  •     Reaches learners of various learning styles and levels
  • Allows learners to create and design their own unique   products reflective of their personalities and learning needs/styles
  •  Encourages learners to manipulate media to construct their own meaning
  • Enables learners to easily share their learning with teachers, families, and peers
  • Gives learners the chance to explore technological mediums which will inevitably increase job skills that employers look for in the workforce
Just like text has different genres, technology too requires that learners be able to think critically about different types of media to evaluate purpose and to construct their own meaning.

Four Layers of Thinking

In all areas of academia, where there are identified areas of weakness, learners can be supported and compensated with the use of technology. For example, if a learner has difficulty with spelling and grammar, they can compensate by using a word processing program.  In areas of math, learners can use computers or calculators or their mobile phone. The use of technology to compensate for areas of academic weakness is wonderful – it “levels the playing field” so to speak, and allows all learners to learn.

However, technology does not compensate for lack of social skills. You may argue that social media, such as Facebook, What’s App, and Twitter, allows for instant messaging and “conversation” – but hiding behind the Internet wall does not allow learners to socially engage irl (in real life). There is a massive difference.

I am not sure that embedding digital literacy will help to fill the gap in the social development of our learners. However, embedding digital literacy is
the overall academic focus this year. All tutors are now required to have resources and schemes of work available to learners online. We are encouraged to give learners the opportunity to access and submit assignments from our Google Classroom. We are told to think outside the Moodle box.

Even the new Essential Skills Task and Test (the test is delivered electronically) embeds digital literacy within the “live” task. There is no getting around it – embedding digital literacy is expected.
I understand the movement towards this. It is not just an academic requirement; it is necessary to develop these skills for life. Still, I worry about the over-dependence on technology as a whole.

Developing Students’ Digital Literacy

Inclusion in the 21st-century classroom: Differentiating with technology

How about you? Are you embedding digital literacy in your classroom? How do you feel about this “digital” movement in education? How are you developing your own skills?

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