The Importance of Digital Literacy
By Gabriela Vidal
The definition of the original word literacy is the ability to read and write. However, in today’s society just being literate is not enough. With today’s technology, teenagers and adults communicate with each other on a daily basis. This is known as digital literacy, meaning to have the ability to use and understand technology. Although knowing how to navigate a website or get through social media is part of it, there is more to it than just the simple ability to use a computer.
Although being able to navigate through social media and a website is part of digital literacy, it goes way beyond than just that. Digital literacy includes the ability to understand internet safety and how to avoid plagiarism when using the internet. For almost in any job or for any school assignment, it requires some type of digital literacy skill. There are four principles to digital literacy: comprehension, communication, informational literacy and ICT(Information and Communication Technology) literacy.
When we communicate with others online, it is important to try and comprehend what they feel or have to say towards a certain topic. When trying to learn or teach another person how to use the internet, we need to remember that they are new to using this type of technology. The second principle to digital literacy is communication which includes collaboration and participation. The last two principles of digital communication are known as informational literacy and ICT literacy.
When we communicate with others online, it is important to try and comprehend what they feel or have to say towards a certain topic.
Information literacy is to find and use information to manage then share it with others. According to the Digital Literacy in Post-Certification Healthcare Education ICT literacy is the ability to adapt and use digital devices. These skills are essentially used in an office job or in school. For example, at Mossyrock High School, a teacher named Lynne Olmos uses digital literacy almost every day. She essentially teaches it to her students in her English class.
How To Teach Digital Literacy to Your students?
There are many ways to teach this topic to students who are unfamiliar with digital literacy. It is important to learn digital literacy because it helps to develop critical thinking and learn how to navigate through websites. Having this type of skill is very helpful for students because it helps them search for reliable websites or sources when it comes to having to write an essay or do a research project. In an interview with Lynne Olmos, she mentions a few ways that it could be taught to those who are unfamiliar with it.
When asked how digital literacy could be taught to students, her response was “Students need guided practice. They need coaching about media bias and finding quality sources of information online. Teachers often avoid giving students online research projects because they lack the skills to be successful, and plagiarism is too easy to do. However, there are more controlled ways to start the process in environments like Padlet or Flipgrid where students can share ideas without having to access the full internet. Also, teachers can curate sites for younger students as they learn to navigate sources. It takes a lot of preparation and follow through to teach digital literacy well.”
How can digital media serve education?
“Education is dependent on digital media. The endless stream of knowledge, news, and ideas are an incredible asset to educators. Students can pursue their individual passions and interests with digital sources, too. Luckily, many platforms have been created to help educators control the digital experience of their students. Google Classroom is a good example of that.’’ In agreement with what Mrs. Olmos had to say to this question, there are many apps that could help practice digital literacy. Google has an online program called “Be Internet Awesome – A Program to Teach Kids Online Safety” that essentially teaches teenagers about digital safety.
When the pandemic began in 2020 many students had to study from home, a whole new experience they were not at all familiar with. Some felt very afraid to use Google Meet because of how unusual it was. However, students slowly began to learn how to use Google Meet and how to submit assignments online through Google Classroom. These apps helped students explore opportunities to show their learning in using digital platforms.
How can we be successful once we manage this skill?
Once we have managed this skill we can benefit from it a lot. How exactly? Well, with the understanding of digital literacy ,we now have a much better understanding of how to navigate using technology. As for students, it helps to improve their academic performance, and it makes it easier when it comes to doing online assignments. This skill is very important to be successful in life. It is mainly because when you are able to master this skill you are able to protect yourself from online scams or any type of propaganda.
“Anyone who cannot navigate online programs is at the mercy of others when it becomes necessary. Just think about filling out FAFSA forms or submitting taxes online. Digital literacy instills confidence and gives you a voice in the world. It is an essential competency for all people, and especially young people who will continue to see technological advances accelerate in the years to come.”- Lynne Olmos
As Mrs. Olmos mentioned, this skill could be handy when it comes to doing online taxes or having to submit an important document. Technology is used every day, and learning how to master it could help us in many ways.
Overall, digital literacy could be scary, but, once you have mastered it, it gets easier. In this blog we talked about how important and beneficial digital literacy can be. Once this skill is mastered, you can protect yourself from any online scams or plagiarism. Below you will find reliable articles that go into depth about this topic.