The University of Illinois defines digital literacy as:
The ability to use digital technology, communication tools or networks to locate, evaluate, use and create information. 1
The ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers. 2
A person’s ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment… Literacy includes the ability to read and interpret media, to reproduce data and images through digital manipulation, and to evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments.3
Why Use Technology?
I believe that digital lit is something that has become a crucial part of education. We, as a society, are extremely dependent on technology and I don’t think the dependency is going to decrease anytime soon. That being said, our younger generations do not know what it is like to be without it, so why not use that technology to our student’s advantage? By using technology and incorporating digital lit into our classrooms, teachers are allowing our students the opportunity to evaluate and use information to encourage higher level thinking and create meaningful products. 45Students have endless amounts of information at their finger tips, allowing them to guide their learning at their preferred pace. When talking about digital literacy, fluency, and how to become proficient learners, there are a few things to take into consideration.
What is the Difference?
Digital literacy is a way to retrieve, interpret, and create information using different forms of technologies. According to Core Education, being fluent “requires competencies and capabilities that go beyond the skill level. Someone who is digitally fluent not only selects tools and knows what to do with them, but can explain why they work in the way they do and how they might adapt what they do if the context were to change.” I believe that to truly be successful in the digital world, you have to be proficient at both, literacy and fluency. However, as teachers, we have to start with the basics with our students. We have to allow them to be digitally literate and work towards becoming digitally fluent. How do we allow students to become successfully fluent with technology?
My personal experience with technology is limited compared to some. Technology was not really apparent in my younger years, and during middle and high school it was pretty minimum. I have learned a lot since I have been in college. Needless to say, I am nowhere near tech savvy, but I am learning through the process of trial and error. By the time I am teaching, I hope to have a better grasp of technologies and a clear, simple way of explaining how to use them. I do feel that my students will also learn by trial and error, but I’m sure they will surpass me multiple times and I will learn more from them than they do me. My goal is to help guide them along the way so they can become fluent and proficient with their technology use! Through this experience of teaching, I know I will also become more fluent because technology is always changing, so my personal experience will also be changing.
All in all, I believe that because our society is so dependent on technology, we need to allow students to use that technology to better themselves. Our job as teachers is to show our students how to use technology to their advantage; to use technology as a learning tool and not just for skimming through social media for hours on end.
Here are a few sites that I thought were helpful: