7 Ways to Teach Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is a hot topic these days, and we’ve previously written about the importance of it for today’s students and what teachers need to know about helping them use technology effectively to enhance modern communication.  Unfortunately, because digital literacy is still one of those buzzwords that tend to get thrown around without specifics, it can be difficult to envision what it actually means to be digitally literate. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some examples of what digital literacy in education looks like.

1. Emphasize the importance of critical thinking

The majority of media we consume today comes from online sources, some of which are more credible than others. Of course, the fact that so much information is readily available to anyone with an internet connection is a decidedly positive thing. But it also means that today’s students are more susceptible to subliminal messages, misinformation, and fake news.

2. Use social media for learning and collaborating

Today’s students are already active on social media, and in many cases they may already be more adept at using it than their teachers. So the focus shouldn’t be on introducing students to the ins and outs of social media, but on demonstrating how it can be used in an educational context.

3. Provide guidance on how to avoid plagiarism

Although the Internet hasn’t necessarily made plagiarism easier, it has changed the way it happens, and students may now be at risk of plagiarizing even without meaning to. A 2016 study published in the journal Higher Education, found that many students don’t understand plagiarism, but they do want more information on what it is and how to avoid it.

4. Teach students to manage their online identity

Regardless of whether we consciously manage it or not, we all leave a digital footprint and have an online identity. Students who have grown up using social media are more likely to take it for granted that their data is stored online, and as a result, may not give as much thought to safeguarding their privacy by managing their privacy settings, reading privacy policies, and being as respectful in their online interactions as they would be in person.

5. Help students manage digital distractions

Digital tools and online resources have made learning more effective in many ways, but they’ve also brought new distractions with them. Research shows that many of us struggle with digital distraction, which can make us feel distant and drained, and even reduce our enjoyment of experiences. Juggling multiple media streams can also lead students to multi-task, which isn’t a good thing considering that research shows that students who multi-task tend to have lower grades.

6. Provide authentic contexts for practice

Another important part of teaching digital literacy is finding ways for students to practice using technology in ways that mirror its real world uses, whether this means giving students opportunities to practice building their own websites and apps, or respectfully engage in online discussions.

7. Guide students out of their comfort zone

We all have a comfort zone when it comes to technology, but if we want students to become innovative and well-rounded users of technology, it’s important to guide them out of their comfort zone whenever possible. Of course, this will mean something different for each student.

The information for this post was taken from an article by Marianne Stenger in informED, please follow this link for the complete article more details.