5 Ways Digital Literacy Can Help Your Teaching

Digital literacy is the ability to use technology effectively and responsibly. It is a critical skill in today's world, where we are increasingly reliant on technology for everything from communication to education to entertainment.

Digital literacy is more than just knowing how to Google school closings on a particularly snowy day. There are many different aspects to it. Some of the most important include:

  • Technology skills: This includes the ability to use computers, tablets, smartphones, and other digital devices. It also includes the ability to use software applications, such as word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation software. 
  • Information literacy: This includes the ability to find, evaluate, and use information effectively. It also includes the ability to identify and avoid misinformation. 
  • Media literacy: This includes the ability to critically analyze and interpret media messages. It also includes the ability to create and produce media content. Being media literate also involves being able to identify when there is bias shown in the media. 
  • Ethics: This includes the ability to use technology in an ethical and responsible way. It also includes the ability to protect yourself from online risks, such as cyberbullying and information theft. 

Digital literacy is a key skill for teachers to have in today's world where technology is increasingly being used in the classroom. We all have had or known a teacher that wants to use the newest app or device, but simply can't figure it out. You do not want to be that teacher. Besides not being the laughing stock of your class when you cannot figure out how to turn on the projector, there are several other benefits for becoming digitally literate: 

  1. Engaged students: Digital literacy can help teachers to engage students by making learning more interactive and relevant. Everyone knows that goldfish have the attention span of three seconds. Our students are just like goldfish sometimes! Being able to utilize technology to create games, simulations, and other activities that capture students' attention is a key step in keeping your students engaged. 
  2. Personalized learning: Digital literacy can help teachers to personalize learning by providing students with different learning experiences based on their individual needs. For example, teachers can use technology to create individualized learning plans and provide students with feedback on their work. 
  3. Creating interactive lessons: Teachers can use technology to create interactive lessons that engage students and help them to learn more effectively. There are several online tools that teachers can use to design games or simulations that still teach a lesson. For example, teachers can use a virtual manipulative to help students learn about fractions or a simulation to help students learn about the water cycle. Being able to do this well without any mixups will keep your students engaged. 
  4. Collaborating with others: Digital literacy can help teachers to collaborate with colleagues more easily. For example, teachers can use a shared document to collaborate on lesson plans or a video conferencing tool to collaborate on a project. Students can use this same strategy when working in groups. An entire group of students can work on the same shared document or presentation at the same time. Utilizing shared tools minimizes confusion and keeps students on task. 
  5. Assessing student learning: Digital literacy can help teachers to assess student learning more effectively. For example, teachers can use a quiz or survey to assess student knowledge or a rubric to assess student work. Most virtual learning environments like Google Classroom, Schoology, and Canvas keep track of students' work. Using one of these tools you can put in students' grades automatically or with a click of a few buttons. 

Improving your digital literacy may sound like a challenge, but there are simple ways to get started. 

  • Take a digital literacy course. It may sound embarrassing to be in a class that is all about learning how to use technology, but the time you are spending to learn digital literacy will prove extremely valuable to both you and your students. There are many online and in-person courses that can help you improve your digital literacy skills. 
  • Attend workshops and conferences. There are many workshops and conferences that focus on digital literacy. These events can be a great way to learn new skills and network with other professionals. New technology and software is being developed all the time and workshops and conferences are being held for them. Learn how to use new technology before it even makes it to the classroom by attending these events. 
  • Practice makes perfect. The best way to improve your digital literacy is to practice. Use technology as often as you can and try new things. The more you use technology, the more comfortable you will become with it. 

Overall, digital literacy is an essential skill for teachers in today's world. By becoming digitally literate, teachers can improve their teaching, engage students, personalize learning, and stay up-to-date on the latest educational trends.

Main post image by Antoni Shkraba via Pexels 

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